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BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report

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Well, the 2007-2008 theatre season has now officially ended, and it's time to clean off my desk, to get some free time to go to the beach. I don't think that we've ever given out so many four and five star reviews and there's a lot of exciting reading and buying of books, as well as gift-giving ahead. 


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportTHE SOUTH PACIFIC COMPANION
by Laurence Maslon
Foreward by Adam Guettel
Simon & Schuster
Fireside
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)
 
This hardcover oversized coffee table book is simply spectacular!  192 pages of glorious photos, documents, lyrics, history, great stories, rarities never before seen, etc.  A sure thing and a must-have.  The timing couldn't be better, of course, with the current Broadway revival, at Lincoln Center, being one of the hottest tickets in town. The author, Laurence Maslon, is an Associate Arts Professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and also gave us, at the end of last year ..


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportTHE SOUND OF MUSIC COMPANION
Foreward by (Lord) Andrew Lloyd Webber
Simon & Schuster
Fireside
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)
 
This edition, too, is pretty damned glorious!  Also ... good timing to pick up, along with Julie Andrews' memoir.  Both the SOUTH PACIFIC and THE SOUND OF MUSIC coffee table "stunners" are incredibly full of amazing information.  It's like all the research has been done for you and organized brilliantly, making them perfect for your personal library (or coffee table) as well as public libraries, school and college libraries, and professional institutions.  The low available pricing on these books at places like AMAZON.COM make then absurdly affordable as well. You'd be hard-pressed to find better (or more entertaining) value for your dollar.
 
It is also important to know that both these editions were fully authorized by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.




BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBROADWAY BARKS
Bernadette Peters
Pictures by Liz Murphy
Includes Bernadette Peters CD
Blue Apple Books
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)
 
This charming book by Bernadette Peters is sure to delight children, adults, oldsters ... and anything in-between.  It came out of the Broadway Star's passion for animals and uses, as a backdrop, her beloved New York and Broadway's famous Shubert Alley, home to her annual pet adoption event, which she founded with longtime friend and gal pal Mary Tyler Moore and BC/EFA.  (Click here for more information on this year's event.) The book is extraordinarily well executed and the drawings you could look at for hours!  The story is so sweet that you, too, will want to go find yourself a "Kramer."  The book would be enough all by itself, but included (and at a surprisingly affordable price) is a CD that has Peters reading her own story - sound effects and all ... and then, (are you ready for this?), she sings the lullaby she WROTE for Kramer.  Bernadette wrote the words and music and it is one the sweetest and most moving songs you will ever hear. I must admit ... the song caught me "off-guard" and it brought tears to my eyes. You must get this book and buy extras for friends and family - as gifts.



BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBROADWAY TAILS
Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs
Who Became Showbiz Superstars

Bill Berloni and Jim Hanrahan
Foreward by Bernadette Peters
The Lyons Press

BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)

WOW! What a surprise this book is.  I don't even know where to begin.  Oprah Winfrey needs to have Bill and Jim and Bernadette on her show immediately!  Talk about animal lovers … Berloni wrote this book with his brother-in-law, Hanrahan.  They clearly love animals and Berloni trains animals (often rescued) for shows.  The stories are fascinating, but none as wild as when Bill was a 19 year old theater apprentice who was asked to train a dog to appear in the original ANNIE. He goes to a local shelter and finds a dog NOBODY wanted … WAIT … it gets better … who had been run over by a truck 12 days earlier!  That is the now famous dog you see in photos FOREVER, who debuted and played Sandy for 7 years (although...Andrea McArdle...why have you never told anyone this story?)!!!  This book is full of Broadway and showbiz lore.  I never expected such an enthralling book.  It's paperback and perfect for the beach.  You won't believe what you are reading and will laugh and be moved and, no doubt, bother all your friends re-counting what you've just read.  GO GET THIS BOOK!


