Dwight Blocker Bowers

Curator

M.A., University of Connecticut B.A., Hiram College

Research Specialties: 
  • U.S. cultural history
  • U.S. and European Performing Arts History (music, theater, film, dance)
  • History of Recorded Sound
  • American Musical Theater and Musical Film
  • American Popular Song
  • American Popular Culture
Projects: 

Current Projects:

Exhibitions:

  • America PLays: Sports and ENtertainment
  • Thanks for the Memories: American Popular Culture
  • Skitch Henderson: A Man and His Music

Research:

  • The Films of George Sidney
  • History of TV Comedy
  • History of American Puppetry
  • History of the Smithsonian’s Division of Performing Arts and Recordings Program
  • History of Off-Broadway

Past Projects:

Exhibitions:

  • Ella Fitzgerald, First Lady of Song, 1998
  • Red, Hot and Blue: A Salute to American Musicals, 1996
  • American Musicals at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1996
  • Voices of the American Musical, 1996
  • A Life at the Movies: Washington’s Jewish Movie Theater Owners, 1991
  • There’s No Business Like Show Business: Irving Berlin Centennial, 1988
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

3 NARAS Grammy Award nominations

Professional Affiliations: 

Phi Beta Kappa

Publications

“The National Puppet Collection,” in American Puppetry: Collections, History and Performance. Eds. Phyllis Dircks, Steve Abrams. New York: American Theater Library Association, 2004.

Chapter explains the Museum's collection, its history and rationale.

“The National Puppet Collection,” in American Puppetry: Collections, History and Performance. Eds. Phyllis Dircks, Steve Abrams. New York: American Theater Library Association, 2004.
The Ultimate Broadway Composers, Vols. 1-12. (annotator). 12 compact discs with program booklets. London, England: Pearl Recordings, 2000-04.

This 12-volume series is devoted to rare original cast recordings of musicals by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Sigmund Romberg.

Fascinating Rhythm: The Broadway Gershwin, 1919-1933 (annotator) 1 compact disc with program booket. New York: BMG Classics, 1998.

This archival recording focuses on remastered 78’s made by Victor Recording Company artists in the 1920s and 1930s.

<em>Red Hot and Blue: A Smithsonian Salute to the American Musical</em> with Amy Henderson. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.

Based on the 1996 Smithsonian exhibition with the same title, the text offers a collective biography of the artists and craftspeople who created the American musical on stage and screen.

"And Now For Something Completely Different: Reconstructing Duke Ellington's Beggar's Holiday for Presentation in a Museum Setting." in Exhibiting Dilemmas: Issues of Representation at the Smithsonian, Amy Henderson and Adrienne Kaeppler, eds. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996; pp. 262–72.

Essay on applying the exhibition experience to research and collections involving the performing arts, specifically in the archival reconstruction/museum performance of Duke Ellington's 1946 musical play, Beggar's Holiday.

Star-Spangled Rhythm: Voices of Broadway and Hollywood, Vols. 1-4 (annotator and producer). Washington, D.C. and New York, NY: Smithsonian/BMG, 1996. Four compact discs with 80-page booklet; bibliog.; discog.

The history of the American musical is conveyed through 66 archival recordings of songs from stage and screen and textual annotation.

I Got Rhythm: The Music of George Gershwin, Vols. 1-4 (annotator and producer). Washington, D.C. and New York, NY: Smithsonian/BMG, 1995. Four compact discs with 64-page booklet; bibliog..; discog.
Music of the New York Stage, Vols. 1-4 (annotator) London, England: Pearl Recordings, 1994.12 compact discs with 10-page booklets for each volume.

The earliest sound recordings of American musical theater artists is the focus for this recorded anthology.

American Songbooks, Vols. 1-24. (annotator and producer) Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian, 1993-5. 24 compact discs with booklets.

The legacy of American songwriters is traced through this recording series with individual volumes devoted to Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields, George Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, E. Y. Harburg, Jerome Kern, Alan Jay Lerner, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Andy Razaf, Arthur Schwartz, Jule Styne, James Van Heusen, Fats Waller, Harry Warren, Kurt Weill, Richard Whiting, Alec Wilder, Vincent Youmans.

From This Moment On: Songs of Cole Porter, Vols. 1-4 (annotator and producer) Washington, D.C. and New York, NY: Smithsonian/SONY, 1992. 4 compact discs with 60-page booklet; bibliog..; discog.

Cole Porter’s work for the international musical stage and screen is chronicled in 84 archival recordings and textual annotation.

<em>American Musical Theater, Vols. 1-4.</em> (annotator and producer) Washington, D.C. and New York, NY: Smithsonian/CBS, 1989. 4 compact discs and 120-page booklet; bibliog.; discog.

This collection of original cast recordings includes book with historical essay and extensive annotations on each selection.

American Popular Song, Vols. 1-5 (annotator with James Morris and J. R. Taylor). Washington, D.C. and New York, NY: Smithsonian/CBS, 1984. 5 compact discs and 120-page booklet; bibliog..; discog.

An anthology of this distinctly national art form includes 110 selected archival recordings of classic popular songs and textual annotations.