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Berlin to Broadway Collection

Identifier: AR 25584

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of two series. Series 1 encompasses the production papers from the original Berlin to Broadway show and its subsequent adaptations. These papers include multiple copies of scripts with different annotations and revisions, musical scores, production notes, and photographs of the cast and set.

The papers in Series II contain materials about the production. The bulk of this series consists of newspaper clippings detailing advertisements, reviews, and articles pertaining to the production. There is also correspondence sent between the producers of the show as well as other projects relating to the Berlin to Broadway production in this series.


  • 1971-1994
  • Majority of material found within 1972-1975
  • Majority of material found within 1986-1988


Language of Materials

The collection is in English with some German and French.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.

Biographical Note

Kurt Weill was born in Dessau, Germany on March 2nd, 1900. As the son of the chief cantor of the Dessau Synagogue, Weill was writing and playing music from a young age. In 1927, Weill became interested in the writings of Bertolt Brecht, and created a group of songs called the Mahagonny Songspiel, which would later be expanded into the Weill/Brecht opera entitled “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.” The success of this production paved the way for Weill and Brecht’s most famous collaboration, “The Threepenny Opera,” which was a rewriting of the 18th century English ballad production, “The Beggars’ Opera.”

The works of Weill and Brecht brought the two composers into open collision with Naziism in pre-World War II Germany. In 1932, Weill, together with his actress-singer wife, Lotte Lenya, escaped to France and then to England, until eventually immigrating to the United States.

In New York, Weill collaborated with the American playwright, Maxwell Anderson, in two major musical theater productions, “Knickerbocker Holiday” and “Lost in the Stars.” Weill’s creative endeavors were cut short in 1950, when he died from a long-standing heart ailment.

In the early 1970s, producers Hank Kaufman and Gene Lerner persuaded Lotte Lenya to allow them to fashion a revival of Weill’s music and story, so that a new generation could be introduced to his genius. Lerner and Kaufman had a great deal of experience in show business having founded and run a successful international talent agency, Kaufman-Lerner Associates of Rome, Italy for twenty years. “Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill” marks the professional return of Kaufman and Lerner following their disbandment of the agency in 1970.

The pair created the show “Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: A Musical Voyage” which premiered on October 1, 1972, at the Theater de Lys. The show follows Weill’s career in Germany through his escape from Naziism and immigration to the United States, where he became a success on Broadway. The production was revived multiple times in Miami, New York, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles with new adaptations.


0.75 Linear Feet

1 Folders (1 folder in a shared oversized box)


This collection contains scripts, newspaper clippings, musical scores, playbills, correspondence, reviews, advertisements, photographs, and other documents pertaining to the production of “Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: A Musical Voyage.” The show was written and produced by Hank Kaufman and Gene Lerner who created the show to honor the life of Kurt Weill through his music. Also included are musical scores of various pieces by Kurt Weill.


The collection is arranged in two series.

  • Series I: Berlin to Broadway: Production Papers, 1971-1986
  • Series II: Materials about the Production, 1972-1993

Acquisition Information

This collection was transferred to LBI from the Jewish Museum of Florida in January 2014.

Related Materials

The Leo Baeck library holds a book titled Kurt Weill on stage: from Berlin to Broadway by Foster Hirsch as well as numerous works on the life and music of Kurt Weill.

Processing Information

Materials were reorganized into new folders during the processing of this archival collection. Papers containing similar contents were kept together.

Guide to the Berlin to Broadway Collection
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States