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBROADWAY BARES
BACKSTAGE PASS
By Jerry Mitchell, Rex Bonomelli and Michael Graziano
Universe Publishing
A Division of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Foreward by Jerry Mitchell
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)

God!  I've got to get a bigger coffee table.  Here comes another HUGE and FANTASTIC book!  AND all royalties from this book will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  BROADWAY BARES is an annual fundraiser, raising money for BC/EFA, which has grown into a glamorous and highly anticipated affair each year. 
Jerry Mitchell gave birth to the idea, starting at SPLASH – a bar in New York City – and NOW does two SOLD-OUT shows at ROSELAND every year!  It started like RIVERDANCE (which began with two people dancing on a table in an Irish Pub) – and has grown, just as similarly!  The first BROADWAY BARES raised $8,000.  The last one raised $874,372 and everyone in "the community" pitches in and gives their all, with unequaled support and sponsorship help.  The BOOK is called BACKSTAGE PASS and is it ever!!!  LOADED with photos by gifted photographers and, in the process, showing a remarkable evolution and growth. The event grew out of the "loss" of friends and family in the theatre and Broadway community.  Jerry Mitchell – you are an unsung hero and one helluva nice guy.  BUY THIS BOOK!!!  You'll love looking at it and you'll help the tremendous BC/EFA, unparalled in their achievement of the mission statement set forth by this organization.

BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBROADWAY NIGHTS
A Romp Of Life, Love, And Musical Theatre

Seth Rudetsky
Alyson Books

BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 4 stars (out of 5)

I would love to be Seth Rudetsky for (maybe) one week …. Maybe!  This book is pretty damned funny and VERY "thinly veiled."  Seth loves musicals.  So does his protagonist Stephen Sheerin.  "Sheerin" also has one wicked sense of humor, a great skill for dumping on himself, a tremendous appetite for "drama," some great "insider" stories and an uncanny ability to "name drop."  Got it????  Now … it opens with jokes about "Please, don't let this book end up at Barnes & Noble on the gifts for UNDER $5 table," but this is SO "insider" that even a college student who loves musicals is gonna have to use a "highlighter" pen to go back and try to solve the puzzles or spend hours on GOOGLE or "his" favorite online theatre gossip site: ALL THAT CHAT.  By the way Stephen … I mean Seth … you mention all the "other" theatre websites except for BroadwayWorld.com.  How come?  You even have CHATTERBOX here!?  No matter … we won't hold it against you (that's good for killing ONE star!) My biggest laugh reading this – came on page 162 – when he writes, "The mid-90's revival of GREASE had a parade of TV stars coming through it every few months.  Mackenzie Philips, Micky Dolenz,Sally Struthers, Linda Blair, ad infinitum.  Even though  a lot of them were extremely talented, the musical took on a freak-show element.  Every night was like an eposide of VH1's "Where Are They Now?" Other favorites include his take on his "vegetarian" choice at The Carnegie Deli and a night at JEKYLL & HYDE (the musical) where Linda Eder "acted" and lip-synched to an off-stage Emily Skinner, singing the role!  It's all pretty damned funny!  Also … Seth … er, Stephen … thanks for explaining the "German" for SITZPROBE!!!

BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report
WHAT WOULD BARBRA DO?
How Musicals Changed My Life


By Emma Brockes
HarperCollins
0 stars (out of 5)

This book came out late last Spring and I finally got to sit down and read it.  I'm glad I didn't "rush" …. As this book is a bona fide train-wreck!  It also has a great title, that leaves the question (What Would Barbra Do?) – a spin on What would Jesus do? - and the quest (How Musicals Changed My life) totally unanswered.

The author is British and young and is a writer at The Guardian, with a couple of awards under her belt.  She also has the worst "take" on musicals I've ever encountered.  Brockes free-associates like crazy and commits the BIGGEST Broadway sin of all – referring to Original Cast Recordings as "Broadway Soundtracks."  Emma – they're either ORIGNAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDINGS or ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACKS … NOT "BROADWAY SOUNTRACKS!"

Her "Barbra" knowledge is also "at sea" and often times inaccurate and is a SMALL portion of this book, given the title.  

Sources don't exist, lots of theorizing and "friends and family" … oh yeah … and quoting other's articles and even uses WIKIPEDIA!  

