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Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!

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Looking for something new to read while stuck inside, but still need your Broadway fix? We've rounded up 10 of our favorite theatrical biographies to fill the void!

Not interested in biographies? Check out our favorite memoirs, Part One and Part Two, as well as our favorite theatre children's books here, and our favorite theatre-themed history books here!


Before the Parade Passes By: Gower Champion and the Glorious American Musical

By John Anthony Gilvey

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!During the Golden Age of the Broadway musical, few director-choreographers could infuse a new musical with dance and movement in quite the way Gower Champion could. From his earliest Broadway success with Bye Bye Birdie to his triumphant and bittersweet valedictory, 42nd Street, musicals directed by Champion filled the proscenium with life. At their best, they touched the heart and stirred the soul with a skillful blend of elegance and American showmanship.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Dance with Demons: The Life of Jerome Robbins

By Greg Lawrence

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!He was one of the most influential and creative forces in the history of American theater. But in 1998, Jerome Robbins died a haunted man. All of his life, he was tortured by private demons: his conflicted feelings about his bisexuality and his Judaism; his bitter relationship with his parents; his betrayals of others during the McCarthy hearings; and a demanding perfectionism that bordered on the sadistic. Now, this groundbreaking biography, based on hundreds of interviews with friends, family, and colleagues, provides the first complete portrait of the man and the artist-a harrowing, heartbreaking, and triumphant work as complicated and fascinating as the legend himself.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Fosse

By Sam Wasson

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!More than a quarter-century after his death, Bob Fosse's fingerprints on popular culture remain indelible. The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment, forever marking Broadway and Hollywood with his iconic style - hat tilted, fingers splayed - that would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse's innumerable achievements, no accomplishment ever seemed to satisfy him, and offstage his life was shadowed in turmoil and anxiety.

Drawing on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources - friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of whom have never spoken publicly about Fosse before - Wasson illuminates not only Fosse's prodigious professional life, but also his close and conflicted relationships with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Ann Reinking to Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman. Wasson also uncovers the deep wounds that propelled Fosse's insatiable appetites - for spotlights, women, and life itself.

Purchase on Amazon here.


The Man Who Designed the Future

By B. Alexandra Szerlip

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!Before there was Steve Jobs, there was Norman Bel Geddes. A ninth-grade dropout who found himself at the center of the worlds of industry, advertising, theater, and even gaming, Bel Geddes designed everything from the first all-weather stadium, to Manhattan's most exclusive nightclub, to Futurama, the prescient 1939 exhibit that envisioned how America would look in the not-too-distant 60s.

In The Man Who Designed the Future, B. Alexandra Szerlip reveals precisely how central Bel Geddes was to the history of American innovation. He presided over a moment in which theater became immersive, function merged with form, and people became consumers. A polymath with humble Midwestern origins, Bel Geddes' visionary career would launch him into social circles with the Algonquin roundtable members, stars of stage and screen, and titans of industry.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Ian McKellen: A Biography

By Garry O'Connor

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!He has starred in over four hundred plays and films and he is that rare character: a celebrity whose distinguished political and social service has transcended his international fame to reach beyond the stage and screen. The breadth of his careera??professional, personal and politicala??has been truly staggering: Macbeth (opposite Judi Dench), Iago, King Lear, Chekhov's Sorin in The Seagull and Becket's tramp Estragon (opposite Patrick Stewart) in Waiting for Godot. Add to all this his tireless political activism in the cause of gay equality and you have a veritable phenomenon. Garry O'Connor's Ian McKellen: A Biography probes the heart of the actor, recreating his greatest stage roles and exploring his personal life. Ian McKellen will show readers what makes a great actor tick. His life story has been a constantly developing drama and this biography is the next chapter.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Sam Wanamaker: A Global Performer

By Diana Devlin

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!Sam Wanamaker (1909 - 1993) is best known as the man who spent the last twenty-five years of his life campaigning to reconstruct Shakespeare's Globe near its original site in London. Born in the USA, he trained as an actor in Chicago and began his career during the golden age of radio drama, before moving on to Broadway. A vocal left wing activist, Wanamaker moved to the UK during the turbulent era of the anti-Communist witch hunts. Having crossed the Atlantic, he carved a successful international career as actor, producer and director. He directed the opening production at the Sydney Opera House.

The fascinating life of Sam Wanamaker is explored for the first time in this biography by Diana Devlin, who worked closely with Wanamaker during the last twenty years of his life.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Streisand: A Biography

By Anne Edwards

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!Streisand: A Biography is much more than the story of the world's greatest living performer, how she got there, and why she remains at the top after three decades, it is also, in Anne Edward's sure hands, a compelling chronicle of a woman's fight to validate her appearance, her talent, and her right to love and be loved. Time and time again Streisand has demonstrated the ability to reinvent herself to keep pace with the continuing changes in musical taste. This updated edition of Edwards's pioneering biography chronicles her public life as a political activist as well as her private life as Mrs. James Brolin.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Balancing Act: The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!By Martin Gottfried

A prize-winning drama critic reveals the beloved actress's private struggles as well as her achievements. Readers learn about the troubled childhood that drove Lansbury to succeed, her early years in Hollywood, the devastating secret behind her first marriage, and the bitter disappointment behind her three Oscar losses. The star of "Murder She Wrote" looks back on a life on the silver screen and her eventual return to Broadway and television.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Get Happy: The Life Of Judy Garland

By Gerald Clarke

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!She lived at full throttle on stage, screen, and in real life, with highs that made history and lows that finally brought down the curtain at age forty-seven. Judy Garland died over thirty years ago, but no biography has so completely captured her spirit -- and demons -- until now.

From her tumultuous early years as a child performer to her tragic last days, Gerald Clarke reveals the authentic Judy in a biography rich in new detail and unprecedented revelations. Based on hundreds of interviews and drawing on her own unfinished -- and unpublished -- autobiography, Get Happy presents the real Judy Garland in all her flawed glory.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Tennessee Williams in Provincetown

By David Kaplan

Broadway Books: 10 Biographies to Read While Staying Inside!Tennessee Williams in Provincetown is the story of Tennessee Williams' four summer seasons in Provincetown, Massachusetts: 1940, '41, '44 and '47. In Provincetown Williams fell in love unguardedly for perhaps the only time in his life. He had his heart broken there, perhaps irreparably. The man he thought might replace his first lover tried to kill him there, or at least Williams thought so. The list of plays Williams worked on in Provincetown include The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Summer and Smoke, the beginnings of The Night of the Iguana and Suddenly Last Summer, and an abandoned autobiographical play set in Provincetown, The Parade.

Tennessee Williams in Provincetown collects original interviews, journals, letters, photographs, accounts from previous biographies, newspapers from the period, and Williams' own writing to establish how the time Williams spent in Provincetown shaped him for the rest of his life.

Purchase on Amazon here.



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