21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List

Broadway authors this season include Kristin Chenoweth, Seth Rudetsky and more!

By: Feb. 11, 2023
21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List
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The weather outside might still be frightful for a while, but what better time to stay in and snuggle up with a great Broadway read? This season, Broadway's best have put pen to paper to turn out theatre page-turners of every kind. From theatre biographies to theatre fiction; theatre books for kids to theatre history; check out our collection of 21 new Broadway books for every theatre lover's winter reading list.

Check out recent releases and view upcoming books for later this year!


21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Designing Broadway: How Derek McLane and Other Acclaimed Set Designers Create the Visual World of Theatre

by Derek McLane and Eila Mell
Available Now!

In this richly illustrated and information-packed celebration of Broadway set design, Tony Award-winning designer Derek McLane explores the craft while reflecting on some of the greatest stage productions of the past few decades. Together with other leading set design and theatre talents, McLane invites us into the immersive and exhilarating experience of building the striking visual worlds that have brought so many of our favorite stories to life. Discover how designers generate innovative ideas, research period and place, solve staging challenges, and collaborate with directors, projectionists, costume designers, and other artists to capture the essence of a show in powerful scenic design.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Finale: Late Conversations with Stephen Sondheim

by D.T. Max
Available Now!

In 2017, longtime New Yorker staff writer D.T. Max began working on a major profile of Stephen Sondheim that would be timed to the eventual premiere of a new musical Sondheim was writing. Sadly , that process - and the years of conversation - was cut short by Sondheim's own hesitations, then the global pandemic, and finally by the great artist's death in November 2021. Now, Max has taken the raw version of these conversations and knit them together into an unforgettable work of literature and celebration. Finale reveals Sondheim-a star who disliked the spotlight-at his most relaxed, thoughtful, sardonic, and engaging, as he talks about work, music, movies, family, New York City, aging, the creative process, and much more.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Supporting Staged Intimacy: A Practical Guide for Theatre Creatives, Managers, and Crew

by Alexis Black and Tina M. Newhauser
Available Now!

Supporting Staged Intimacy: A Practical Guide for Theatre Creatives, Managers, and Crew examines the relationship between staged intimacy, intimacy direction, and those supporting the process during pre-production, rehearsal, and performance. First, this book addresses challenges and trends in staging intimacy, helping backstage and offstage theatre artists recognize the problematic approaches and culture that led to the emerging field of intimacy direction. This text will then provide tools and recommended practices for supporting the creation and maintaining of staged intimacy, enabling team members to enact contemporary protocols concerning advocacy and agency. Finally, this book will educate and empower readers with the necessary skills to prompt change; by providing modern techniques, essential workplace protocols, and achievable action items, this book will transform the way theatre designers, managers, crew, and other creative team members engage with theatrical consent.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Streisand: The Mirror of Difference

by Garrett Stewart
Available Now!

At every stage of her career, Barbra Streisand's genius finds its fullest measure in screen song, first in Emmy-winning TV specials, then in Hollywood blockbusters from Funny Girl to Funny Lady. She goes on, as emerging auteur, to direct her own "musical concepts" in A Star Is Born-before reconceiving the big-screen musical altogether in the writing as well as directing of her own starring role in Yentl ("A Film with Music"). In this intensive reading of the "actress-who-sings," Garrett Stewart notes the gender and ethnic stereotypes that Streisand shattered as the first openly Jewish superstar, while concentrating not just on the cultural difference she made but on the internal differentials of her unholy vocal gift-whose kinetic volatility shapes a kind of cinematic terrain all its own. Down through her filmed return to the concert stage, Stewart elicits the sinuous phonetic text of Streisand's on-screen musical delivery in a keenly attentive mode of audition that puts into fresh perspective the indelible aura of her stardom.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List I'm No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts: Mini-Meditations for Saints, Sinners, and the Rest of Us

by Kristin Chenoweth
Available Now!

