The savvy reader’s favorite website BookFilter.com chooses the best theater books of the summer just for Broadway Direct
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats isn’t the only show that is for now and forever: So are great books about the theater. So whether you’re participating in local community theater, planning a trip to a major city to catch a touring production, or heading to Broadway, you’ll want to have these titles on hand for reading pleasure. Here’s a roundup of the best titles that have just hit stores this summer.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD By Jack Thorne, based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
$34.99, Arthur A. Levine Books
Hey, remember how even the book about the musical Hamilton was selling out and hard to find? Well, millions of copies of this new play inspired by the work of J.K. Rowling are being printed, so it shouldn’t be a problem to snap up a copy. But if there’s any play that could create that sort of frenzy, it’s the strongly reviewed new story about Harry Potter. Remarkably, demand was so high they didn’t even wait for the London production to open. This is the rehearsal edition, so there’s sure to be an official, final version somewhere down the road. (Has that ever happened before in history? A play being published even before it’s actually finished?) One review of the show itself caught our imagination: Variety said the novels turned a generation on to reading, and now Rowling could turn them on to theatregoing as well. Indeed, for the first time in their lives, many people will be reading a play for pure pleasure, not just because it was assigned to them in school. Magical, indeed. Learn more.
It’s a heck of a life. Mary Martin is forever immortalized as Peter Pan on TV. But as with so many great stars of the theater, her best work lives on only in memory. Theater critic David Kaufman’s well-reviewed new biography describes an exciting and rocky life both on and off the stage. Martin soared to fame singing “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” for Cole Porter but quickly proved she was no one-hit wonder: South Pacific, The Sound of Music and I Do, I Do made Martin the biggest star of her day, alongside Ethel Merman. She abandoned her son, Larry Hagman, served as a beard for her closeted second husband … or did he serve as a beard for her? It’s a juicy, riveting life filled with great triumph and, of course, occasional heartbreak. Alongside that holiday classic Peter Pan and all those cast albums, this is a key piece of Martin’s legacy. Learn more.
A modern spin on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, this is the latest in a series of novels commissioned to take the Bard’s work and put those stories in a new setting. Here, Pulitzer Prize winner Tyler turns Kate into the daughter of an eccentric scientist and preschool teacher. After years of frustration, her dad is on the verge of a breakthrough; unfortunately, his irreplaceable lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. Kate’s not married and, sure, Pyotr is insufferable, but couldn’t she just do the deed to get him a green card? Hey, since Shakespeare often borrowed his plots from earlier sources, turnabout is fair play, especially when it’s the acclaimed Tyler doing the borrowing. Learn more.
You wanna be a producer? Actually, what do you really want? Do you want to be among the crowd onstage when a new play wins the Tony, or do you want to inspire bold new work, or do you want to be a smart investor and make money while getting to be involved with theater? Producer and entertainment lawyer John Breglio has seen it all, and this memoir/handbook will be devoured by theater buffs whatever their goal. If you want to be a player, he’s got dos and don’ts. If you want to peek behind the curtains and see how Broadway really works, he’s got the details about the hard work that goes into mounting revivals of Dreamgirls and A Chorus Line, and decades of work as a lawyer. And if you want stories, he has crossed paths with everyone from Michael Bennett to Stephen Sondheim and August Wilson to Patti LuPone. It’s neither fish nor fowl, really, much like the job of a Broadway producer. Learn more.
Author Jo Baker scored a huge hit with her novel Longbourn, which retold the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants. Now Baker delves into real life with A Country Road, A Tree. The time is World War II and budding playwright Samuel Beckett has come to Paris, determined to set the theatrical world on fire. Unfortunately, the Nazis have also arrived and they’re determined to set the real world on fire. Beckett joins the resistance and witnesses horrors while wrestling internally with the new type of theater he is determined to create. Take your pick: It’s a riveting story of spies and intrigue, or it’s the crucible in which great art is formed. Really, it’s both, and it’s a bold new work from a writer who has proved especially adept at finding fresh, unexpected angles on familiar events. Learn more.
