Broadway Bookshelf - Must Read Theater Books

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Broadway Biographies

The Tony Awards: A Celebration of Excellence in Theatre (4/16/2024)

Coffee table book by Eila Mell and The American Theatre Wing. Foreword by Audra McDonald. Commemorating over 75 years of Broadway greatness with never-before told stories, rare photos from the American Theatre Wing's archives, and more than 100 interviews with past and present Tony winners, including actors, producers, writers, and costume designers. 400+ color and black-and-white photographs. 320 pages.

The Tony Awards: A Celebration of Excellence in Theatre Cover
On Bette Midler: An Opinionated Guide (4/15/2024)

Traces the early development of Midler's performing ethos from New York's downtown experimental theater scene and examines her impact across media, with chapters on the soaring highs (and occasional cringe-worthy lows) of her stage work, movies, recordings, and television appearances, and considers her influence as an environmental activist and social media presence. Features performance analysis and deeply researched background information, all supporting informed - and divinely opinionated - ...

On Bette Midler: An Opinionated Guide Cover
Greasepaint Puritan: Boston to 42nd Street in the Queer Backstage Novels of Bradford Ropes (1/16/2024)

Details the life and work of Bradford Ropes, author of the bawdy 1932 novel "42nd Street," on which the classic film and its stage adaptation are based. Follows Ropes s successful career as both a performer and the author of the backstage novels "42nd Street," "Stage Mother," and "Go Into Your Dance." Ropes rebelled against the "Proper Bostonian" life, in a career that touched upon the Jazz Age, American vaudeville, and theater censorship. 330 pages.

Greasepaint Puritan: Boston to 42nd Street in the Queer Backstage Novels of Bradford Cover
My Name Is Barbra (11/7/2023)

Barbra Streisand's memoir detailing her life from growing up in Brooklyn to the early days of her career, including her breakout performance in the musical and film versions of Funny Girl, and the years after. Audiobook narrated by the author. 992 pages.

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Patrick Stewart - Making It So: A Memoir (10/3/2023)

Sir Patrick Stewart memoir. From his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim. Audio version read by the author. 480 pages.

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Plays for the Plague Year (9/26/2023)

On March 13, 2020, as theaters shut their doors and so many of us went into lockdown, Suzan-Lori Parks picked up her pen and set out to write a play every day. What emerged is a breathtaking chronicle of our collective experience throughout the troubling days and nights that followed. Plays for the Plague Year is at once a personal story of one family's daily lives, as well as a sweeping account of all we faced as a city, a nation, and a global community. Parks' groundbreaking new work is br...

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Sondheim: His Life, His Shows, His Legacy (9/19/2023)

"Offers a witty multidimensional look at the musical genius ..." Explores the bond between Sondheim and his audiences ... examines the challenging Sondheim works that continue to develop devoted new followings. "... a lavish, highly engrossing documentation of the dynamic force who reshaped twentieth-century American musical history."

Sondheim: His Life, His Shows, His Legacy Cover
Adrienne Kennedy: Collected Plays & Other Writings (9/12/2023)

Marc Robinson, editor. Collected edition of Adrienne Kennedy's wide-ranging writings, spanning six decades and including ten unpublished works: the early surrealistic one-acts A Lesson in Dead Language and A Rat's Mass; works like A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White and Film Festival: The Day Jean Seberg Died that reveal Kennedy's longstanding fascination with Hollywood and film culture; Ohio State Murders, one of several plays featuring her protagonist Suzanne Alexander and the first o...

Adrienne Kennedy: Collected Plays & Other Writings Cover
The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia (8/28/2023)

Paperback version of 2021 book, with some revisions. Detailed and comprehensive reference devoted to musical theater's most prolific and admired composer and lyricist. Entries cover Sondheim's numerous collaborators; key songs; and major works. Also profiles the actors who originated roles and sang Sondheim's songs for the first time, including Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Mandy Patinkin, and Bernadette Peters. Features a detailed biographical entry for Sondheim, a chronology of his career, a...

