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Lawrence Carra Papers

Identifier: 0000-0002

Scope and Content Note

The Lawrence Carra Papers are housed in four archival boxes and arranged into six series. Series have been designated for biographical information, project files, reference files, stage productions, television and radio productions, and oversized materials. Generally, these papers include informal and business correspondence, newspaper clippings, playbills, scripts, production notes, and set designs. The majority of the collection is information about the vast number of stage and television productions directed by Mr. Carra. These subject folders can include playbills, scripts, attendance sheets, rehearsal schedules and other production notes. The amount of information about each production varies widely. The collection contains little information about his personal life, aside from brief mentions in scattered correspondence throughout the collection. There is little information about the operation of the broader Carnegie Mellon University drama department in the collection.


  • 1931-1997

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been transferred to Carnegie Mellon University. Standard copyright rules apply.

Biographical Sketch

Lawrence (Larry) Carra was a professor of the Carnegie Mellon University drama department for 31 years, from 1946-1977. He directed over 350 plays in Texas, Boston, New Jersey, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. He is also the co-author of the definitive text on directing, Fundamentals of Play Directing, which is now in its fifth edition. At Carnegie Mellon he was appointed the Chairman of the General Committee on Television in 1957 where he worked closely with WQED and KDKA to produced educational programming about theater. He directed a summer theater program at CMU from 1975-1980. He produced local music festivals and participated in many different types of drama outreach. He helped establish the Pittsburgh Music Tent in 1958-1959, and also directed plays for the Civic Light Opera from 1959-1963. In addition to his stage activities, Carra also worked in television production.

In retirement, Mr. Carra lectured at NYU, UCLA, and USC, while also appearing as a guest director occasionally. He also served as a consultant for the Ice Capades and Norman Lear Productions. Carra's former students include William Ball (American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco), Mel Shapiro (Broadway producer), John Tebelak (author of 'Godspell'), Sada Thompson ('Family'), Jack Klugman ('Quincy' and 'Odd Couple'), and Ken Welch (music and lyrics for 'Roots').


4.0 Linear feet (4 boxes)




Carra was a former Carnegie Mellon Drama faculty member for 31 years. He was involved in the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and co-author of the definitive text on directing, Fundamentals of Play Directing, which is now in its fifth edition. The collection consists of materials from many of the plays he directed in Texas , Boston, New Jersey, Chicago, and Pittsburgh.


These materials were received in one accession as a gift from Mr. Larry Carra, Jr.


A half foot of photographs have been separately arranged and described as the Carra, Lawrence, Photographs collection. Also, oversized materials in this collection have been separated from their original folders and stored together for preservation reasons. They are stored in the second floor map case in drawer 8. A list of materials can be found in series six.
Lawrence Carra Papers, 1931-1997
Finding aid prepared by Cassandra Pyle
July 12, 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021