28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List

Broadway authors this season include Harvey Fierstein, Mandy Gonzalez, Rachel Bloom and more.

By: Apr. 09, 2022
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Spring has sprung and the great weather calls for a great book to enjoy outdoors! You're in luck, because this year, 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 28 new Broadway books for every theatre lover's spring reading list.

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

28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir

by Harvey Fierstein
Now Available

Harvey Fierstein's legendary career has transported him from community theater in Brooklyn, to the lights of Broadway, to the absurd excesses of Hollywood and back. He's received accolades and awards for acting in and/or writing an incredible string of hit plays, films, and TV shows: Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, Cheers, La Cage Aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy, Newsies, and Kinky Boots. While he has never shied away from the spotlight, Mr. Fierstein says that even those closest to him have never heard most of the tales-of personal struggles and conflict, of sex and romance, of his fabled career-revealed in these wildly entertaining pages. I Was Better Last Night bares the inner life of this eccentric nonconforming child from his roots in 1952 Brooklyn, to the experimental worlds of Andy Warhol and the Theatre of the Ridiculous, to the gay rights movements of the seventies and the tumultuous AIDS crisis of the eighties, through decades of addiction, despair, and ultimate triumph.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Pinter and Stoppard: A Director's View

by Carey Perloff
Now Available

Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard, by most accounts the leading British playwrights of our time, might seem to come from very different aesthetic, cultural and political worlds. But as Carey Perloff's fascinating new book reveals, the two have much in common. By examining these contemporaries alongside one another and in the context of the rehearsal room, we can glean new insights and connections, including the impact of their Jewish background on their work and their passion for the details of stagecraft. Readers of Pinter and Stoppard: A Director's View will emerge with a set of tools for approaching their work in a performance environment and for unlocking the mysteries of the plays for audiences.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Building Utopia: The Barbican Centre

by Nicholas Kenyon
Now Available

A beautifully designed celebration of the 40th birthday of the Barbican Arts Centre, in the heart of the City of London. It is the largest multi-arts centre in Europe, encompassing an art gallery, theatres, concert halls, cinemas and a much-loved conservatory, and regular collaborators include the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Performing in Contemporary Musicals

by David Sisco and Laura Josepher
Now Available

Performing in Contemporary Musicals brings into sharp focus the skills performers must possess when tackling shows that are newly written, in development, or somewhere in between. The authors bust myths about contemporary musical theatre and analyze the development timelines of musicals from around the world. They also explore how performers can become invaluable to a creative team by developing the skills needed to move a new musical forward including: contemporary acting and singing techniques, dramaturgy, quickly picking up new material, and collaboration. Each chapter features insightful industry interviews, recommended activities, an extensive reading list, and an online companion for further study.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck: The Gentleman Preferred Blondes

by Bernard F. Dick
Now Available

Beginning with The Jazz Singer (1927) and 42nd Street (1933), legendary Hollywood film producer Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979) revolutionized the movie musical, cementing its place in American popular culture. Zanuck, who got his start writing stories and scripts in the silent film era, worked his way to becoming a top production executive at Warner Bros. in the later 1920s and early 1930s. Leaving that studio in 1933, he and industry executive Joseph Schenck formed Twentieth Century Pictures, an independent Hollywood motion picture production company. In 1935, Zanuck merged his Twentieth Century Pictures with the ailing Fox Film Corporation, resulting in the combined Twentieth Century-Fox, which instantly became a new major Hollywood film entity.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor's Journey to Broadway's Biggest Stage

by Mickey Rowe
Now Available

Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor's Journey to Broadway's Biggest Stage is Mickey Rowe's story of growing up autistic and pushing beyond the restrictions of a special education classroom to shine on the stage. As an autistic and legally blind person, living in a society designed by and for non-disabled people, it was always made clear to Mickey the many things he was apparently incapable of doing. But Mickey did them all anyway-and he succeeded because of, not in spite of, his autism. He became the first autistic actor to play the lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, landed the title role in the play Amadeus, co-created the theatre/philanthropy company Arts on the Waterfront, and founded the National Disability Theatre. Mickey faced untold obstacles along the way, but his story ends in triumph.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Facing the Music: a Broadway memoir

