Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. was incorporated in January 1925 as a result of the consolidation of the Arthur W. Tams Music Library, which began operations in approximately 1870, and the Witmark Music Library. These two companies represented the two largest collections of printed and manuscript music then existing. The Tams organization controlled the largest collection of cantatas, oratorios and masses, as well as the works of John Philip Sousa and Franz Lehar, among others. The Witmark organization controlled the works of such renowned composers as Victor Herbert and Reginald DeKoven.
In the fifteen years following the consolidation (until World War II), Tams-Witmark added to its collection works by George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter, as well as the works of Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, including the famous Princess Theatre musicals. These works included ANYTHING GOES, which was later revived in 1962 and 1987, and GIRL CRAZY, which became the inspiration for the musical CRAZY FOR YOU. ANYTHING GOES and CRAZY FOR YOU remain among Tams-Witmark’s most popular musicals.
In the years following World War II, Tams-Witmark added several of the greatest musicals of that era, including BRIGADOON, FINIAN’S RAINBOW and KISS ME, KATE. The Library grew considerably in the late 1950’s and 1960’s with the addition of such works from Broadway’s Golden Age as the Tony Award-winning musicals MY FAIR LADY, BYE BYE BIRDIE, HELLO, DOLLY!, CABARET and MAN OF LA MANCHA. The Tams-Witmark collection continued to expand in the 1970’s and 1980’s with two of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history, A CHORUS LINE and FORTY-SECOND STREET, and in the 1990’s with four Tony Award-winning musicals, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, CRAZY FOR YOU, TITANIC and CITY OF ANGELS.
Tams-Witmark has always been an innovator in the licensing of musical plays. It licensed the first large high school production of a Broadway musical approximately 75 years ago to James Monroe High School in New York City, which performed the operetta ROBIN HOOD. Later, in the 1930’s, it created the market for the licensing of musicals to schools and other amateur groups. Today, thousands of schools and community theatres are presenting Tams-Witmark musicals each year.
Tams-Witmark was responsible for the creation of several current musicals from popular musical motion pictures. They include the MGM motion picture version of THE WIZARD OF OZ, first produced on stage by the Municipal Theatre of St. Louis in 1942, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, first produced on stage by the Municipal Theatre of St. Louis in 1960, and CALAMITY JANE!, first produced on stage by Casa Manana Musicals in 1961. Tams-Witmark was also responsible for the creation of the musical GEORGE M!, produced on Broadway in 1968.