Books for Theater Lovers
by Beth Goehring
For theater lovers, April is the coolest month! The stalls are abuzz with life-and-death questions such as “Who won the Pulitzer?” (In case you didn’t see the announcement this week…no surprise…”Hamilton” took the prize.) “He/She must—or I’ll die!—win this year!” (Watch for the Drama Desk Award nominations on April 28 and the Tony Award nominations on April 29.) With apologies to Meredith Willson, we’re all “cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.” Turn your eyes from the stage to the page. There’s plenty to cheep, talk, and pick about in these exciting new books.
If you haven’t seen “Hamilton” yet—and I expect to be seeing it, oh maybe around Hamilton’s 300th birthday—get a sense of all the excitement in the companion volume, Hamilton: The Revolution. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter give you more, really, than you get in the audience of this ground-breaking musical: Miranda’s footnotes for the libretto alone are worth the price of the book. Get the book.
How do musicals happen? Jack Viertel, who’s done more work on a varied group of new and classic shows than just about anyone in the professional theatre, tells you in The Secret Life of the American Musical, a fascinating dissection of the mysterious, nail-biting process of crafting a hit and a deep look at iconic shows such as “My Fair Lady,” “Gypsy,” and “The Book of Mormon.” Get the book.
Finally, it’s eye-candy time! SpotCo is a big player in entertainment advertising, responsible for a lot of the first impressions we get of what’s On Broadway. Its founder, Drew Hodges, with the help of the stylish designers and editors at Rizzoli, has put twenty years of artwork and behind-the-scenes stories of the producers’ strategies and the stars’ egos into these pages. You’ll never look at a Broadway poster again in the same way. Get the book.
Beth Goehring believes, with apologies to Lorelei Lee, that rather than diamonds books are a girl’s best friend…and a boy’s, a man’s and a woman’s. For more than twenty-five years, through Book-of-the-Month Club and its related clubs, she’s sold popular fiction, mysteries, romances, cookbooks, children’s books, play scripts, behind-the-scenes tales of the movies and theatre, and lifestyle books. She lives with her husband and corgi in Manhattan.