18 Theatre Reads to Check Out in Fall 2020 | Playbill

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Book News 18 Theatre Reads to Check Out in Fall 2020 There’s plenty to curl up with this autumn, including in-depth looks at Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, and more.

As the leaves begin to change and people return to the comfort of their couches and blankets, there’s no better time to curl up with a good book. This season, there are biographies on Ann Miller and Cary Grant, essay collections by Rachel Bloom and Kristin Hanggi, and histories about 19th-century female performers, Broadway in the ‘90s, and more.

In addition, theatregoers missing live performances can get as close as possible while remaining socially distant with books about the making of Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, and American Utopia.

Check out the full list below. Looking for more ideas? Check out these 24 books Broadway celebrities are currently reading.

Ann Miller: Her Life and Career
By Peter Shelley
From a child actor in Hollywood to a major comeback on Broadway, Miller’s story is told with care. Known for her incredible dance skills in addition to her acting prowess, some of Miller’s most memorable films include Easter Parade, Kiss Me, Kate, and On The Town. On stage, she starred in Sugar Babies (earning a Tony nod) and Mame, among others. Available now from McFarland Publishing.

But He Doesn’t Know the Territory
By Meredith Willson
Now featuring a new foreword by noted singer and educator Michael Feinstein, Willson brings readers back in time with him to the 1950s to experience firsthand the exciting trials and tribulations of creating the Tony-winning classic The Music Man. Available now from University of Minnesota Press.

God, Sex, and Musical Theatre: Meditations for Unlocking the Powerful Self
By Kristin Hanggi
Tony-nominated director Hanggi (Rock of Ages, Bare: A Pop Opera) shares some of her personal writings that explore what it means to be a creative spirit in search of self-awareness. In addition, she encourages readers to explore their own path and journey to self-discovery when it comes to faith, love, art, and more. Available now from Birch Bench Press.

Working on a Song: The Lyrics of Hadestown
By Anaïs Mitchell
Tony-winning composer Anaïs Mitchell offers an inside look at the Hadestown score and shares behind-the-scenes stories. In addition to a complete set of lyrics with notes and first drafts, Working on a Song includes insights into the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the journey to making the lead characters believable, the ins and outs of opening a show on Broadway, Mitchell’s writing room and team, and more. Available now from Plume.

American Utopia
By David Byrne and Maira Kalman
Following its Broadway run in the fall of 2019, the Talking Heads frontman and illustrator Kalman came together to bring the show's message of hope, pathos, and humanism to book form. Using the song’s lyrics and drawings, American Utopia is an uplifting reminder that all is not lost in the world we live in. Available now from Bloomsbury Publishing.

Hamilton and the Law: Reading Today's Most Contentious Legal Issues Through the Hit Musical
By Lisa A. Tucker
A look into the legal community’s response to the Tony-winning musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this book features a cast of legal minds, including two former U.S. solicitors general, who contribute magazine-style articles to create a collection of think pieces that connect Broadway and problems facing the justice system, including domestic abuse, systemic racism, and the second amendment.. Available now from Cornell University Press.

Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise
By Scott Eyman
Drawing on the Oscar nominee’s personal writings, archival research, and interviews with family and friends, Eyman presents a portrait of Grant from his growing up in England to his time on broadway to becoming one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men. Available now from Simon & Schuster.

Jagged Little Hill: You Live, You Learn
By Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and the cast and crew of the musical
Go behind the scenes of Jagged Little Pill with photography, interviews with the cast, crew, Alanis Morissette, and Diablo Cody, and an introduction from Morissette on the LP's journey from a hit ‘90s album to Broadway musical. The book includes a full annotated libretto and a retrospective look at Morissette's artistic influences. Available now from Grand Central Publishing.

