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Which Books Should Every Lover of Theater Read?

By • Apr 20th, 2008 • Category: ShowBizRadio

Beach and pool season is coming up, and there’s nothing like a good book to take along and enjoy. Do you know of any theater-related books (not scripts!) that are fun reads? Or maybe a theater book that isn’t fun but would be beneficial to read? Tell us in the comments, or send us an email. Maybe we’ll put together some kind of summer contest and have some of the suggestions as prizes.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

3 Responses »

  1. “Act I” by Moss Hart. The book (a fairly thick one) describes his early years getting established on the Broadway of the 1930s. My favorite Hart quote (not from the book, I just like it) is his curtain speech before the opening of “Camelot,” which he directed: “Camelot is lovely. Camelot is going to be glorious. Camelot is long. You’re going to be a lot older when you get out of here tonight.”

  2. “Let’s Put on a Musical!: How to Choose the Right Show for Your School, Community, or Professional Theater” by Peter Filichia

    This book is an absolute must for anyone who’s trying decide what show their theater should do, from the high school drama teacher to the pro, but it’s also fun to read about shows you may have never heard about or won’t necessarily see any time soon. It’s filled with various shows grouped into different categories, for example shows that feature a lot of dance, showcase a star performer or would be cheap to produce. Each show features a short synopsis, a list of the show’s assets and liabilities, what type of characters are needed, as well as dance, set, costume and instrumental requirement. They also add in suggestions to directors/producers with insider tips for each show. It’s also a valuable tool for the actor since I’ve used it so many times as a starting point to help me decide whether or not to audtion for a paricular musical and what part to aim for when I audition. There are two editions with the last one coming out last year. Some of the shows from the first edition have been edited out of the second, but the second edition includes a large amount of newer shows such as “Ragtime” or “Urinetown”. Highly recommended!

  3. Stage Management Handbook by Daniel Ionazzi

    Should be required reading for anyone in theater–onstage, backstage, front of house, anyone.

    Goes into all the terminology, theater facility setup, how to run rehearsals, to organize props, to schedule actors, how to make notes on scripts that actually help actors and tech folks out, etc. Very, very good read. I have bought this book several times for folks helping out on our shows.