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Theater History Books

Pumpkin
Chorus Member
joined:12/3/13
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:07am
Suggestions? Favorites? Least favorites?

Fiction or non-fiction, looking for a few new reads.
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Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:24am
Be The Parade Passes By - About Gower Champion
The Abominable Showman - About David Merrick
Everything Is Possible - Re the original Follies

As others come to mind, I will post them. These titles may be out of print so try Amazon

Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
Updated On: 7/23/14 at 11:24 AM
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:48am
I have to ask: what would a FICTION Theater History book be? Lies?


If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:52am
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Ferderle is a fiction theatre book.
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:52am
Double post

Updated On: 7/23/14 at 11:52 AM
Pumpkin
Chorus Member
joined:12/3/13
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:53am
I thought I should have clarified that before I posted. Please include fictional novels that center around the theater. For example, many consider "The Cather in the Rye" to be a valuable source for New York City history even though it is fiction.
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 12:00pm
So, really, you are looking for any books about theater, at all?

Ginger -- That's a CHILDREN'S book, and nothing to do with Theater History -- which is what the op originally asked for. (As far as I can tell.)


Check out Jenn Tepper's series of books: The Untold Stories of B'way.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 12:03pm
As the OP said, "please include fictional novels that center around theatre."

That is a fiction novel which centers around theatre, regardless of the intended audience.
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 12:06pm
His original post did not make that clarification. His OP asked for theater history books. Sheesh.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 12:10pm
Either way, my original post was a response to your question about fictional theatre books. I was pointing out that they do exist.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/11
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 01:21pm
The Season by William Goldman
Act One by Moss Hart
Ghostlight by Frank Rich
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 01:22pm
No, my question was asking what a fictional theatre HISTORY book would be like. I know there are fictional books involving theater. There are fictional books about EVERYTHING.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
neonlightsxo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/29/08
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 01:25pm
I've read and liked
Stop the Show!, Nothing Like a Dame, Not Since Carrie, Song of Spiderman

Also check out the book or DVD series Broadway: The American Musical
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TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 01:28pm
I think we can reasonably interpret "fictional theatre history book" as a historical fiction about theatre.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 06:09pm
The two best of the countless books I've read:

THE SEASON, William Goldman (mentioned above)
SONDHEIM & CO. (rev. ed.), Craig Zadan

The worst:

Any of the many editions of HISTORY OF THE THEATRE, Oscar G. Brockett.

Think of Brockett as a pocket encyclopedia. He refuses to cut anything and instead relies on countless paragraphs that list "major playwrights of the 1820s" and the like. It is virtually unreadable as a book. I know because I was forced to teach it for years.

(To be fair, my "best" selections cover the second half of the 20th century, while Brockett is trying to cover all theater history since before the Greeks. But that's his fault, not mine.)

Updated On: 7/25/14 at 06:09 PM
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 06:15pm
Not mentioned yet-- Everything Was Possible - Ted Chapin
Deena Jones
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/03
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sabrelady
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/03
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 08:42pm
's a PLAY but Compleat Female Stage Beauty is a work of fiction based upon historical events taking place in the Restoration period theatre.
The Libertine is as well come to that.

Words that confuse censors:Fecund,penal,taint, titmouse, cockatoo,coccyx, ballcock, cockeye, prickly,kumquat, titter,cunning linguist, insertion, gobble, guzzle, swallow, manhole, rimshot,ramrod,come, fallacious, lugubrious,rectify,Uranus, angina, paradiddle,spotted dick,dictum, frock,cunctation, engorge,turgid,stiff, bush, uvula, crapulence, masticate, Dick Butkus, gherkin and of course the always bewildering lickety split. As you can see, context is every thing. Chuck Lorre Addendum: 555 382 5968 "Sexarama, Hexarama, Queeriosis, Feariosis!" Alec Baldwin "Happiness is up to you. You just have to understand what it is before you get it." -Elaine Stritch
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uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 08:58pm
Eric, Everything Was Possible was mentioned nezr the top.

5, 6, 7, Nate
The Ruby Preston books
Nothing Like A Dame
Just give the world Love.
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 09:11pm
LOL... I shoulda read better. Oh well, it bears repeating. I would put it up there with The Season (though the homosexual thoughts in that book are badly dated and come off as pretty offensive, it's still a terrific read.)
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uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 09:24pm
Agreed, it does bear repeating. I couldn't put it down.
Just give the world Love.
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ooblogway
Understudy
joined:5/20/07
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 10:09pm
Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement by Stephen J. Bottoms

Caffe Cino: The Birthplace of Off-Off-Broadway by Wendell C. Stone

On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century by C. Carr

Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam by David Kaufman
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mattmarkowski99
Understudy
joined:5/2/14
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/23/14 at 11:27pm
Act One by Moss Hart or Second Act Trouble by...I forget who.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/24/14 at 12:04am
Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff

Diary of a Mad Playwright by James Kirkwood
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/24/14 at 12:33am
Ooh. I like this thread. Any recommendations for, well, the kind of books that wouldn't be on any respectable theatre history instructor's syllabus?

Less of the academic process stuff and more of the memoir/behind-the-scenes/gossipy-name-dropping-and-full-of-sometimes-wickedly-funny-theatre-anecdotes type of reads?
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BobbyBubbi
Featured Actor
joined:1/7/14
Theater History Books
Posted: 7/24/14 at 06:34am
^^ anything by Arthur Laurents. His book 'An Original Story By' is pretty juicy.

To his defense though, he does talk about process.
Updated On: 7/24/14 at 06:34 AM

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