The 10-Minute Musical, an Anthology from the Sound Bites Festival
Theatre Now presents The 10-Minute Musical, an anthology compiled from 25 competitors in the annual Sound Bites Festival. Among those included are Book Lovers by Talaura Harms and Jonathan Bauerfeld; Pellets, Cherries, and Lies: The Pac Man Story by Erik Przytulski; and Run This Town by Cindy Sideris and Assaf Gleizner. In addition to music, lyrics, and production notes for each short musical, the book features a foreword by NY1 chief theatre critic Roma Torre. Available now from Theatre Now New York.

Starring Women: Celebrity, Patriarchy, and American Theater, 1790-1850 (Women, Gender, and Sexuality in American History)
By Sara E. Lampert
Exploring overlooked female performers from Europe and the United States, Lampert explores the lives and careers of a number of women whose work shocked and excited early U.S. audiences. Sparking debates about women's place in public life with their roles on stage, the performer’s wealth and prominence did nothing to break the patriarchal structures that governed their lives and careers. Available November 9 from University of Illinois Press.

Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway
By Michael Riedel
Highlighting the transformation of Broadway in the 1990s, Riedel looks at Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and other shows that changed the history of the American theatre. Sharing the drama behind every mega-hit or short run, readers will learn about the high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more that defined the decade. Available November 10 from Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster.

Walking with Ghosts
By Gabriel Byrne
Byrne shares his story of going from wanting to be a priest to becoming a star of stage and screen. In addition, the actor discusses overcoming addictions and his ambivalence with fame. Available November 10 from Grove Press.

Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat: The Amazing Story of Mary Coyle Chase
By Mimi Pockross
How did a housewife with three children living in a working-class Irish community in Denver, Colorado, became a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright? Using a historical account of the theatre industry, Pockross follows Chase’s creation of Harvey under FDR’s Federal Theatre Project in the 1940s, and the people involved like Brock Pemberton, Antoinette Perry, Frank Fay, and Jimmy Stewart. Available November 15 from Limelight Editions.

I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are
By Rachel Bloom
A collection of personal essays, poems and even amusement park maps on the subjects of insecurity, fame, and anxiety from the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator and star. In this exploration of what she thinks makes her different, Bloom comes to realize that a lot of people also feel this way, even people who she otherwise thought were "normal." Available November 17 from Grand Central Publishing.

This is Not My Memoir
By Andre Gregory and Todd London
Theatre director, writer, and actor Gregory shares memories from his life and career, including the making of My Dinner with André, the days of wartime Paris and golden-age Hollywood, and his visits to monasteries in India. Included are stories about celebrities like Jerzy Grotowski, Helene Weigel, Gregory Peck, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, and Wallace Shawn. Available November 17 from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Cast of Mentors: Short Sage Advice From 50 Broadway Superpowers
By Ken Davenport
A deep dive into the workings of Broadway, this collection of insights features excerpts of interviews from Davenport's own podcast The Producer's Perspective. Among the theatremakers featured in the book are Lynn Ahrens, Michael Arden, Stephen Byrd, Alan Cumming, Mandy Gonzalez, David Henry Hwang, Kenny Leon, Robert Lopez, Joe Mantello, Kathleen Marshall, Pam McKinnon, Terrence McNally, Leigh Silverman, and Ali Stroker. Available November 19 from Davenport Theatrical Enterprises.

Time to Act: An Intimate Photographic Portrait of Actors Backstage
By Simon Annand
British photographer Simon Annand captures the focus and tension of performers before they take the stage, including Cate Blanchett (who pens the foreword), Orlando Bloom, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Judi Dench. Available November 23 from Lannoo Publishers.

I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby: Dorothy Fields and Her Life in the American Musical Theater
By Kristin Stultz Pressley
One of America’s most talented lyricists, Fields was a contemporary of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, and others. Int his biography, get to know the Oscar winner as well as the stories behind the creation of classics such as Annie Get Your Gun, Redhead, Sweet Charity, Seesaw, and more. Available December 15 from Applause.

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