by David Loud
Now Available

Unforgettably entertaining and emotionally revealing, Loud is pitch-perfect as he describes his path to the podium, from a stage-struck kid growing up at a school devoted to organic farming and mountain climbing, to the searing formative challenges he faces during adolescence, to the remarkable behind-the-scenes stories of his Broadway trials and triumphs. Skilled at masking his fears, Loud achieves his dream until one fateful opening night, when in the midst of a merry, dressing room celebration, he can no longer deny reality and must suddenly, truly, face the music.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List This Time for Me: A Memoir

by Alexandra Billings
Now Available

Born in 1962, Alexandra Billings grew up in a decade in which being herself was illegal. When she started transitioning in 1980, the word "Transgender" was not commonly used. With no Trans role models and no path to follow, Alexandra did what her family, teachers, and even friends said was impossible: Alexandra forged ahead. Spanning five decades, from profound lows to exhilarating highs, This Time for Me captures the events of a pioneering life. An award-winning actor and history-making LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS activist, Alexandra shares not only her own ever-evolving story but also the parallel ways in which queer identity has dramatically changed since the Stonewall riots of 1969. She weaves a true coming-of-age story of richly imaginative lies, of friends being swept away by a plague that decimated the community, of her determination to establish a career that would break boundaries, and of the recognition of her own power.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Fearless: Boulevard of Dreams

by Mandy Gonzalez
Now Available

Twelve-year-old Relly can't wait for his beloved grandfather to finally see him on stage! Along with the rest of the Fearless Squad, Relly has just opened Our Time, a brand-new musical at the infamous Ethel Merman Theater. Though his grandfather would prefer his grandson pursue something more "practical," Relly just knows when he sees the show, he will change his mind and come around on Relly's love of theater and dance. But right before their night show, a member of the Squad loses their phone down an open manhole. When the entire Squad goes down to help retrieve it, they find themselves in 1950s Manhattan. A big problem, considering the curtain goes up in about two hours-and over sixty years in the future!


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Anne Bancroft: A Life

by Douglass K. Daniel
Now Available

In the first biography to cover the entire scope of Bancroft's life and career, Douglass K. Daniel brings together interviews with dozens of her friends and colleagues, never-before-published family photos, and material from film and theater archives to present a portrait of an artist who raised the standards of acting for all those who followed. Daniel reveals how, from a young age, Bancroft was committed to challenging herself and strengthening her craft. Her talent (and good timing) led to a breakthrough role in Two for the Seesaw, which made her a Broadway star overnight. The role of Helen Keller's devoted teacher in the stage version of The Miracle Worker would follow, and Bancroft also starred in the movie adaption of the play, which earned her an Academy Award. She went on to appear in dozens of film, theater, and television productions, including several movies directed or produced by her husband, Mel Brooks.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are: Essays and Other Stuff

by Rachel Bloom
Now Available

Rachel Bloom has felt out of place her whole life, whether in the hallowed halls of Manhattan Beach Middle School or on Twitter. So she's decided to figure out exactly what makes her so different. I WANT TO BE WHERE THE NORMAL PEOPLE ARE is a hilarious exploration of all of Rachel Bloom's formative missteps, mishaps, and misanthropic moments. In a collection of laugh-out-loud funny essays, all told in the unique voice (sometimes singing voice) that made her a star, Rachel writes about everything she thought made her abnormal, from her struggles with mental health, to her love of Disney and Spanx, to the story of how she didn't poop in the toilet until she was four. Her stories are hilarious, smart, and infinitely relatable (except for the pooping thing).


