Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link

For Educators

Go to Open Access link
Cover image Click for larger image

The Theatre of Donald Oenslager
Donald Oenslager; John Mason Brown, fwd.

Available only as an ebook.

Wesleyan Open Books

1978 • 192 pp. 85 illus. 11 x 8 1/4”
Theater & Performing Arts / Memoir

$0.00 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7787-0

Open access - no commercial use
Click Open Access at right to check availability.

For twenty-five years, indeed ever since he did the settings for Sooner and Later down at the old and much lamented Neighborhood Playhouse, he... [continued in Reviews below]”—John Mason Brown,

Donald Oenslager’s working career spanned fifty years of the New York stage and during those years his influence extended across the country in the work of the many distinguished stage designers who had been his students at the Yale School of Drama. His autobiographical introduction to this book is, therefore, both a history of and a commentary on the theatre in New York from 1920 to the 1970s, and it admits us to the reflections of one of the most versatile artists who worked at the center of that development. This is a designer’s book, and Donald Oenslager chose his subjects with a designer’s eye. Over thirty-five productions are discussed in the light of the problems of interpretation and realization that they posed to the set designer. More than ninety illustrations illuminate Oenslager’s mastery of the principles of design and his ability to exploit the technical possibilities of his theatre.

Reviews / Endorsements

“For twenty-five years, indeed ever since he did the settings for Sooner and Later down at the old and much lamented Neighborhood Playhouse, he has been making contributions to our theatre distinguished not only by their professionalism but by their versatility, their rightness, and their imagination. No playgoers who saw, for example, You Can't Take It With You, Pygmalion, The Doctor's Dilemma, Of Mice and Men, The Fabulous Invalid, Life With Mother, or the Players' Club revival of Uncle Tom's Cabin, can have forgotten the vital part Oenslager played in these productions, or the humor, the elegance, the beauty, the mastery of period details, and the variety of his work.”John Mason Brown

DONALD MITCHELL OENSLAGER (1902-1975) was an instructor in scenic design at Middlebury College, and then the Department of Drama of the Yale School of Fine Arts. Oenslager taught design at Yale until his retirement in 1970. While at Yale, he designed sets for over 250 plays, operas, ballets, and musicals in New Haven, New York, and Europe. Oenslager served as a consultant on theater architecture and design and authored several books on the subject. He was a member of the Art Commission of the City of New York, the board of directors of the American Foundation of the Arts, and the Museum of the City of NewYork.
JOHN MASON BROWN (July 3, 1900 – March 16, 1969) was an American drama critic and author. His books include Upstage: The American Theatre in Performance (1930). He worked for the New York Evening Post from 1929 to 1941, and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.

An NEH / Mellon Humanities Open Book Grant Recipient


Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:43:11 -0500