From television actress, Broadway star, and New York Times bestselling author Kristin Chenoweth comes I'm No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts, an inspiring high-design, colorful book featuring philosophical-ish musings on connection, creativity, loss, love, faith, and closure. Just like Kristin's grandmother inspired her to trust her heart and develop her own belief system, you'll be inspired to develop your own life philosophies, as you journey through some of Kristin's most vulnerable and humorous personal stories, in her constant pursuit to make the most out of life.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Conversations with Terrence McNally

by Raymond-Jean Frontain
Available now!

Arriving in New York at the tail end of what has been termed the "Golden Age" of Broadway and the start of the Off-Broadway theater movement, Terrence McNally (1938-2020) first established himself as a dramatist of the absurd and a biting social critic. He quickly recognized, however, that one is more likely to change people's minds by first changing their hearts, and―in outrageous farces like The Ritz and It's Only a Play―began using humor more broadly to challenge social biases. By the mid-1980s, as the emerging AIDS pandemic called into question America's treatment of persons isolated by suffering and sickness, he became the theater's great poet of compassion, dramatizing the urgent need of human connection and the consequences when such connections do not take place.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Oscar Hammerstein II and the Invention of the Musical

by Laurie Winer
Available now!

You know his work-Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, The King and I. But you don't really know Oscar Hammerstein II, the man who, more than anyone else, invented the American musical. Among the most commercially successful artists of his time, he was a fighter for social justice who constantly prodded his audiences to be better than they were. Diving deep into Hammerstein's life, examining his papers and his lyrics, critic Laurie Winer shows how he orchestrated a collective reimagining of America, urging it forward with a subtly progressive vision of the relationship between country and city, rich and poor, America and the rest of the world. His rejection of bitterness, his openness to strangers, and his optimistic humor shaped not only the musical but the American dream itself. His vision can continue to be a touchstone to this day.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in Musical Theatre: He/She/They Could Have Danced All Night

by Kelly Kessler
Available now!

Critics and fans alike often mistake theatrical song and dance as simplistic, heteronormative, and traditional. This collection troubles this over-idealized notion of musical theatre, tackling divas, chorus boys, and The Rockettes; hit shows such as Hamilton and Spring Awakening; and lesser-known but groundbreaking gems like Erin Markey's A Ride on The Irish Cream and Kirsten Childs's Bella: An American Tall Tale. The book takes a broad look at musical theater across a range of intersecting lenses including race, nation, form, dance, casting, marketing, pedagogy, industry, stardom, politics, and platform. Undermining the musical form's conservative façade, scholars drive home the fact that gender and desire have long been at the heart of the musical. This exciting and vibrant collection of articles takes sex, sexuality, gendered complexity out of the musical's liner notes and back above the marquee.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List The Critic's Daughter: A Memoir

by Priscilla Gilman
Available now!

Growing up on the Upper West Side of New York City in the 1970s, in an apartment filled with dazzling literary and artistic characters, Priscilla Gilman worshiped her brilliant, adoring, and mercurial father, the writer, theater critic, and Yale School of Drama professor Richard Gilman. But when Priscilla was ten years old, her mother, renowned literary agent Lynn Nesbit, abruptly announced that she was ending the marriage. The resulting cascade of disturbing revelations―about her parents' hollow marriage, her father's double life and tortured sexual identity―fundamentally changed Priscilla's perception of her father, as she attempted to protect him from the depression that had long shadowed him.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List When Broadway Was Black

by Caseen Gaines
Available now!

If Hamilton, Rent, or West Side Story captured your heart, you'll love this in-depth look into the rise of the 1921 Broadway hit, Shuffle Along, the first all-Black musical to succeed on Broadway. No one was sure if America was ready for a show featuring nuanced, thoughtful portrayals of Black characters―and the potential fallout was terrifying. But from the first jazzy, syncopated beats of composers Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, New York audiences fell head over heels. When Broadway Was Black is the story of how Sissle and Blake, along with comedians Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, overcame poverty, racism, and violence to harness the energy of the Harlem Renaissance and produce a runaway Broadway hit that launched the careers of many of the twentieth century's most beloved Black performers.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List The Abbott Touch: Pal Joey, Damn Yankees, and the Theatre of George Abbott

by Thomas Hischak
Available now!

