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Manuscripts Record

Arden, Donn Papers
Coll #: 2001-05
Date: 1917-1994
Extent: 31.8 linear feet (35 boxes and 2 oversize folders)
Location: MS 8.3.4 - 8.3.6, RS 2.3.5 - 2.3.7, MS Map Case 11:G
The collection consists of the papers of Donn Arden, choreographer, producer and director known for creating extravagant production shows that combined spectacular scenery and disaster with sequined and feathered showgirls. The collection documents Arden's sixty plus years in entertainment working in showrooms all over the world from Paris to Las Vegas and New York to Los Angeles from the 1930s to the 1990s. Comprised of production notes, programs, photographs, posters, sheet music, correspondence, costume design sketches, press clippings and magazine articles, the collection documents Arden's work in a variety of nightclubs and on large production shows. In addition to documenting Arden's work and life in show business, the collection provides insight into the planning and execution of the production show, a genre of entertainment that has largely disappeared over the years, and of which Arden was thought to be the undisputed master. As many of Arden's shows were featured in Las Vegas, the collection also serves to document that fabled golden era of Las Vegas entertainment of the 1950s-1960s, and provides insight into how perceptions of the Las Vegas showgirl have evolved over the years.
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