Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward

“Star Quality: I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got it,” said Noël Coward in his inimitable style, cigarette in hand and a twinkle in his eye. The Academy celebrates this extraordinary figure with a touring exhibition, following its runs at Ten Chimneys (the Wisconsin home of Coward’s friends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne), London’s National Theatre, and the Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco.

For many, Coward is known primarily as a playwright, creator of such classics as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Cavalcade, Design for Living and Blithe Spirit, many of which were adapted for film, or as the composer of such timeless songs as “I’ll See You Again,” “Mad About the Boy” and “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” “Star Quality” is the first exhibition to show the full extent of his prodigious talents as a director of plays and movies, a stage and film actor, songwriter, cabaret artist, wartime patriot, painter and patron of charitable causes.

With unparalleled access to the Coward Archives, and drawing on public and private collections in Europe and the U.S. as well as the Academy’s own Margaret Herrick Library, the exhibition brings together dozens of rare photographs, drawings, paintings, original manuscripts, letters, sheet music, posters, playbills, set and costume designs, personal memorabilia, audio and video clips, and original costumes including several of the silk dressing gowns that became Coward’s trademark. Coward’s warm and enduring friendships with many of the 20th century’s leading artists and film personalities are documented throughout the exhibition, as are his contributions to the film world through his onscreen appearances and the numerous film adaptations of his stage work.

“Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward,” is presented in association with the Noël Coward Foundation and the Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco. The Academy’s installation of the exhibition has been guest curated by Brad Rosenstein and Rosy Runciman; the original exhibition was conceived and developed at Ten Chimneys by Erika Kent.

Exhibition Information

January 23 through April 18, 2010
The Academy’s Fourth Floor Gallery
Public viewing hours
Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.

Closed Mondays. The Academy galleries will also be closed Thursday, March 4 through Sunday, March 7 because of Academy Awards-related activities.

Contact Information

For more information, call

(310) 247-3600

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