Suggested Reading List
Broadway Musicals: Show by Show: Sixth Edition
Author: Green, Stanley and Green, Kay
Description: The most comprehensive and widely used Broadway reference book has been expanded and updated to include nearly 400 of the most important and memorable productions of the American musical theatre, including revivals. Chronologically arranged beginning with The Black Crook in 1866, the sixth edition adds entries on numerous musicals from recent years, including The Lion King , Hairspray , The Producers , Wicked , Mamma Mia! , Thoroughly Modern Millie , Avenue Q , and others. Features a wealth of statistics, including: music and lyrics information; names of producers, directors and choreographers; cast lists; New York run dates; songs; and more. Also includes inside information, info on critical reception, and pithy commentary about each show.
Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre
Author: Mordden, Ethan
Description: Ethan Mordden has been hailed as "a sharp-eared listener and a discerning critic," by Opera News, which compares his books to "dinner with a knowledgeable, garrulous companion." The "preeminent historian of the American musical" (New York Times), he "brings boundless energy and enthusiasm buttressed by an arsenal of smart anecdotes" (Wall Street Journal). Now Mordden offers an entirely fresh and infectiously delightful history of American musical theatre.
Anything Goes stages a grand revue of the musical from the 1920s through the 1970s, narrated in Mordden's famously witty, scholarly, and conversational style. He peers with us over Stephen Sondheim's shoulder as he composes at the piano. He places us in a bare rehearsal room as the cast of Oklahoma! changes history by psychoanalyzing the plot in the greatest of the musical's many Dream Ballets. And he gives us tickets for orchestra seats on opening night-raising the curtain on the pleasures of Victor Herbert's The Red Mill and the thrill of Porgy and Bess. Mordden examines the music, of course, but also more neglected elements. Dance was once considered as crucial as song; he follows it from the nineteenth century's zany hoofing to tap "combinations" of the 1920s, from the injection of ballet and modern dance in the 1930s and '40s to the innovations of Bob Fosse. He also explores the changing structure of musical comedy and operetta, and the evolution of the role of the star. Fred Stone, the avuncular Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, seldom varied his acting from part to part; but the versatile Ethel Merman turned the headlining role inside out in Gypsy, playing a character who was selfish, fierce, and destructive.
From "ballad opera" to burlesque, from Fiddler on the Roof to Rent, the history and lore of the musical unfolds here in a performance worthy of a standing ovation.
Backstage Pass to Broadway: True Tales from a Theatre Press Agent
Author: Schulman, Susan
Description: Do you love Broadway plays and musicals? Do you have a shelf full of original cast albums? If so, you will love Broadway press agent Susan L. Schulman’s fun, dishy new book BACKSTAGE PASS TO BROADWAY. Susan has survived some of the most celebrated train wrecks and backstage dramas on Broadway. She tells us what it is like to work with the most talented and creative people in the theatre – sometimes behaving badly and often with incredible grace – as they struggle to create theatrical magic.
Susan has worked with some of Broadway’s greatest stars, producers, writers and directors including Zero Mostel, George C. Scott, Lauren Bacall, Mary Martin, Bob Fosse, Yul Brynner, David Merrick, Robert Preston, Raul Julia, Robert Redford, Vanessa Redgrave, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Winkler, Glenn Close and many more. The Broadway shows she has represented include DANCIN’, STATE FAIR, SCAPINO, SLY FOX, DREAM, DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, and THE MERCHANT.
In this entertaining book, Susan takes us behind the show curtain, sharing true tales of her life in the theatre. BACKSTAGE PASS TO BROADWAY is illustrated in color with previously unpublished photographs from the author’s private collection. And if you appreciate Broadway window cards and posters, you will recognize the distinctive style of Broadway’s legendary graphic designer, FRAVER, who created the cover.
Laurel and Hardy: A Bio-Bibliography
Author: Gehring, Wes D.
Description: This book presents a combined biographical, critical, and bibliographical estimate of Laurel & Hardy's significance in film comedy, the arts in general, and as popular culture icons. Of the two, Laurel decidedly evolves as the central player in this duo biography. The reasons for this are several, but mainly stem from Laurel's role as team spokesman; his late life accessibility; media coverage given to his private life; and the fact that he outlived Hardy by eight years--from 1957 to 1965--a period in which the ever burgeoning public fascination with the team reached new proportions. Hardy's artistic input, however, is currently being given a revisionist upgrading, which Gehring addresses.
The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 is a biography of Laurel & Hardy, exploring the public and private sides of their lives. Chapter 2 is a critique of four broad influences of Laurel & Hardy--as special icons of comic frustrations; as developers of a change in film comedy pacing (which also eased their transition from silent to sound film); as movie pioneers in the innovative early use of comic sound; and, most importantly, as key participants in the evolution of the comic antihero into American mainstream humor. Chapter 3 is composed of two very early reprinted Laurel & Hardy articles and a special Encore collection. Chapter 4 is a very ambitious Laurel & Hardy bibliographical essay, assessing key reference materials and locating research collections open to the student and/or scholar. This involves many obscure, often early and/or untranslated articles drawn from research in Ulverston England--Laurel's birthplace--London and Paris. Chapter 5 is a bibliographical checklist of all sources recommended in Chapter 4. This volume should be of special interest to all Laurel & Hardy aficionados, and students/scholars of comedy.
American Legends: The Marx Brothers
Author: Charles River Editors
Description: A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
When the American Film Institute ranked its top 50 screen legends of the 20th century, only one team of performers earned a collective spot: the Marx Brothers. Famous throughout the country for nearly half a century, several of the Marx Brothers performed together for over 40 years, and their nicknames – Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo and Zeppo – are all well known today, especially Groucho. From the vaudeville stage to movie theaters, millions saw their performances, and the brothers became not only one of the most popular acts but the kind that paved the way for subsequent groups like The Three Stooges.
American Legends: The Marx Brothers examines the lives and careers of one of America’s most iconic performance teams. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Marx Brothers like never before, in no time at all.
Michener's South Pacific
Author: May, Stephen J.
Description: When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, James A. Michener was an obscure textbook editor working in New York. Within three years, he was a naval officer stationed in the South Pacific. By the end of the decade, he was an accomplished author, well on the way to worldwide fame.
Michener’s first novel, Tales of the South Pacific, won the Pulitzer Prize. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein used it as the basis for the Broadway musical South Pacific, which also won the Pulitzer. How this all came to be is the subject of Stephen May’s Michener’s South Pacific.
An award-winning biographer of Michener, May was a featured interviewee on the fiftieth-anniversary DVD release of the film version of the musical. During taping, he realized there was much he didn’t know about how Michener’s experiences in the South Pacific shaped the man and led to his early work.
May delves deeply into this formative and turbulent period in Michener’s life and career, using letters, journal entries, and naval records to examine how a reserved, middle-aged lieutenant known as "Prof" to his fellow officers became one of the most successful writers of the twentieth century.