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Records of Light Opera Works

Identifier: 55/49

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The records of Light Opera Works fill 47 boxes and span the years from 1980 through 2011.

Production history records form nearly half the collection, the largest single component of the Light Opera Works records. They contain in-depth information about each company production from 1981 through 2001, including concerts and benefits, and the production programs from each show, from 2002 through 2007. Documentation surrounding productions includes marketing records, personnel contact information, rehearsal schedules, royalty and licensing agency correspondence, production programs, and press clippings, reviews, and press releases. Also included are files relating to ticket sales and to the planning and execution of each company benefit event or concert.

General financial records span the period 1980-2004. Documents include ledgers and statements of expenses.

Personnel contracts cover the years from 1981 through 2001. Documents include contracts for each production, signed by each cast, crew, and orchestra member. Also included in this series are other materials such as W-4 forms and insurance claims. These records are restricted from general or public use.

The Realia series contains a single letter opener associated with the company.

Publicity photographs cover the period 1981-1998. The series is made up of photographic slides taken of Light Opera Works productions and used for publicity.

Materials relating to costume and scenery design document activities of the years 1995 through 2007. Included are artistic renderings of production sets and costumes. Of particular note are a group of costumes designed for the An Afternoon in St. Petersburg benefit of 1995. Media include chalk pastel, paint, and colored pencil.

Audiovisual recordings (multiple audiocassette tapes and one videotape) document Light Opera Works productions dating from 1980 to 1999. The cassette tapes contain sound recordings from some of Light Opera Works’ earliest performances. Also included in here is a recorded interview with Philip Kraus, Light Opera Works artistic director and one of the company’s founders.

Posters advertise Light Opera Works shows staged during the years 1981 through 2010. Posters include designs both made by hand and with the aid of digital technology. Though most posters advertise individual shows, the poster from the company’s inaugural 1981 season covers multiple productions.

Stage designs or set drawings are arranged by show in a chronological sequence and span the period 1987-2011. Included are technical set drawings relating to Light Opera Works shows and to the company’s theater spaces.


  • 1980-2011


Conditions Governing Access

Personnel employment contracts, insurance claims, and any other materials containing sensitive information are restricted; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


47.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Light Opera Works is a non-for-profit, professional musical theatre company founded in 1980. In addition to producing three to four shows per year, Light Opera Works puts on annual benefits and concerts. The records of Light Opera Works include contact sheets, marketing, correspondence, press clippings, press releases, stage, set and costume designs, photographic slides, financial ledgers, and audiocassette tapes that relate to the creative and business history of the company.


The records of Light Opera Works are organized into: production history records (arranged by year; for each year, there are general files, files for each production, and files for concerts and benefits); financial records (arranged by date); personnel contracts (arranged by date); realia; publicity photographs (arranged by date); costume and scenery design (separated by production, but in neither chronological nor alphabetical order); audiovisual recordings (arranged by date); posters (arranged by date); set designs (arranged by date).

Within the set of files for each Light Opera Works production, folders are arranged in a sequence reflective of the order of major company activity. That is, records pertaining to auditions are followed by those relating to rehearsals and finally by those documenting the run of each performance.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Northwestern University Archives by Light Opera Works (via Bridget McDonough); June, 2013 (Accession 13-136).

Separated Materials

Approximately eleven linear feet of duplicate and extraneous material (including routine financial records such as receipts and cancelled checks) has been discarded.

Guide to the Records of Light Opera Works
Amanda Axel; October-November, 2013.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US