For sixty years, George Abbott was a vital force in the American theatre. As an actor, playwright, director, librettist, play doctor, and producer, he laid his "touch" on approximately 100 New York productions, from The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees through to Once Upon a Mattress and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Spanning this incredible figure's work chronologically, each chapter of The Abbott Touch examines a period of creativity in his life, culminating in how he became the famous multi-hyphenate artist he is now celebrated as. Beginning with his early career in 1913 through to his work on the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees, this book analyses his key contributions to his primary works, all of which have relied on his genius.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List How to Be a Multi-Hyphenate in the Theatre Business: Conversations, Advice, and Tips from "Dear Multi-Hyphenate"

by Michael Kushner
Available now!

Discussing self-identity, networking, workflow, failure, passion, purpose, socially responsible artistry, social media, and the effects of COVID-19, Michael Kushner, award-winning theatre multi-hyphenate artist, sets the stage for artists of all disciplines and backgrounds to find personalized success in the theatre industry. Complete with informative and lively exercises and excerpts from Kushner's popular podcast and workshop, Dear Multi-Hyphenate, this book addresses questions such as: How do we recover from a pandemic? How do we give more access to marginalized theatre creators? and What goes into producing our own projects? Featuring exclusive information from a myriad of theatre makers such as agents, managers, designers, actors, press representatives, producers, comedians, social media stars, writers, executive directors, CEOs, and lawyers, this book promotes the dismantling of gatekeeping and provides a specialized, hands-on experience to an innovative and lucrative approach to theatre making.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Broadway Bodies: A Critical History of Conformity

by Ryan Donovan
Release Date: February 17, 2023

In Broadway Bodies, author Ryan Donovan explores how ability, sexuality, and size intersect with gender, race, and ethnicity in casting and performance. To understand these intersectional relationships, he poses a series of questions: Why did A Chorus Line, a show that sought to individuate dancers, inevitably make them indistinguishable? How does the use of fat suits in musicals like Dreamgirls and Hairspray stigmatize fatness? What were the political implications of casting two straight actors as the gay couple in La Cage aux Folles in 1983? How did deaf actors change the sound of musicals in Deaf West Theatre's Broadway revivals? Whose bodies does Broadway cast and whose does it cast aside?

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List American Dramatists in the 21st Century: Opening Doors

by Christopher Bigsby
Release Date: Feruary 23, 2023

In American Dramatists in the 21st Century: Opening Doors, Christopher Bigsby examines the careers of seven award-winning playwrights: David Adjmi, Julia Cho, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Will Eno, Martyna Majok, Dominique Morisseau and Anna Ziegler. In addition to covering all their plays, including several as yet unpublished, he notes their critical reception while drawing on their own commentary on their approach to writing and the business of developing a career.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List The Musical Theatre Composer as Dramatist: A Handbook for Collaboration

by Rebecca Applin Warner
Release Date: Feruary 23, 2023

Dramaturgy is at the heart of any musical theatre score, proving that song and music combined can collectively act as drama. The Musical Theatre Composer as Dramatist: A Handbook for Collaboration offers techniques for approaching a musical with the drama at the centre of the music. Written by a working composer of British musical theatre, this original and highly practical book is intended for composers, students of musical theatre and performing arts and their collaborators. Through detailed case studies, conceptual frameworks and frank analysis, this book encourages the collaboration between the languages of music and drama. It offers a shared language for talking about music in the creation of musical theatre, as well as practical exercises for both composers and their collaborators and ways of analysing existing musical theatre scores for those who are versed in musical terminology, and those who are not.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Musical Theatre For Dummies

