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Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books 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 theatre-themed history books to fill the void!

And be sure to check out part one here!


It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great White Way

by Myrna Katz Frommer

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!In this deliciously revealing oral history of Broadway from World War II through the early 1980s, more than one hundred theater veterans-including Carol Channing, Hal Prince, Donna McKechnie, Hal Holbrook, Andrea McArdle, and Al Hirschfeld-deliver the behind-the-scenes story of the hits, the stars, the feuds, and the fiascoes. Along the way there are evocations of the great comedians and dramatic actors who had that indefinable magic that made them stand out above the rest. With verve, love, and passion, this book gives us the story of more than half a century of great theater-from the inside out.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Sondheim & Co

by Craig Zadan

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!"Sondheim & Co" is the complete, behind-the-scenes story of the making of Stephen Sondheim's musicals. Written with the full co-operation of Sondheim himself, it examines each of Sondheim's masterpieces - including "West Side Story", "Gypsy", "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", "Company", "Follies", "A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd", "Sunday in the Park with George" and "Into the Woods" - as well as the other Sondheim productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in repertory, as revivals, as opera, on film, and on television. this account is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with Sondheim and his associates.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Anecdotes

by Ken Bloom

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!Did you know that Frank Sinatra was nearly considered for the original production of Fiddler on the Roof? Or that Jerome Robbins never choreographed the famous "Dance at the Gym" in West Side Story? Or that Lin-Manuel Miranda called out an audience member on Twitter for texting during a performance of Hamilton (the perpetrator was Madonna)? In Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Anecdotes, Broadway aficionado-in-chief Ken Bloom takes us on a spirited spin through some of the most intriguing factoids in show business, offering up an unconventional history of the theatre in all its idiosyncratic glory.

Purchase on Amazon here.


The Movie Musical!

by Jeanine Basinger

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!From Fred Astaire, whom she adores, to La La Land, which she deplores, Basinger examines a dazzling array of stars, strategies, talents, and innovations in the history of musical cinema. Whether analyzing a classic Gene Kelly routine, relishing a Nelson-Jeanette operetta, or touting a dynamic hip hop number (in the underrated Idlewild), she is a canny and charismatic guide to the many ways that song and dance have been seen--and heard--on film.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Off Sites: Contemporary Performance Beyond Site-Specific

by Bertie Ferdman

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!Using the term off-site, Ferdman illustrates five distinct ways artists have challenged the disciplinary framework of site-specific theatre: blurring the traditional boundaries between the fictional and the real; changing how the audience and actor interact with each other and whether they are physically together or apart; fabricating sites from physically bound, conceptually constructed, or virtual spaces; staging live situations in real/nonreal and often mediated encounters; and challenging our preconceived notions of time and space.

Purchase on Amazon here.


American Theatre Wing, an Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles

by Patrick Pacheco

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!In 1943, a wounded soldier aided by a cane limped into the Stage Door Canteen, the American Theatre Wing's fabled New York club created to entertain the allied forces. Two hours later, he was said to have left with a spring in his stepa??and without the cane. This "miracle" is just one of many recounted in the lavish book The American Theatre Wing, an Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles.

The other miracles are more commonplace, if no less remarkable, told by the impassioned artists and theater advocates who created and sustained this preeminent theatrical organization, including Angela Lansbury, Rosie O'Donnell, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Harold Prince, Kenny Leon, Neil Patrick Harris, David Henry Hwang, Harvey Fierstein, and James Corden. These oral histories trace the American Theatre Wing's dedication to supporting and fostering American theater and the burgeoning and veteran artists in their storiesa??from Broadway, Off Broadway, and regional theater.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway

by Michael Riedel

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!Razzle Dazzle is a narrative account of the people and the money and the power that turned New York's gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way.

Michael Riedel tells the stories of The Shubert Organization and the shows that re-built a city in grand style-including Cats, A Chorus Line, and Mamma Mia!-revealing the backstage drama that often rivaled what transpired onstage, exposing bitter rivalries, unlikely alliances, and inside gossip.

Purchase on Amazon here.


The Fabulous Lunts

by Jared Brown

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!The careers of Lunt and Fontanne span 60 years of theater from vaudeville, through the Depression and The Theatre Guild, and beyond, through Peter Brook's dazzling production of The Visit in the late 1950s. The Lunts were the premier husband-wife acting team on the English-speaking stage from their marriage in 1922 through their retirement in 1972. This well-researched and scholarly study makes extensive use of the Lunts' papers and presents a thorough picture of their personalities, development, and impact. Brown is especially good on the uniqueness of their style. The story extends well beyond the central characters to engage the reader in the history of theater ideas and practices during this period.

Purchase on Amazon here.


David Merrick: The Abominable Showman

by Howard Kissel

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!In this first-ever biography, Howard Kissel from his decade-long investigation reveals the man, the mask, and the myth of David Merrick. The charismatic and reclusive mogul emerges as a Broadway version of Howard Hughes, with his own panoply of eccentricities, genius and neuroses. Merrick's much publicized and oftentimes staged battles and feuds are re-ignited here full force with such major personalities as Barbra Streisand, Jackie Gleason, Ethel Merman, Lena Horne, Woody Allen, Peter Ustinov, Andy Griffith, Anthony Newley, Peter Brook, and Carol Channing. Over a hundred interviews with the major players in Merrick's drama - from his pre-Merrick St. Louis childhood as David Margoulies to his latest divorce - has yielded the first serious interrogation of a life that until now has been the sole creation of Merrick's own invention and press wizardry.

Purchase on Amazon here.


Broadway Babies: The People Who Made the American Musical

by Ethan Mordden

Broadway Books: 10 MORE Theatre-Themed History Books to Read While Staying Inside!Vividly recreating the unique pleasure of experiencing a song-and-dance show, Broadway Babies spotlights the men and women who made a difference in the development of American musical comedy. Mordden's account features such show people as Florenz Ziegfeld, Harold Prince, Bert Lahr, Gwen Verdon, Angela Lansbury, Victor Herbert, Liza Minnelli, and Stephen Sondheim, and such musicals as Sally, Oh Kay!, Anything Goes, Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Follies, Chicago, and countless others. While theatrical historians traditionally have emphasized the role of the authors of musicals, Mordden also examines the personal styles of the directors, choreographers, and producers, in order to demonstrate not only what the musical became but what it was. The volume includes an extensive discography-the first of its kind-which offers a virtually self-contained history of recorded show music.

Purchase on Amazon here.


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