Suggested Reading List
The Street Where I Live
Author: Alan Jay Lerner
Description: This is a highly personal biography of three great shows: My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Gigi. Warm, witty, loving, often hilarious, and poignant in its affection for a glorious era in the American theater, it is the story of what Mr. Lerner calls "the sundown of wit, eccentricity, and glamour." The author himself, try as he will to keep himself out of his pages, emerges not merely as a great talent, but as a man of laughter and love. His principals, however, are Moss Hart and Fritz Loewe, with a stupendous supporting cast: Julia Andrews, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Cecil Beaton, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier, Leslie Caron, Vincente Minnelli, Arthur Freed ...and on an on. They are seen intimately in moments of triumph, disaster, doubt and panic, pettishness and hilarity. Sometimes they were amateurs at private living, but they were always professionals at the creation of theater. And the creation of theater is the matrix of this wonderful book. Here is how a show is conceived, financed, written (and rewritten and rewritten), produced, staged, saved, and finally given to the public.
The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers and Hammerstein
Author: Frederick Nolan, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein
Description: The greatest partnership in the history of the musical, captured in print, wonderfully illustrated. For this new edition, the book has been completely rewritten and substantially expanded to include material on Rodgers' early career with Lorenz Hart as well as his later work, and also features recollections from such theatrical titans as Sheldon Harnick, Martin Charnin, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents. Also, a completely new appendix reveals the details of the continuing worldwide phenomenon of Rodgers and Hammerstein's work up to and including the 2002 centennial year for Rodgers.
Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History
Author: Kati Marton
Description: Marton uncovers the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the ultimate power couples, showing how first ladies have used their privileged access to the president to influence staffing, promote causes, and engage directly in policy-making. Edith Wilson secretly ran the country after Woodrows debilitating stroke. Eleanor Roosevelt was FDRs moral compass. And Laura Bush, initially shy of any public role, has proven to be the emotional ballast for her husband. Through extensive research and interviews, Marton reveals the substantialyet often overlookedlegacy of presidential wives, providing insight into the evolution of womens roles in the twentieth century and vividly depicting the synergy of these unique political partnerships.
Gracie: A Love Story
Author: George Burns
Description: "SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE..." With those now familiar words, George Burns and Gracie Allen bid farewell to devoted audiences at the end of each of their broadcasts throughout the Golden Age of radio and television. Now, in this moving portrait, George Burns tells the story of his life with Gracie, the dizzy comedienne whose "illogical logic" charmed America. Burns recalls their first meeting, the vaudeville tours, family days in Hollywood, and their lasting friendship with Jack Benny and other entertainment greats. Here is one of America's most beloved comedians remembering the woman he loved best and the extraordinary life they shared together.
Abbott and Costello in Hollywood
Author: Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo
Description: The personal archivist of the Abbott and Costello estates and the founder of the Official Abbott and Costello Fan Club join forces to produce this definitive history of the timeless comedy team's fabulous film career. Drawing on studio archives, Bud and Lou's personal scrapbooks and more than 75 interviews, each of Abbott and Costello's 36 movies is described in remarkable detail, including cast and crew credits, synopsis, script excerpts, production notes, cut scenes, and final reviews. Also documented is the team's early career in burlesque and radio, as well as the years following their split. Includes over 150 rare, behind-the-scenes photos; an introduction by Jerry Lewis; foreword by Bud Abbott Jr. and Chris Costello, Lou's daughter; and the complete text of "Who's On First?"
Dean and Me
Author: Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan
Description: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis soared to popularity in post-World War II America, as their unlikely chemistry proved successful. The two met in New York City in 1945, where Lewis, a struggling comedian, and Martin, a handsome crooner, were looking to hit the big time. This candid memoir examines the tumultuous yet productive relationship that developed between the two as they spent 10 years performing live shows and making movies. As Lewis tells it, in the early years of the duo's success, they began hanging out with movie stars and other celebrities, and life was one continuous party, with loads of money and all the booze, babes, and good times that either could ask for. But despite attempts to manage their egos and to handle the other pressures that come from living a fast life, eventually the magic began to fade and the two finally called it quits in 1956. After parting ways, both achieved great solo success: Martin becoming a member of the famous Rat Pack and Lewis a successful writer, producer, and director. Although they never really worked together again, Lewis maintains that he never stopped loving Dean Martin, and indeed this book is an adoring tribute to the man.
The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs
Author: Michael Feinstein
Description: The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook Michael Feinstein was just twenty years old when he got the chance of a lifetime: a job with his hero, Ira Gershwin. During their six-year partnership, the two became close friends. Feinstein blossomed under Gershwins mentorship and Gershwin was reinvigorated by the younger mans zeal for his and his brother Georges legacy. Now, in The Gershwins and Me, the only book of its kind, Michael Feinstein shares unforgettable stories and reminiscences from the music that defined American popular song, along with rare Gershwin memorabilia hes collected through the years. From Strike Up the Band to Love Is Here to Stay, each of the twelve chapters highlights one of the Gershwins classic songs, exploring the brothers lives, illuminating what the music meant to them, and telling the stories of how their iconic tunes came to life. Throughout the star-studded narrative, Feinstein unfolds the moving chronicle of his own life with the Gershwins, describing his vision for their enduring presence today. No other writer could give us such an authoritative inside perspective on these titans of American cultureand no other writer could include such a soulful collection of music as the accompanying CD packed with Feinsteins original recordings of the twelve songs.