The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia Cover
August Wilson: A Life (8/15/2023)

Biography of August Wilson by Patti Hartigan, who interviewed Wilson many times before his death and traces his life from his childhood in Pittsburgh to Broadway. She also interviewed scores of friends, theater colleagues and family members, and conducted extensive research to tell the story of a writer who left an indelible imprint on American theater and opened the door for future playwrights of color. 592 pages.

August Wilson: A Life Cover
Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance (8/8/2023)

Follows the American dance legend from her premature birth into a single-parent home in Springfield, Massachusetts, to her first Broadway performance at age fifteen, through her days as a blazing icon in the world of Hollywood, and finally, to her inspiring comeback. From rare documents, letters, and production files; and drawing on the authors' intimate personal relationships with Powell.

Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance Cover
20 Seasons: Broadway Musicals of the 21st Century (8/3/2023)

Catalogues, categorizes, and analyzes the 269 musicals that opened on Broadway from the 2000-2001 season through the 2019-2020 season. 228 pages.

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Small Town Sins: A Novel (8/1/2023)

In Locksburg, Pennsylvania, a former coal and steel town whose best days seem long past, five thousand residents have toughed it out, and have reasons for both worry and hope as this neglected place teeters between decay and renewal. For some of them, their biggest troubles have just arrived. After years of just scraping by, three restless souls have their lives upended: Nathan, a volunteer fireman who uncovers a secret stash of money in a burning building and takes it; Callie, a nurse whose...

Small Town Sins: A Novel Cover
Rescuing CATS: The Musical That's Better Than You Think (7/30/2023)

No matter how you approach it, Cats is so much more than a silly dance revue based on some silly poems, so much more than a punchline. Why has Cats been such a huge, longstanding commercial success around the world? Why do people see it over and over? Cats is literally about life and death. Cats is about us.

Rescuing CATS: The Musical That's Better Than You Think Cover
Out For Blood: A Cultural History of Carrie the Musical (7/27/2023)

Featuring contributions from over eighty original cast members, creatives, crew and audience members, Out For Blood pieces together the surprising, hilarious and often-moving inside story of Carrie The Musical to discover how this 'horror of a Broadway musical' lived, died and was subsequently resurrected as a mainstream success story. In 1988, following the success of its production of Les Misérables and in the wake of the commercial success of mega-musicals such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera...

Out For Blood: A Cultural History of Carrie the Musical Cover
A Man of Much Importance: The Art and Life of Terrence McNally (7/15/2023)

Biography of playwright and musical bookwriter Terrence McNally. Looks at his life and work against the backdrop of a dynamic theatrical culture, tracing the ways in which an artist grows and responds to reality. Based on interviews with McNally and with many of the artists with which he worked. 408 pages.

A Man of Much Importance: The Art and Life of Terrence McNally Cover
Garland - That's Beyond Entertainment - Reflections on Judy Garland Volume 1 (7/10/2023)

Part of two-volume set. Detailed, illustrated study that covers Schulman's writings on Garland between 1993 and 2023 that concentrate on her recordings. Utilizes published articles, reviews, liner notes, interviews, program notes, talks, and prefaces. Includes all the facts but does not exclude amusing anecdotes and unsettling stories that shed light on this complicated artist. 294 pages. Released 7/10/23.

Garland - That's Beyond Entertainment - Reflections on Judy Garland Volume 1 Cover
Garland - That's Beyond Entertainment - Reflections on Judy Garland Volume 2 (7/7/2023)

art of two-volume set. Detailed, illustrated study that covers Schulman's writings on Garland between 1993 and 2023 that concentrate on her recordings. Utilizes published articles, reviews, liner notes, interviews, program notes, talks, and prefaces. Includes all the facts but does not exclude amusing anecdotes and unsettling stories that shed light on this complicated artist. 294 pages.

Garland - That's Beyond Entertainment - Reflections on Judy Garland Volume 2 Cover
Prima Facie: Special Edition (6/6/2023)

Play by Suzie Miller. Special edition features the definitive version of the award-winning script, together with colour photos and exclusive additional content. 144 pages.