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Hold, Please: Stage Managing A Pandemic

by Richard Hester
Now Available

March 12, 2020: Last night, after weeks of downplaying and ridiculing the virus, we were finally told by our President, that it is, in fact, serious... And so, it began. Broadway shut down. Instead of sitting in a darkened theatre every night watching Jersey Boys, Richard Hester, like many other people, found himself sitting on his sofa glued to the news, As the days that followed unfolded and turned into weeks and then into months, we all experienced a profound seismic shift. The virus spread, infecting millions. We lost friends and family. Our economies shut down. Our jobs either stopped or changed in radical ways. The senseless murder of George Floyd forced us to take a hard look at who we are and how we treat each other. The Presidential election, drove the country so far apart that it threatened to destroy Democracy, itself.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Single-Sentence Shakespeare

by Courtney Gorter
Release Date: April 12, 2022

This amusing approach to Shakespeare's classic dramas features the plot of each of the Bard's 39 plays reduced to a single descriptive sentence.
For this volume Shakespeare's 39 plays are divided into their five canonical groupings: comedies, tragedies, histories, problem plays, and collaborations. Each single-sentence summary will be foregrounded against a two-page spread featuring classic artwork that speaks both to the seriousness of the play illustrated as well as to the points made by the summary.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Offstage Observations: Inside Tales of the Not-So-Legitimate Theatre

by Steven Suskin
Release Date: April 15, 2022

Broadway, once upon a time. A place where people buy tickets at the box office, with cash; where patrons dress for theatre, with no sneakers, no water bottles, and no backpacks; and the only text messages are the ones put there by the playwright. A place where iconic legends of stage and screen can be found in plain view, smiling politely or egotistically preening. Where three dollars will get you a balcony seat at the biggest hit-or the lowliest flop-in town. And a place where an innocent teenager from the suburbs can buy a ticket, slip through the stage door, and wander o'er the threshold into the magical world backstage.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List On Stage with Bette Davis: Inside the Famous Flop of Miss Moffat

by Kevin Lane Dearinger
Release Date: April 16, 2022

A reflection on one of Broadway's most iconic flops, this memoir follows a musical that featured one of the silver screen's most powerful personalities. Bette Davis was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and twice won the Best Actress award, starring in classics like Jezebel, The Letter, The Little Foxes, All About Eve and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, among many more. In 1974, the living legend agreed to star in Miss Moffat, a musical adaptation of Emlyn Williams' The Corn in Green. Expectations were high, but Miss Moffat opened and then abruptly closed, leading theatre gossips to speculate on what went wrong. Early in his career, Kevin Lane Dearinger, a young actor who had recently relocated to New York, landed a minor role in Miss Moffat. Inexperienced and unsure of himself, he kept a journal of his observations and experiences throughout production. He observed the older and more seasoned Miss Davis, who seemed determined to remain clear-headed despite the unfolding calamity. In this book, Dearinger revisits his journal to reflect on his own life, a fated stage production, his experience with an entertainment legend and a bygone era of Broadway.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Jagged Little Pill: The Novel

by Eric Smith, Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, Glen Ballard
Release Date: April 26, 2022

Jagged Little Pill: The Novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose world is changed forever after the events at a party. Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother-who would rather ignore a problem and preserve their "perfect" life than stand up for what's right. Jo just wants her mom to accept her queer identity-and is totally crushed when Frankie, the only person who really gets her, finds herself infatuated with someone new. Phoenix tries to find his place at the new school and balance wanting to spend time with Frankie but knowing he also has to help out with his sick sister at home. Bella wants to enjoy the end of high school and just head off to college without a hitch. Everyone expects Frankie's brother Nick to be the golden boy, but even though he just got into his dream school, he's not even sure he's a good person. Each of their stories intersects when Bella is sexually assaulted at a party, and it looks like the perpetrator might get away with it.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Katy on Broadway

by Ella English
Release Date: May 1, 2022

Katy loves to sing and practices every day. Gerry says she can't sing, and Lilian says New York is too dangerous for such a small kitty. But now she's ready to try! She escapes her yard and makes it to the city. But it IS a big scary place! Now she's all alone and lost. How will she find her way? Can she really become a superstar? This is the first of the Kitty in the City series! Be on the lookout for more adventures as Katy explores New York!


