8 Broadway Stars Share the Books Every Artist Must Read

Lists   8 Broadway Stars Share the Books Every Artist Must Read
Patti LuPone, Judith Light, Jonathan Groff, and more recommend the best titles for aspiring and growing artists.

The days of beach reading are numbered, so while there is still time to cozy up carefree Playbill asked these Broadway greats for their recommendations for the books specifically useful to artists. From classic novels to books about mental strength, grab a copy to set yourself up for success—no matter what your craft.

1. Patti LuPone
Tony winner for Evita and Gypsy
The Craft of Comedy by Athene Seyler with Stephen Haggard. It is the nuts and bolts of playing comedy—how to get the laugh, sustain the laugh, how to recognize the timing. And True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor by David Mamet. David has taught me more about the craft than just about anyone else.”

2. Jenn Colella
Drama Desk winner and Tony nominee for Come From Away
The Presence Process by Michael Brown. It’s this beautiful book that’s kind of an experiential guide into the present moment. It [includes] breathing techniques and kind of lets us just remember that the present moment is where it is—to not worry too much about what has happened or be anxious about what may happen. That and The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz.”

3. Andy Karl
Drama Desk winner and Tony nominee for Groundhog Day
“I’m about to embark on The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I should’ve read it way before now, especially with this show. But what’s becoming so important in my life is the power of right now, right here and appreciating everything that’s going on.”

4. Laura Linney
Drama Desk Award winner for The Little Foxes, four-time Tony nominee
Artist as Citizen by Joseph Polisi.”

5. Christy Altomare
Drama Desk nominee for Anastasia
“My favorite book of all time is Zen in the Art of Archery. I read it in college and I recently read it right before I started rehearsals for Anastasia. And I think it is the epitome for any artist to understand the craft that they are doing. Even though it is a book about archery, it’s really a universal book about learning one’s craft.”

6. Jon Jon Briones
Drama Desk nominee for Miss Saigon
“Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting.”

7. Jonathan Groff
Tony nominee for Hamilton and Spring Awakening
“I read so many books during Hamilton because I was in my dressing room for 2.5 hours basically. I have two: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is pretty intense. I read it during Hamilton and it blew my mind. I can’t even describe the book you have to just read it. And then Anna Karenina. I was at some event for a literary thing and Maggie Gyllenhaal read a section of it and they didn’t say what it was until it was over that she was reading from Anna Karenina and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ The words just flew off the page and I was like entranced. Then I bought Anna Karenina and I was like, ‘This book is so long I’m never going to read it.’ (Because I stopped at like the fourth Harry Potter book because that was too long.) I was like ‘That’s too long I’m never reading that.’ But then I read it because it’s so amazing. It’s just everything to me. That book is everything to me.”

8. Judith Light
Tony winner for Other Desert Cities and The Assembled Parties
“There are many books that have been instrumental for me in my career that some of our greatest teachers have written, like Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, Michael Chekhov and Stanislavski. Most recently I've found Ivana Chubbuck’s book, The Power of the Actor, to be especially rewarding. This is the work of a fine artist herself who understands the human psyche and interpersonal dynamics. She wants to imbue actors with the tools and a roadmap for creating a deep character, be it dramatic or comedic. She puts the power back into the hands of the actor, teaching them how to work well with directors and illuminate a human being who is not oneself, but is inside oneself waiting to come out.”


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