Prima Facie: Special Edition Cover
The Music for Victory at Sea: Richard Rodgers, Robert Russell Bennett, and the Making of a TV Masterpiece (5/16/2023)

By George J. Ferencz. Explores the creation of NBC-TV's landmark 1952-53 WWII documentary series, with particular attention to its evocative Rodgers-Bennett score. Chronicles "Victory"'s gestation and production at NBC, its reception, the series' afterlife in syndication and home video, and the score's "Gold Record" sales success on RCA records; plus examining each episode in turn, focusing on how the Bennett-scored music pairs with screen action. Every transformation of the much-used Rodgers t...

The Music for Victory at Sea: Richard Rodgers, Robert Russell Bennett, and the Making Cover
Barbra Streisand: the Music, the Albums, the Singles (4/26/2023)

By Matt Howe. Foreword by Jay Landers. Covering the extensive recording career of Barbra Streisand - every album, soundtrack, and single Streisand has released. 304 pages.

Barbra Streisand: the Music, the Albums, the Singles Cover
Confessions of an Actress: Sunday Letters from Moscow (4/21/2023)

In the winter of 2002, Chechen terrorists entered the Dubrovka Theater in what became known as the Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis ... rebels would storm the stage and take the audience captive in an operation that lasted four days and claimed the lives of over 100 civilians. On that same night, at age 26, Broadway actress Meredith Patterson was less than one mile away at the MDM Theater, starring as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street with Boris Yeltsin in attendance. Second in series of books, followin...

Confessions of an Actress: Sunday Letters from Moscow Cover
True West: Sam Shepard's Life, Work, and Times (4/11/2023)

Delves deeply into Shepard's life as well as the ways in which his work illuminates it. Takes readers through the world of downtown theater in Lower Manhattan in the early sixties; the jazz scene at New York's Village Gate; fringe theater in London in the seventies; Bob Dylan's legendary Rolling Thunder tour; the making of classic films Broadway productions. Greenfield interviewed dozens of people who knew Shepard well, many of whom had never before spoken on the record about him. While explori...

True West: Sam Shepard's Life, Work, and Times Cover
The Great American Songbook: 201 Favorites You Ought to Know (& Love) (4/5/2023)

Surveys 201 of the most significant selections from the Great American Songbook, ranging from celebrated masterpieces to forgotten gems. Year by year, Suskin puts songwriters and their contributions in their context, and explains what makes each song such a distinctive treat - whether felicitous melody, colorful harmony, compositional originality, or merely the sheer, irreducible joy of listening to it. 200 black & white and 96 full-color illustrations. 296 pages.

The Great American Songbook: 201 Favorites You Ought to Know (& Love) Cover
A Fine Romance: Adapting Broadway to Hollywood in the Studio System Era (4/1/2023)

Beginning with the stage debut of Show Boat in 1927 and concluding with the release the Cabaret filmed nearly a half century later in 1972. Explores the symbiotic relationship between a dozen Broadway musicals and their Hollywood film adaptations. Engages with aesthetic and critical concerns while also considering the social issues around Broadway and Hollywood film through the lenses of race and ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual identity. 368 pages.

A Fine Romance: Adapting Broadway to Hollywood in the Studio System Era Cover
Judy Garland: Splendor and Downfall of a Legend by Bertrand Tessier (3/17/2023)

The critically acclaimed biography of Judy Garland that reads like a novel. 200 photos, many published for the first time, from private collections around the world.

Judy Garland: Splendor and Downfall of a Legend by Bertrand Tessier Cover
The Wanderers (2/23/2023)

Anna Ziegler play opening next month at Roundabout Theatre Company. 80 pages.

The Wanderers Cover
Master of the House: The Theatres of Cameron Mackintosh (2/23/2023)

Charts the histories of Cameron Mackintosh's eight refurbished and rebuilt 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, 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. 320 pages.

