Remember when you were in high school and you were forced to read Jane Eyre or Moby Dick over the summer? Booooring.
Well, you’re not in school anymore (or most of you aren’t – I do get a few emails from theater-pros-to-be from time to time). But just because you’re not prepping for the SATs doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few things from a summer reading list!
And that’s why we made one for you!
The cool thing about this list, is unlike the titles assigned to you by fascist English teachers that sometimes make you never want to pick up a book ever again, you know this list is going to be all about a subject you enjoy: the theater.
Since the theme of this blog and the Godspell blog is to help all of us understand more of what it takes to get a show up on its feet, I only chose books that featured a behind-the-scenes perspective on the mounting of big shows.
Enjoy! Book reports due in September! (ok, not really, but how many of you got heart palpitations when I said that?)
THE PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE SUMMER READING LIST
1. Letters from An Actor by William Redfield
William Redfield’s recollections of appearing in the 1964 production of Hamlet starring Richard Burton and directed by Sir John Gielgud.
2. Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff
“Each year, hundreds of stagestruck kids arrive in New York determined to crash the theatre, firmly convinced they’re destined to be famous Broadway stars or playwrights. One in a thousand turns out to be Noel Coward. This book is about life among the other 999. By one of them.” -Helene Hanff
3. The Whorehouse Papers by Larry L. King
An account by a journeyman dramatist of the production–from phone call to first night–of his first play The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the attendant wranglings, clashes, and confusions.
4. The Seesaw Log by William Gibson
A day-by-day candid account of the creativity, conflict, and compromise involved in the making of a smash-hit Broadway show (Seesaw), by the playwright himself.
5. We Bombed in New London by Brian Gari
A day-by-day candid account of the creativity, conflict, and compromise involved in the making of a legendary flop Broadway show (Late Nite Comic) written by the composer-lyricist.
6. Everything Was Possible: The Birth of The Musical Follies by Ted Chapin
Ted Chapin is now Chairman of the American Theatre Wing. But when he was 22 years old, he was just a lowly Production Assistant, running around after Hal Prince, Stephen Sondheim, and Michael Bennett as they created one of the most legendary musicals of all time. This was his journal.
7. A Year With The Producers: One Actor’s Exhausting (But Worth It) Journey From Cats to Mel Brooks’ Mega-Hit by Jeffry Denman
Jeffry Denman’s journey with The Producers from audition to opening night.
8. The Show Business Nobody Knows by Earl Wilson
Earl Wilson chronicled Broadway’s Golden Age in The New York Post from 1942 to 1983. This book tells some of his sordid tales.
9. Showstopper by Abigail Pogrebin
A recent release, this mini-book is now-author Abigail Pogrebin’s story of getting cast in Merrily We Roll Along at the age of 16.
10. Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical by Barbara Isenberg
Barbara Isenberg was a fly on the wall during the out-of-town tryout and Broadway birth of the musical Big. From a review by Library Journal: “This book is not for the weak-hearted or those with illusions about Broadway as the home of art; making this musical was more like making war.”
Do you have a suggestion? Comment below!
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– 93 Days to Godspell! Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.
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