Steven Brinberg (Simply Barbra) shows up this book, having met the author while performing in London, and he must be mortified by all the inaccuracies … especially about La Streisand and her work.

Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music get a huge chunk of this lousy book, too.  Huh?

Instead of buying this book – buy Hello, Dolly! – the movie and have a good time.  It will kill the author if you do (and her publisher) …. or YENTL, which the author claims is available on DVD …. (it is, only in the UK)

By the way … WHO proof-read this ????



BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportPaper Mill Playhouse
The Life of a Theatre
By Regina Benedict Reynolds
With the staff of the Paper Mill Playhouse
David M. Baldwin, Publisher
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)

I never knew this book even existed.  It was sent to us recently (in hardcover edition), but upon examination, realized it came out in 1999.  I think they should revise and update this ASAP.  Right now you can only buy it at the theatre itself or through their touring programs or at the BC/EFA Flea Market, every Fall.  It is a BEAUTIFUL book – loaded with photographs, history and information about all the great (and not-so-great) productions under their roof.  But this is, of course, more than just a theatre and the pride of New Jersey … but anyone who lives in New York, has certainly traveled the famous road to its lovely location – considered an institution with some of the greatest production values, lavishing large amounts on their productions, for OUR entertainment.  Who could EVER forget FOLLIES?  Sublime.  The theatre was recently on the verge of financial collapse and got SAVED.  Lucky for us.  (Click here for the latest.) This book is another in the generous-sized coffee table book tradition .. and is loaded with pix from GYPSY (Betty Buckley playing Momma Rose), FOLLIES (Donna McKechnie as Sally, Ann Miller stopping the show with "I'm Still Here!) and lots more.  What a trip down Memory Lane. My favorite quote by Angelo DelRossi:  " When I first called Ann Miller about playing Carlotta, who sings "I'm Still Here," she said, 'Oh, Angelo, honey, I don't know.  I've got my dogs and problems with my knees – I am 78 you know!'  I said, 'Oh, Annie get over it! You're sitting in you house in Arizona when you could be up on that stage doing what you do best! Now, come on!' 'Oh, all right – you talked me into it!'"


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportTHE OXFORD COMPANION TO THE
AMERICAN MUSICAL

Theatre, Film, and Television
By Thomas Hischak
Oxford University Press
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 4 stars (out of 5)

I honestly don't know how one approaches putting together a book of this magnitude.  THE OXFORD COMPANION TO THE AMERICAN MUSICAL is a whopping 960 pages that you will want to have in your collection.  It's also a great size for the shelf, as it is not a coffee table book, but more encyclopedic.  This handsome book is "hot off the presses" and has a list price of $39.95, but if you order it at amazon.com now … you can get it for an enticing $26.37 (as of the writing date of this review) and my recommendation would be to do so immediately.   That said … I'm only giving it 4 stars because it is somewhat incomplete, with at least a few pieces of misinformation that I caught along the way … but I won't quibble.  This is a lot of research, done for you, in one place … and it's ALL about musicals!  This is a good thing.  It covers all aspects- of musicals – the shows, films, etc., as well as performers, composers, producers, choreographers and lyricists.  Good bio coverage, too.  Not as "up-to-date" as Cheyenne Jackson, but who knows when this text had to be "put to bed." Marvin Hamlisch,Lynn Ahrens, Carol Channing,Stephen Flaherty,Jonathan Pryce and Ben Vereen all get quotes on the book jacket, but my suspicion is none of them actually read it … or they would have caught some interesting errors and/or omissions …. But I'm nit-picking now.  The author has authored a good number of books and is obviously passionate on the subject.  Marni Nixon writes the foreward, dated January, 2008 – New York City. A welcome feature in the book (that we all need and want)  ... is a complete index of Tony Award and Academy Award winners! - USEFUL.