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Critique Is Creative: The Critical Response Process in Theory and Action

by Liz Lerman and John Borstel
Release Date: May 3, 2022

Devised by choreographer Liz Lerman in 1990, Critical Response Process® (CRP) is an internationally recognized method for giving and getting feedback on creative works in progress. In this first in-depth study of CRP, Lerman and her long-term collaborator John Borstel describe in detail the four-step process, its origins and principles. The book also includes essays on CRP from a wide range of contributors. With insight, ingenuity, and the occasional challenge, these practitioners shed light on the applications and variations of CRP in the contexts of art, education, and community life. Critique is Creative examines the challenges we face in an era of reckoning and how CRP can aid in change-making of various kinds.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium

by Justin Sayre
Release Date: May 10, 2022

Based on Sayre's five-part show in New York City, From Gay to Z is a humorous collection of the rich legacy of gay culture, told through the letters of the alphabet. From ABBA to addiction, hair and makeup to HIV, Fannie Flagg to fierce, Sayre offers their own perspective on the things that have influenced gay culture today, including iconic figures, historical moments, ongoing issues in the LGBTQIA+ community, and everything in between. As gay culture is always evolving and different for everyone, this book does not serve as a definitive guide-instead, Sayre encourages readers to use this knowledge to reflect on the things that have informed their personal identities. Engagingly written and beautifully designed, From Gay to Z is a distinctive and dynamic look at gay culture for LGBTQIA+ readers everywhere.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List GEMIGNANI: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond

by Margaret Hall
Release Date: May 15, 2022

Paul Gemignani is one of the titans of the modern musical theater industry. Serving as musical director for more than forty Broadway productions since 1971, his collaborations with Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Hal Prince, Michael Bennett, and Alan Menken have led to countless accolades for his collaborators, but due to the near invisible position of the musical director in the Broadway industry, Gemignani's story is often overlooked. GEMIGNANI seeks to not only bring the reader into the orchestra pit to learn Gemignani's story, but also to educate the reader about the crucial role a music director plays in bringing some of the most iconic musicals in Broadway history to life.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List The Letters of Oscar Hammerstein II

by Mark Eden Horowitz
Release Date: May 17, 2022

This rich collection edited by Mark Eden Horowitz features hundreds of previously unpublished letters that show off all facets of Hammerstein's many engagements and his personality. Hammerstein's correspondence with major Broadway figures like Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Kern, and Josh Logan tells the history of twentieth-century American show business while his exchanges with politicians and activists shed light on social issues of the period. What unites these letters across their vast range of themes is Hammerstein's compelling voice that reveals a man who was sharp, opinionated, and funny but also cared deeply about addressing the social ills that his musicals explored beyond the stage.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Ali and the Sea Stars

by Ali Stroker
Release Date: May 17, 2022

Ali loves to dance, sing, and act. But she had never thought of putting on her own show until her neighbor asks, "Why wait?" Immediately energized, Ali gets to work. There's so much to do before showtime-choosing the right musical, auditions, rehearsal, costume and set design-but Ali can do anything with her family and friends. When a storm threatens to undo all their hard work, Ali must use her imagination and adapt so the show can go on! Includes an inspiring letter from Ali to readers on how she developed confidence while on-stage and how theater encourages teamwork and creativity.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Broadway Bird

by Alex Timbers
Release Date: May 24, 2022

Louisa is a tiny parakeet with a HUGE dream: to be a Broadway star. But no matter what she does, everyone keeps telling her she's too small to make it big! When a chance at her big break comes, Louisa learns that no matter how small you are, with a little talent and a lot of hard work, you can do anything - even be on Broadway! With colorful, charming illustrations by artist Alisa Coburn, this heartfelt picture book from renowned Broadway director Alex Timbers is about persistence, believing in yourself, and, of course, the magic of Broadway.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories from the Broadway Phenomenon That Started It All

