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Student Blog: Great Additions to Your Theatre Library

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New book recommendations for theatre lovers and aspiring artists based on what I read this past summer.

Great Additions to Your Theatre Library

This past summer, I enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather with some theatre books. Some were plays, some were memoirs of actors and some were theory or history books. I wanted to share some of my favorites from the past couple of months as we move into the back-to-school spirit.

Student Blog: Great Additions to Your Theatre Library

1. Andrew Rannells' Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood

Andrew Rannells has been one of my favorite Broadway actors for as long as I can remember. It was his Tony Award performance of I Believe from The Book of Mormon that truly blew me away. But what was his life before Broadway like? Did he go to college for musical theatre? When was his first Broadway audition? There is so much that we as audience members and rising theatre artists don't see about how much hard work and persistence it takes to pursue theatre as a career. In his memoir, Rannells doesn't sugarcoat the reality of a struggling actor, but his journey to Broadway is extremely admirable and I highly recommend it to any artists that are looking for inspiration -- even when all hope seems lost.

Student Blog: Great Additions to Your Theatre Library 2. Jack Viertel's The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built

This was one of the required texts from my American Musical Theatre history class that I took this past spring at UC San Diego. Not only was the text super helpful in understanding the general evolution of the American Musical, but it introduced me to a lot of musicals I had not known about. It also provided a more in-depth analysis of beloved classics such as Oklahoma! and Sunday in the Park with George. I think this is an essential book for anyone looking to make a career in musical theatre. Viertel goes into detail about the structure and functions of key elements of a musical such as an "11 o'clock number" and an overture. This book will prove useful for any actor in a rehearsal room and onstage.

3. Clare Barron's Dance Nation:Student Blog: Great Additions to Your Theatre Library

Dance Nation was a play that I originally read a couple of years ago when I was first looking for college audition monologues. This past summer, I revisited the text as I'm planning to choreograph and assistant direct this show in the Winter of 2022. I was reminded of how relatable and bold the script was. It was even better reading it a second time! The show has so many great monologues for young actors that have high stakes. So, for anyone looking for new audition material make sure to check this show out! Overall, I think it's a great show to read and I know a lot of theatre departments are starting to include it in their season.

These were my top three reads of the summer and I hope you find them enjoyable as well. Also, for anyone in New York City, make sure to check out The Drama Book Shop on W 39th Street for more excellent theatre reads. Although I haven't gotten to go myself, that's my first stop as soon as I go back to the Big Apple!


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