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBILLY ELLIOT
Through The Lens Original Cast Theatre Photographs
By David Scheinmann
Introduction by Stephen Daldry
Forwards by Elton John and Lee Hall
Published by Billy London Limited 2005
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)

BILLY ELLIOT, the musical, is going to EXPLODE onto Broadway next season … and the glorious photos in this book are so colorful and joyous … that I just can't wait to see it.  The book, in 160 pages, with 191 photographs, tells the story of the birth of this musical theatre phenomenon in pictures. Another handsome publication, in the coffee table tradition, this can only be ordered online from the official website: www.billyelliotthemusical.com


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportJersey Boys
The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
By David Cote
Photos by Joan Marcus
Broadway Books
Random House, Inc.
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 5 stars (out of 5)

This is a fantastic (and HUGE) book!  Jersey Boys is one of the biggest TONY Award winning hits in recent history. And this book is one-stop shopping that gives you EVERYTHING – the story of The Four Seasons (the original members), the show's unabridged libretto, interviews with the show's cast, writers and director and lots and lots of PHOTOS (Joan Marcus rocks!).  Other photos and collectibles also help to make up this handsome book.  The over-sized coffee table spectacular was done by the same person who did the companion book to WICKED, David Cote.  David is the theater and chief drama critic for Time Out New York and he has also written for The New York Times.  This book is so full … you won't believe it.  If you're a FAN – it's a MUST-HAVE! And since MEN actually love this musical …. Hmmm … do the math.  A "no-brainer."  It's been out since late Fall, but you may not have known about it or seen it.  Gets our TOP-RATING!  Hey, and if you're a John Lloyd Young fan … he's playing Marius this summer, in Les Miserables at The Hollywood Bowl.  How great is that?

IN THE NEPOTISM DEPARTMENT:

I wanted to have a "disclaimer" for these next three titles, as they involve both friends and family of BroadwayWorld.com.  You'll see why ….

BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportWHY HASN'T HE CALLED?
How Guys Really Think & How To
Get the Right One Interested in You
By Matt Titus and Tamsen Fadal
McGraw Hill
BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report 4 stars (out of 5)

Hmmm … well, where to begin?  Some advice from me … DO NOT READ THIS AT THE BEACH where ALL THE GUYS you might be wanting to "catch" can see you "plotting."  This is a fun book with charming drawings/illustrations by BWW's very own Eddie Varley (hence, NEPOTISM).  Eddie … who knew?  The authors, along with Varley, you might recognize from this past season's LIFETIME series MATCHED IN MANHATTAN, which (in my opinion) was sort of creepy.  The book is charming and the couple (authors) are married and run (in real life) a matchmaking agency.  He's written other books – she's an Emmy Award-winng television journalist.  These types of books fall in that RULES/HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU category … and I'm just not sure WHO should ever be giving out "standard" doses of advice, but – I must say – this is cordial and worth picking up and gave ME some things to think about.  I'll keep you posted on HOW I DO!!! 


BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!) by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Running Press

BroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book ReportBroadwayWorld End-of-Season Book Report five stars (out of 5)

So …. I'm talking to BWW Editor-In-Chief Robert Diamond and telling him I'm loving these "Skinny Bitch" books.  He says, "Rory Freedman is my cousin."  I say, "SHUT UP!"  There you have it – NEPOTISM!

I had to write about these two books and the SKINNY BITCH phenom – translated into multiple languages, audio books, kindle version, paperback, hardcover, boxed together .. you name it … a franchise from HEAVEN!  

AND … fantastic, by the way.  The message is simple .. EAT WELL … dammit!  These books have been on The New York Times Bestseller list for what seems "ages" … so who needs MY opinion, but they are great … and QUITE SENSIBLE!

Rob's cousin, Rory, was a former Ford's Model agent.  Kim, is a mom – has a two year old kid - and is also a former model, but holds a degree (Master of Science) in nutrition.

The book(s) are DEFINT|ITELY "beach" material and will have you laughing out loud!  One of my favorite phrases is: "soda is liquid satan."  Get my drift?

The books are a SURE THING and there's a great website, too.

www.skinnybitch.net

Word has it that SKINNYBITCH: A BUN IN THE OVEN and SKINNYBITCH for MEN are "waiting in the wings" for future consumption.

Mmmmmm …. Delicious!

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