6 Theatre Books for Surviving the Summer Heat | Playbill

Book News 6 Theatre Books for Surviving the Summer Heat

From the letters of Oscar Hammerstein II to a Grease tell-all, these upcoming releases are filled with sizzling stories from the Broadway stage.

Summer has arrived, and whether you prefer to read in the sunshine or in the shade, this season’s theatre books promise hot insights and stories from inside the American theatre. 

Check out a scholarly look at jukebox musicals, director Sheldon Epps’ journey as a Black man in the industry, collections of Hammerstein letters and of Grease memories, Beowulf Boritt's behind-the-scenes look at set design, and an update of Ted Chapin's personal account from his work on the original production of Follies

Missed the last round-up? Be sure to check out the 13 books available since spring for more theatre reading.

Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies
by Ted Chapin
Ted Chapin, trustee of the American Theatre Wing and co-founder of the Encores! Series at New York City Center, takes readers with him through the journey of bringing the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies to the Broadway stage. A college student at the time, Chapin kept a detailed journal he kept of his experiences as the sole production assistant. Readers will get insights into the show from the rehearsal rooms to the Boston tryout to Broadway opening night. Originally published in 2003, the book’s new afterword updates the Tony-winning show’s legacy in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Available beginning August 15.

Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories From the Broadway Phenomenon That Started It All
by Tom Moore, Adrienne Barbeau, and Ken Waissman
Original Broadway director of Grease Tom Moore, Broadway’s original Tony-nominated Rizzo Adrienne Barbeau, and original Broadway producer Ken Waissman take fans of the long-running Broadway musical into its history with this collection of personal stories and memories. Over 100 actors, musicians, crew members, and creative team members shared their experiences working on Grease for the book. Available beginning June 7.

My Own Directions: A Black Man’s Journey in the American Theatre
by Sheldon Epps
Director Sheldon Epps shares his journey in the American theatre as a Black man in this memoir. Having served as artistic director of California’s Pasadena Playhouse for two decades, Epps gives insights into his experiences and his work diversifying theatre industry and standing for equity and access. Available beginning September 2.

The Jukebox Musical: An Interpretive History
by Dr. Kevin Byrne and Emily Fuchs
This scholarly tome provides readers with a guide through the history of jukebox musicals. Dr. Byrne, an academic, and Fuchs, a dramaturg, explain the genre through three main categories (biographical, genre-specific, and artist catalog) to help explain to readers how some jukebox musicals find success and how productions tackle the challenges presented by them. Available beginning June 30.

The Letters of Oscar Hammerstein II
by Mark Eden Horowitz
Senior Music Specialist at the Library of Congress Mark Eden Horowitz takes readers behind one of Broadway’s most famous lyricists and playwrights. The book features a collection of hundreds of previously unpublished letters by Hammerstein, including correspondence with Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Kern, and Josh Logan. Through them, readers will have a chance to learn more about the man behind Broadway classics such as Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The King and I. Available beginning June 24.

Transforming Space Over Time: Set Design and Visual Storytelling with Broadway’s Legendary Directors
by Beowulf Boritt
Nominated for two 2022 Tony Awards, set designer Beowulf Boritt takes readers behind five Broadway productions and one Off-Broadway production to demystify the process of working on a show as a set designer. Sharing details of the work and conversations with well-known theatre professionals such as James Lapine, Kenny Leon, Hal Prince, Susan Stroman, Jerry Zaks, and Stephen Sondheim, Boritt presents insights and practice for developing strong collaborations. Available beginning August 15.

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