by Tom Moore, Adrienne Barbeau, Ken Waissman
Release Date: June 7, 2022

Grease: Tell Me More, Tell Me More is a collection of memories and stories from over one hundred actors and musicians, including the creative team and crew who were part of the original Broadway production and in the many touring companies it spawned. Here are stories-some touching, some hilariously funny-from names you may recognize: Barry Bostwick, John Travolta, Adrienne Barbeau, Treat Williams, Marilu Henner, Peter Gallagher, and others you may not: Danny Jacobson, creator of Mad About You; Tony-winning Broadway directors Walter Bobbie and Jerry Zaks; bestselling authors Laurie Graff and John Lansing; television stars Ilene Kristen, Ilene Graff, and Lisa Raggio, and many, many more.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List So You Want to Sing Musical Theatre: A Guide for Performers

by Amanda Flynn
Release Date: June 15, 2022

From television shows like Glee and Smash to the phenomenon of the Broadway show Hamilton, musical theatre has never been more popular. In So You Want to Sing Musical Theatre, Updated and Expanded Edition, Broadway vocal coach Amanda Flynn provides an in-depth look at the skills needed to successfully sing and teach this repertoire. Fully updated to meet the current needs of the profession, this new edition covers a vast array of topics with even deeper discussion: musical theatre history; repertoire; genres used in productions; basic singing voice science; vocal health; audio equipment and microphones; vocal production of musical theatre sounds; acting, dancing, and other movement; working with kids; and auditioning at all levels. The book also includes profiles of Broadway singers that explores their training, methods of vocal upkeep, and advice for singers and teachers.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List Not Starring Zadie Louise

by Joy McCullough
Release Date: June 21, 2022

Zadie loves Tae Kwon Do, comic books, and outer space. She also loves visiting the community theater that her mom runs, especially the lighting grid over the stage and the stage manager's booth, which is filled with levers and buttons like a spaceship control panel. So when the family's finances suffer a blow and Zadie has to give up her usual activities to spend the summer at the theater, she doesn't mind too much. After all, she's always wanted to tech a show. She knows she'd be great at it, but her mom and the new stage manager are totally opposed to the idea of having a kid do tech. Instead, Zadie's stuck handing out snacks and folding flyers. But the future of the theater rides on this show, and Zadie is determined to help. She's going to make Spinderella the hit of the season-unless she accidentally turns it into a disaster.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List The Long Revolution: Writings from the Frontlines of a New American Theatre

by Zelda Fichandler
Release Date: June 28, 2022

Zelda Fichandler is one of the founding visionaries of the theatre movement in America. From the creation of Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage in 1950 with her husband Thomas, through her later stewardship of the acting training programs at both at NYU and Julliard, Zelda spent over sixty years speaking, writing and observing the rise and impact of the art of theatre in the U.S. She has relentlessly questioned the very field that she, as much as anyone, created. Her essays and speeches capture both the play of her own dazzling mind, and the aspirations and contradictions of the theater she pioneered.


28 Theater Books for Your Spring 2022 Reading List The Jukebox Musical: An Interpretive History

by Kevin Byrne, Emily Fuchs
Release Date: June 30, 2022

This is a comprehensive guide to the unique genre of the jukebox musical, delving into its history to explain why these musicals have quickly become beloved for multiple generations of theatergoers and practitioners. Providing a concise exploration of the three main categories of the jukebox musical--biographical, genre-specific, and artist catalog--this text is perfect for those wishing to learn more about this relatively recent and unique genre of theater. It identifies the dramaturgical needs that arise in these productions and explains how certain works become critical darlings or fan favorites. How much information needs to be conveyed through song and how much can be left up to interpretation by the audience? What kinds of changes occur when a repertoire of songs is reimagined for the stage? In addition to these insightful explorations, it also reveals how creative teams tackle the unique challenge of weaving together plot and song in order to convey meaning, emotion, excitement, and beauty in these increasingly popular forms of theater.


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