Master of the House: The Theatres of Cameron Mackintosh Cover
The Routledge Companion to Musical Theatre (Routledge Companions) (12/30/2022)

Comprehensive guide expands the study of musical theatre to include the ways we practice and experience musicals, their engagement with technology, and their navigation of international commercial marketplaces. The first collection to include global musical theatre in each chapter, reflecting the musical's status as the world's most popular theatrical form. Brings together practice and scholarship, featuring essays by leading and emerging scholars alongside luminaries such as Chinese musical th...

The Routledge Companion to Musical Theatre (Routledge Companions) Cover
Streisand: The Mirror of Difference (11/29/2022)

The author "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." 252 pages.

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One Public: New York's Public Theater in the Era of Oskar Eustis (11/17/2022)

Presents the broader organization, its creative methodology, and its enormous growth over the past 20 years. Tells the contemporary story, recorded over many interviews with iconic practitioners and performers ranging from Diane Paulus, Tony Kushner and Lynn Nottage to Kevin Kline, Chelsea Clinton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Case-study driven, One Public uses oral history accounts and authorial experience to illuminate The Public Theater, Eustis and their cultural influence on the city of New York ...

One Public: New York's Public Theater in the Era of Oskar Eustis Cover
Fat Ham (11/15/2022)

Play by James Ijames. Winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Premiere at Public Theater in May 2022. 112 pages.

Fat Ham Cover
Arthur Miller: American Witness (Jewish Lives) (11/2/2022)

An original interpretation of Miller's work and his personality ... Organized around the fault lines of Miller's life–Miller's family, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, Elia Kazan and the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Marilyn Monroe, Vietnam, and the rise and fall of Miller's role as a public intellectual. Demonstrates the synergy between Arthur Miller's psychology and his plays. Concentrating largely on Miller's most prolific decades of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, Lahr pr...

Arthur Miller: American Witness (Jewish Lives) Cover
The Vagrant Trilogy: Three Plays by Mona Mansour: The Hour of Feeling; The Vagrant; Urge for Going (10/20/2022)

Set of three plays by by Mona Mansour. Michael Malek Najjar and Hala Baki, editors. 176 pages.

The Vagrant Trilogy: Three Plays by Mona Mansour: The Hour of Feeling; The Vagrant; U Cover
Carl Moellenberg's Story: Broadway and Spirituality as a Path to Survival (10/1/2022)

The author's "journey of many transformations: from Midwestern boy most interested in music to a fast-paced Wall Street career; from investment banking to a 12 time Tony Award winner on Broadway; from overcoming several death-defying crises by finding healing, inspiration from a higher being, and deeper spirituality."

Carl Moellenberg's Story: Broadway and Spirituality as a Path to Survival Cover
Stories Dad Told Me: Manny Azenberg's Adventures in Life and the Theatre (9/1/2022)

Broadway producer sits down with his daughter to share his life's story. His childhood, service in the Army, teaching career at Duke University, and his long and illustrious career on Broadway ... a chronicle of one of the most legendary Broadway careers of our time, as well as a life well lived. 137 pages. Released September 2022.

Stories Dad Told Me: Manny Azenberg's Adventures in Life and the Theatre Cover
Girl from the North Country (2022 edition) (8/25/2022)

Musical that started at The Old Vic, London, in July 2017, in a production directed by Conor McPherson, and later transferred to the West End, Broadway, Australia, Ireland and toured the UK.

Girl from the North Country (2022 edition) Cover
Go Greased Lightning!: The Amazing Authenticity of Grease (8/17/2022)

Explores the world-famous musical's creation, evolution, musical roots, cultural context, its parallels to Hair, its film and TV versions, why it's been so wildly successful, how it's been changed over time, and lots more.

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Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers (8/9/2022)

The memoirs of Mary Rodgers—writer, composer, Broadway royalty, and "a woman who tried everything." Her story, with copious annotations, contradictions, and interruptions from coauthor Jesse Green.

Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers Cover
Transforming Space Over Time: Set Design and Visual Storytelling with Broadway’s Legendary Directors (8/1/2022)

Tells the stories of six diverse productions: five on Broadway and one Off-Broadway ... beginning with the moment he was offered each job, and taking readers through the conceptual development of the set, in collaboration with the director, the challenges of its physical creation, and the intense process of readying it for the stage. Extensive conversations with the directors of the productions ... such as James Lapine, Kenny Leon, Hal Prince, Susan Stroman, Jerry Zaks, and Stephen Sondheim.

Transforming Space Over Time: Set Design and Visual Storytelling with Broadway’s Lege Cover
Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories from the Broadway Phenomenon That Started It All (6/7/2022)

How the show that started in a converted trolly barn in Chicago in the Eden Theatre February 14, 1972, short of money, short of audience, short of critical raves ... became a musical classic. 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, including Barry Bostwick, John Travolta, Adrienne Barbeau, Treat Williams, Marilu Henner, Peter...

Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories from the Broadway Phenomenon That Started Cover
Paul Gemignani: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond (5/15/2022)

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 ...

Paul Gemignani: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond Cover
The Letters of Oscar Hammerstein II (5/1/2022)

Hundreds of previously unpublished letters that show off all facets of Hammerstein's many engagements and his personality: correspondence to and from major Broadway figures like Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Kern, and Josh Logan, as well as those with politicians and activists. 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. 1000 pages.

The Letters of Oscar Hammerstein II Cover
For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy (4/27/2022)

Play by Ryan Calais Cameron. Premiered at the New Diorama Theatre in 2021, now at the Royal Court in London. 80 pages. Kindle Edition previously released.

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy Cover
On Stage with Bette Davis: Inside the Famous Flop of Miss Moffat (4/21/2022)

Follows the story of the 1974 musical Miss Moffat (a musical adaptation of The Corn in Green), which closed during its pre-Broadway run. Dearing had a minor role in Miss Moffat and kept a journal of his observations and experiences throughout production. 75 pages.

On Stage with Bette Davis: Inside the Famous Flop of Miss Moffat Cover
Cora Witherspoon: A Life on Stage and Screen (4/21/2022)

Broadway and film actress Cora Witherspoon was in 35 Broadway productions from 1910 - 1946, including Daddy Long Legs, The Awful Truth, The Constant Wife, Camille, and The Front Page and many films. This biography details her upbringing and family background and discusses her struggle with substance abuse, which resulted in two highly publicized arrests and one conviction. 220 pages.

Cora Witherspoon: A Life on Stage and Screen Cover
Facing the Music: a Broadway memoir (3/22/2022)

From his "wildly entertaining and deeply poignant trek through the wilderness of his childhood and the edge-of-your-seat drama of a career on, in, under, and around Broadway for decades ... He reveals his struggle against the ravages of Parkinson's and triumphs repeatedly ... The extraordinary cast of characters in his life also includes John Kander, Fred Ebb, Angela Lansbury, Chita Rivera, Roger Rees, Marin Mazzie, Scott Ellis, Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Garth Drabinsky, and Barbara Cook, am...

Facing the Music: a Broadway memoir Cover
Sondheim in Our Time and His (2/8/2022)

Offers a wide-ranging historical investigation of the works and career of Stephen Sondheim. Each author uncovers those aspects of biography, collaborative process, and contemporary context that impacted the creation and reception of Sondheim's musicals. Several explore in detail how Sondheim's shows have been dramatically revised and adapted over time. Multiple chapters invite the reader to rethink Sondheim's works from a distinctly contemporary critical perspective and to consider how these mu...

Sondheim in Our Time and His Cover
Sportin' Life: John W. Bubbles, An American Classic (1/26/2022)

Biography of groundbreaking tap dancer John W. Bubbles, who played Sportin' Life in the original production of Porgy and Bess. His life, from 1902-1986, from vaudeville to Broadway to TV, then to acclaimed performances from his wheelchair. 328 pages. Kindle Edition released earlier.

Sportin' Life: John W. Bubbles, An American Classic Cover
The Phantom of the Opera Collection (1/11/2022)

Fully authorized graphic novel adaptation by Cavan Scott, illustrated by José María Beroy, of the Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe original libretto.

The Phantom of the Opera Collection Cover

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