As the days grow longer and self-isolation continues, it’s good to step away from your screens every once in a while. So, in addition to our 2020 spring list of books, we’ve compiled a list of reads that we’re looking forward to most this year.
Looking for even more reads? Check out these 45 theatre books from 2019.
Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood's Most Influential Composer
By Steven C. Smith
Steven C. Smith brings to life the previously untold story of a man who greatly impacted the then-relatively new art form of film scoring. Responsible for the themes heard in Casablanca, King Kong, Gone with the Wind, and more, Max Steiner also had a foothold on Broadway as well. The composer served as musical director to over dozen Broadway shows in the 1920s. The book also examines Steiner personal life that could have been its own drama, including a gambling addiction, financial debts, four marriages, and more.
Available May 1 from Oxford University Press.
Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II
By Robert Matzen with a foreword by Luca Dotti
While the Tony and Oscar winner’s life in Hollywood and as a goodwill ambassador have been pored over in detail, little has been shared about Hepburn’s life in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation. Using archives, personal interviews, photos, and diaries, Matzen uncovers the story of a young artist coming of age during the darkest period in modern history while contributing to the Dutch resistance. The book is available now in Kindle and hardcover formats and will be released in paperback May 12.
The Summer Set
By Aimme Agresti
Movie star Charlie Sutton finds herself almost 40 and frankly exhausted. Having depleted her share of goodwill in Hollywood, she retreats to a theatre in the Berkshires to rekindle her love of performing and possibly a romance with an old flame. But then her arch rival shows up and things go awry in this comedy of manners set at a theatre company that sounds remarkably similar to the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Available May 12.
The L.A. Theatre Works Audio Docudrama Series: Pivotal Moments in American History
By various playwrights
This anthology of five plays examines pivotal moments in 20th century U.S history that address moral, ethical and legal issues. Each work is accompanied by dramaturgical notes to help contextualize and analyze both the events themselves and the dramatic form in which they are presented. The collection includes The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild, The Real Dr. Strangelove by Peter Goodchild, RFK: The Journey to Justice by Murray Horwitz and Jonathan Estrin, The Chicago Conspiracy Trial by Peter Goodchild, and Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers by Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aarons.
Available May 14.
Daniel Lewis: A Life in Choreography and the Art of Dance
By Donna H. Krasnow and Daniel E. Lewis
A former Juilliard School teacher and dean of dance at the New World School of the Arts, Lewis championed modern dance for decades. Now, his life and career are explored through photographs and interviews with the choreographer himself. The book explores his time with the José Limón Company, how Lewis eventually founded the Daniel Lewis Dance Repertory Company, and his move to academia after retiring from professional dancing. Available June 21 from McFarland & Company.
Onstage with Martha Graham
By Stuart Rhodes
This first-hand account of being a dancer under Martha Graham examines how a WWII bomber pilot became one of the choreographer’s lead partners in works like Appalachian Spring and Every Soul Is a Circus. The memoir gives classic arts lovers a look at the world of dance in the ‘40s and ‘50s as Rhodes travels across America, Europe, and Asia with the company. Not just his own story, the author offers readers a direct line to Graham and how she operated as a choreographer, mentor, and friend. Available June 30 from University Press of Florida.
West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks, and the Making of a Classic
By Richard Barrios
Shortly after the Arthur Laurents-Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim-Jerome Robbins’ musical made its Broadway debut, the story of Tony and Maria was turned into a movie and exploded in popularity. The achievements in filmmaking and performance left a lasting impact that Barrios explores in detail. On the flip side, the author tackles West Side Story’s journey to Hollywood, which was not easy. Filled with the same amount of drama off-screen, the making of this Best Picture Oscar winner is a story as exciting as what unfolds on screen. Available June 30 from Reading Press Adult.
Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America's First Celebrity
By Tana Wojczuk
The biography of 19th-century queer artist Charlotte Cushman will give theatre lovers a look at life of a performer who discovered the the spotlight and never let go, despite a scandalous personal life. Thanks to newly discovered personal letters, Wojczuk shares the story of Cushman's childhood in Boston to her career in New York City and across the world. This book offers a detailed look at a time period of theatre history not often shared, including a supporting cast of characters that greatly impacted American culture. Available July 7 from Simon & Schuster.
The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad
By Mike Birbiglia with contributions by J. Hope Stein
In 2018, Mike Birbiglia made his Broadway debut at the Cort Theatre with his solo show The New One. Now, he returns with ever more hilarious stories about parenthood. Diving even deeper than his performance on stage, the new dad covers even more ground about what it’s like having a daughter. In addition, the book includes poetry written by Birbiglia’s wife, Jen, as she encountered motherhood. Available July 14 from Grand Central Publishing.