Mary Ellen Costello

Ziegfeld: A Hidden Theatrical History

“My comp topic is on the Ziegfeld Follies, a series of theatre productions between 1907 and 1931 in which the producer, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. glorified the American girl.  To a modern day theater goer, one could think of it as a Las Vegas showgirl performance: very little plot, extravagant costumes, and beautiful girls; in other words a revue.  I am focusing specifically on the effect the Follies had on the 1920s.  Over the summer I used the Robertson Fund to go into New York City twice a week to do research in the Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.  While researching, I was able to access original documents about Ziegfeld and his Follies that included ledgers, programs, news clippings and more.  I also was able to go down to Kensico Cemetery where Ziegfeld and Billie Burke (his wife and Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz) were buried.  I had a great summer and believe that the research I found will add something into my comp that I could not achieve from the resources available from school.”