The Craig Lucas Collection: A Unique Window into the Playwright's Mind

Theatre companies consider themselves lucky if a play being produced is by a playwright who is alive, accessible, and encouraging. The Huntington Theatre Company is especially fortunate for, in addition to Artistic Director Peter DuBois’ ongoing collaborative relationship with Prelude to a Kiss playwright Craig Lucas, members of the Artistic Department can explore the Craig Lucas Collection at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

The center, founded as Special Collections in 1963 by Dr. Howard Gotlieb and renamed in his honor in 2003, has held the Lucas Collection for nearly ten years. The center defines its mission as being:

to capture and document history by collecting the manuscripts from individuals who play a significant part in the fields of journalism, poetry, literature and criticism, dance, music, theatre, film, television, and political and religious movements . . . and strive to preserve the documents and make them readily available to researchers while administering all legal copyrights and restrictions.

Seeing the noteworthy role Lucas was playing in the American theatre scene, Dr. Gotlieb approached him about creating an archive at his alma mater.

The center’s 2,000+ collections are divided into five categories: contemporary collections, historical collections, history of nursing archives, Boston University archives, and the rare book collection. Part of the contemporary collections, the Lucas Collection consists of forty-three boxes of materials that range from the professional (manuscripts — including over ten drafts of Prelude To A Kiss, contracts, reviews, and interviews) to the personal (journals, correspondence, finances, and even childhood artwork), offering researchers and scholars an insightful and personal look into Lucas’ life and work. Lucas’ archive continues to grow as he works on new projects and generates new material.

Though the Huntington’s production of Prelude will close in June, the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University will continue to preserve this master playwright’s life and work for artists and audiences yet to come.

— Anne G. Morgan

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