The Shiretown Bookers’ winter exhibition, “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” will run from Jan. 24 through March 13, in the Shiretown Bookers’ Hall in Mantor Library at 116 South St. in Farmington. A free opening reception is set for 7-7:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at the library.

The excitement of live theatrical performance will be the subject of the new exhibition, with its title taken from the opening number of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate.” eginning with the Broadway Musical, an essentially American art form, scripts, musical scores and playbills from Bookers’ collections will trace the musical’s development from the old-fashioned musical revue, complete with scantily-clad chorines, through the innovations of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Bernstein and Sondheim, up to the edgy and provocative political commentary of “Hamilton.” The exhibition explores the complex and fascinating world of live theater, from set design through casting and rehearsals, to the thrill of opening night, followed by the critic’s comments and (with luck) the Tony Awards.

The frequently daring and experimental world of Off-Broadway has its own fascination, and includes the story of “The Fantasticks,” whose original minimalist production ran a total of 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world’s longest-running musical. And a trip across The Pond brings the exhibition to London’s West End, where brilliant stagecrafters from Oscar Wilde to Noel Coward, J.M. Barrie and Tom Stoppard have given us everything from drawing room farce to dense and challenging intellectual comedy.

The exhibition will be curated by Dale Hill, old theater trouper, columnist, and founding Shiretown Booker.

The Shiretown Bookers (The Community Friends of Mantor Library) are a group of book lovers and collectors who support the university library by fostering its relationship with the community. The group provides free exhibitions and lectures on bookish subjects throughout the year.

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