Ken’s Recommended Reads & More
There just isn’t enough written about how to excel in the theater arts, whether you’re pursuing a career (or hobby) in producing, writing, acting or anything, for that matter. That’s one of the reasons I started writing this blog and writing books and teaching seminars of my own.
However, there are a few Easter egg-like books and products out there that I’ve found incredibly helpful to me as I’ve pursued my own career. Since so many of my readers have asked me what I’d recommend for further reading on the various subjects I discuss on the blog, I’ve listed them for you below.
How did I come up with this list? Here’s what I did. I imagined that I was teaching a graduate school course on Broadway and the theater in general, and had to come up with a curriculum. All of these reads would be required. Enjoy. And let me know what you think, or if you have any of your own.
- The Commercial Theater Institute Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals – There is only one organization dedicated to the training of new Producers. This is their book.
- Producing Theater: A Comprehensive and Legal Business Guide by Donald Farber – Donald Farber helped establish the legal framework of Broadway shows decades ago. His book is the original guide to how Broadway works, and it’s still dead on. It’s where I started and where you should too.
- I Wanna Be A Producer by John Breglio – Broadway Super Attorney, who repped some of the giants of the biz, from Michael Bennett to Stephen Sondheim, gives you his expert advice on how to navigate the shark-filled waters of Broadway.
- The Stage Producer’s Business and Legal Guide by Charles Grippo – Written by a lawyer for non-lawyers. A great addition to any Producer’s bookshelf.
- David Merrick – The Abominable Showman: The Unauthorized Biography by Howard Kissel – This book is a textbook of what to do . . . and what not to do . . . in your career as a Producer. It’s an awesome blend of ridiculous antics and brilliant producing.
- The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway by William Goldman – The author of The Princess Bride gives you a blow by blow account of the 1967-68 Broadway season.
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin – My Bible for both marketing and product (show) development. This book helped me define my style. A must.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini – This all about the science of selling. Brilliant. And scary. Wait until you read about how commercial airline disasters increase after highly publicized suicides.
- The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – Whenever I’m stuck with a script, I pick up my Writer’s Journey, which is never further than three feet from my computer. It’s a blueprint for writing rock solid drama.
- Beating Broadway: How to Create Stories for Musicals That Get Standing Ovations by Steve Cuden – Want your audiences on their feet? Beating Broadway will help you write a story that will get them there.
- Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger – Want to know the secret of writing? Come closer. Closer. Ready? It’s RE-WRITING!!! Although originally targeted at screenwriters, this book gives you a plan of attack to make sure your next draft has a better chance of being your last draft.
- Actors on Acting – I’ve never been a fan of one “method” of acting or anything. I believe you have to create your own methods. This book gives you plenty of expert methods so you can make your own.
- Audition by Michael Shurtleff – Being a great actor and being a great auditioner are two different things. The only problem is, if you’re not a great auditioner, you’ll never, ever get to show anyone how great of an actor you are. That’s why I started teaching my audition workshop. And that’s what this book is all about.
- Show Business: The Road to Broadway – A modern film version of Goldman’s The Season that chronicles the 2004 Tony Race when that little show called Avenue Q beat the big monster called Wicked.
- Final Draft – If you’re a writer and you’re not using Final Draft, then you are losing at least 15 minutes for every one hour that you write. Get it. Save time. Write more.
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne – Even if you don’t believe it, it’s still a great way to live your life . . . positive and grateful. And what if?
OTHER GREAT STUFF
- GoDaddy – A website is the #1 tool that all shows, but especially new and developing shows (even ones that haven’t been written!) MUST have. And it starts with a domain. And the best place to start for all your web needs is GoDaddy.