by Seth Rudetsky
Release Date: March 8, 2023

Have you ever dreamed of being in a Broadway musical, or even just to be in the ensemble in your local community theatre? In Musical Theater For Dummies, Broadway insider and host of Sirus/XM Radio's ON BROADWAY channel Seth Rudetsky takes you backstage and shows you what it takes to create a spectacular production. You'll get the behind-the-curtain view of how your favorite on- and off-Broadway shows are made, plus get expert advice on how to launch your own career under the bright lights. If you're new to musical theater, this book will initiate you into the world of musicals by sharing the stories and lingo that defines this fascinating world. This unique book shares insights into what makes musical theatre tick and how you can enjoy a show from your seat in the audience or from the stage itself.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Master of the House: The Theatres of Cameron Mackintosh

by Michael Coveney
Release Date: March 9, 2023

Cameron Mackintosh is London's West End's leading theatrical producer of musicals such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. He is also a significant theatre owner and has completed a two-decade campaign of refurbishment and rebuilding of eight London theatres, at his own personal cost of £250m, that has set the tempo for maintaining one of Britain's greatest cultural heritages for the next century, the West End theatre in the heart of the nation's artistic life. Master of the House charts the histories of these eight iconic London buildings; their origins, their stories, the iconic shows and productions, the stars and the glamour. Lavishly illustrated with images from the Delfont Mackintosh archive, the book also contains original architect plans and drawings, specially-commissioned photographs of the refurbishment, show posters and other theatre ephemera, and many sweeping panoramas of the exquisitely finished spaces.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Careful the Spell You Cast: How Stephen Sondheim Extended the Range of the American Musical

by Ben Francis
Release Date: March 9, 2023

Stephen Sondheim is one of the best-known and most-loved musical theatre composers, but also one of the most misunderstood, often being labelled as 'distant' or 'cynical'. Careful the Spell You Cast instead argues that Sondheim firmly belongs to the Broadway aspirational tradition, in that many of his characters are defined by their dreams: to abandon one's dream (as Ben does in Follies, Frank does in Merrily We Roll Along, and Addison does in Road Show) is to lose one's soul.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Love Is Love Is Love: Broadway Musicals and LGBTQ Politics, 2010-2020

by Aaron C. Thomas
Release Date: March 24, 2023

Through analyses of Promises, Promises, Newsies, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Color Purple, and Frozen, this book attempts to move past the question of representationalpolitics and asks us instead to think in more complex ways about LGBTQ identity, what LGBTQ politics are, and the politics of Broadway musicals themselves. Producing new, complex readings of all five of these musicals, author Aaron C. Thomas places each of them within the context of the LGBTQ politics of their day. Some of the issues the book treats are controversies of casting, the closetedness and openness of musical theatre, LGBTQ identities, adaptation from movies into musicals, and the special power of the musical form by examining how these shows differ from the books and movies on which they're based.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Hamilton and Me: An Actor's Journal

by Giles Terera
Release Date: March 28, 2023

When Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton opened in London's West End in December 2017, it was as huge a hit as it had been in its original production off- and on Broadway. Lauded by critics and audiences alike, the show would go on to win a record-equaling seven Olivier Awards-including Best Actor in a Musical for Giles Terera, for his portrayal of Aaron Burr. For Terera, though, his journey as Burr had begun more than a year earlier, with his first audition in New York, and continuing through extensive research and preparation, intense rehearsals, previews and finally opening night itself. Throughout this time he kept a journal, recording his experiences of the production and his process of creating his award-winning performance. This book, Hamilton and Me, is that journal.

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21 Theater Books for Your Winter 2023 Reading List Around the Globe: Behind the Scenes at Shakespeare's Theatre

by Ed Behrens
Release Date: March 30, 2023

Shakespeare's Globe is a reconstruction of The Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse for which Shakespeare wrote his plays, on the south bank of the Thames. The original theater was built in 1599 and demolished in 1644. Shakespeare's Globe was founded by actor and director Sam Wanamaker, built close to the original theater and opened to the public in 1997. The site also includes the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, an indoor theater opened in 2014. Around the Globe offers a unique view of the theater's backstage life, props, wardrobe collections and rehearsal spaces, all captured by Angela Moore's stunning photographs. Shakespeare's Globe attracts a million visitors a year across its two theaters, engages 120,000 people annually through education projects, and shares its work by touring nationally and internationally.

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