The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' Billy Rose Theatre Division has acquired the archives of three-time Tony-winning writer Thomas Meehan. The papers join an esteemed collection at the library, including records from the Public Theater and the archives of Harold Prince, among many others.
The Meehan Collection, dating from the 1960s through to 2017, contains drafts for his major theatre work, including Annie, The Producers, and Hairspray, as well as notes, programs, press clippings, agreements, and audio and video recordings. The collection also holds drafts of Mr. Meehan's short stories and unrealized theatre, film, and television projects. Following a cataloging and digitizing period, researchers will be able to access the material at the library, housed at Lincoln Center.
Mr. Meehan was 47 when he made his Broadway debut, collaborating with Martin Charnin and composer Charles Strouse on a stage musical adaptation of Harold Gray’s comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The smash hit Annie, which ran for 2,377 performances, earned Meehan his first of three Tony Awards.
He is the only creative to have written the books for three shows that ran more than 2,000 performances on Broadway: the aforementioned Annie (2,377 performances), The Producers in 2001 alongside Mel Brooks (2,502 performances), and Hairspray in 2002, which he wrote with the late Mark O’Donnell (2,642 performances). He earned Tonys for all three shows. Mr. Meehan received a fourth Tony nomination in 2008 for penning the book to Cry-Baby (like Hairspray, a stage adaptation of a John Waters film) alongside O'Donnell. His myriad additional Broadway credits include Elf, Young Frankenstein (his second Brooks collaboration) and Chaplin. His final project to reach Broadway was the short-lived stage adaptation of Rocky.