About the Laurie Wagman Papers and AFT

During the company’s forty-four year long career, Wagman and the revolving ATAFY production company including actors, musicians and support staff produced forty-two original musicals. Lauri Wagman authored six of them including music, lyrics and study guides. According to Wagman, ATAFY productions reached 32 million children or approximately, 72,000 students per year. During most years ATAFY toured and performed eight to fourteen shows during most years, while averaging 250,000 travel miles and utilizing over 10,000 hotel rooms each season. Performances were staged in theatres not schools. In Philadelphia, The Kimmel Center served as the home base for the company from 1999 to 2014.

As the success of ATAFY’s success grew, in the early 1980s, Wagman founded the American Family Theatre (AFT). The new theatrical company’s mandate was to expand the ATAFY content and experience to the “ American Family” as a whole. Having entertained millions of school children and adults for more than four decades, having received many awards and accolades in the press, Laurie turned off the house lights for the last time in 2014, at which time the production companies were dissolved and Laurie retired.

The Archive
In 2015, the University of Pennsylvania acquired through gift the ATAFY and AFT archive. The archive is comprised of six boxes and includes scripts, scores and teaching study guides for forty ATAFY productions. (It is important to note that not all productions include scripts, scores and study guides.) Other archival materials include, correspondence, promotional brochures, photographs, and audio/visual materials that illustrate and document individual ATAFY performances. The collection has been processed and is available to researchers for consultation in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room.

For more information, please click here to visit our Finding Aid.

The Website
Thanks to the generosity of the ATAFY founder, Laurie Wagman has generously donated her physical archive and provided funding to create the current web site for which the Penn Libraries is extremely grateful. From the moment we first discussed the donation of her papers and the possible digitization of the archive’s contents, her vision was to share ATAFY’s rich content with educators, teachers and school age children around the world. To enable this to happen, Laurie has generously transferred the rights of the forty performances to the public domain. Thank you!

For Teachers
Not all productions include the script, score and study guide. In the absence of one or more of these elements, teachers are encouraged to carefully read the play scripts before selecting a work for performance.

Project Credits
I would like to thank the following individuals for their support in the creation of the Laurie Wagman website. First and foremost, Camille E. Davis, Kislak Center, for organizing the content and making it available in downloadable formats and for assisting in the design and coding of the web site; Dennis Mullen, Web Design Specialist, Kislak Center for overseeing the Wagman Web Site development; Mick Overgard, Acting Head of the Schoenberg Institute for Text and Image and his digital photography team for digitizing the Wagman papers and for stewarding the digitization of the audio and video files; along with Matt Pilecki, Associate Director, Penn Libraries Advancement Office, for his skillful negotiation of the Laurie Wagman donation. Finally, I would like to thank Laurie Wagman for donating her American Theater for American Youth and American Family Theater archive to the Penn Libraries and generously agreeing to make the contents of her theatrical legacy available to world for use for free via this web site.

–David McKnight, Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Kislak Center for Special Collections

The person who has associated the ATAFY works has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

For more information on the public domain, please click here.

For information regarding the Laurie Wagman Archive please contact rbml@pobox. upenn.edu