First published in 1988, this long out-of-print look at the Grand Guignol style of melodramatic mayhem in Paris is back and expanded in a new edition. Popular for more than 50 years, Grand Guignol was “lowbrow” theater and — you won’t be surprised to hear — wildly popular. Gordon describes its rise and fall in a colorfully illustrated book that might have just been an eye-catching coffee table book but is in fact a serious and substantial work of scholarship. New to this edition are more Grand Guignol posters, an autobiographical sketch of one Grand Guignol star called “I Am the Maddest Woman in the World,” and three scripts of actual works. If you need a birthday gift for John Waters, here’s just the thing. Learn more.
Author Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of books for kids working today. Hatchet — his story of a teen boy surviving in the wilderness — is one of those go-to novels perfect for kids who think they don’t like reading. Now Paulsen has delivered this comic work about a storm striking a local school. Everyone is forced to take refuge in a safe space and stay there. The result? Six kids are crammed together in a bathroom and must spend hours dealing with one another. Think The Breakfast Club but smellier. Here’s the catch: Paulsen has told the story and then included a script, so any six kids can perform this piece together, making it both an entertaining comic novel and a perfect introduction to the pleasures of live theater. Learn more.
Director Mike Nichols compared one especially brilliant concert series by singer and actress Barbara Cook to Judy Garland’s legendary Carnegie Hall shows. Having been there as well, I heartily agree. One of the greats, with the Tony and Kennedy Center honor to show for it, Cook is a peerless interpreter of classic tunes from Rodgers and Hammerstein to, of course, Stephen Sondheim. Though effortlessly commanding on stage, Cook had a difficult life, having been abandoned by her beloved father and surviving the controlling neediness of her probably unstable mother, to overcoming the alcoholism that plagued both Cook and her marvelous accompanist Wally Harper. She bares all in this memoir, and ardent fans will surely savor the passages that deal with that famously challenging aria from Candide and her prickly friendship with Elaine Stritch. Cook is always hardest on herself as she charts her career. A “natural” singer who has studied and honed her craft to perfection, Cook is far from a natural raconteur, à la Stritch. But it’s welcome as a hint to the complicated, challenging life she led, even if her soul remains bared most beautifully on stage, in song. Learn more.
JOHN By Annie Baker
$30, Theatre Communications Group
Playwright Annie Baker won the Pulitzer Prize for her seemingly real-time look at ushers working in a movie theatre. She wasted no time in following it up with a subtler, stranger, and bolder work called John. It’s set in a bed-and-breakfast near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with the proprietor embodied to goofy perfection by Georgia Engel. A couple come to stay, bicker, and somehow it’s all a lot more mysterious and disconcerting and sad than any mere description can convey. This is the complete text of the newest work by one of the best playwrights around. Learn more.
Christian Thielemann is one of the most acclaimed conductors in the world and is especially known for his devotion to and understanding of the work of Wagner. Here, Thielemann offers both a memoir of sorts and a detailed look at what it’s like to tackle and explore and interpret one of the greatest composers of all time. He offers insight into the extraordinarily high level of musicianship needed just to begin playing Wagner and how a conductor and orchestra work in partnership to bring the music to life. For serious fans of opera, this work is essential. Learn more.
Maybe now The Kentucky Cycle will get its due. This nine-part epic won the Pultizer Prize before even playing in New York City (the first time in history that happened). It came to Broadway. Kevin Costner was set to direct and star in an adaptation for HBO. And then … nothing. The show opened and closed, overshadowed by Angels in America. The HBO miniseries came to naught. And while such things aren’t always easy to determine, The Kentucky Cycle doesn’t seem to have flourished in regional productions (though surely it’s been done). Playwright Robert Shenkkan proved he was no fluke: He’s won Emmy nominations for work on the miniseries The Pacific, has a feature film due out in November, and, of course, enjoyed a remarkable triumph with the LBJ play All the Way starring Bryan Cranston. (The sequel is headed to Broadway as well.) So perhaps now, finally, this collection of nine one-acts about life in Kentucky that encompasses three families, 200 years, and six hours on stage can enter the canon. At the very least, it’s now available to read in a handsome new edition. Learn more.
This novel is so rich in ideas, it boggles the mind. That’s certainly the case for the protagonist Malcolm, a widowed therapist who has raised two daughters on his own while working at the Center for Behavioral Health at Baxter College. He takes on a new female patient, only to realize she is in fact a patient he’s already worked with. Only then is the patient identified as Noah. A student at Baxter, Noah is exploring his gender identity, all while (perhaps?) romancing Malcolm and tackling a role in the campus musical. Male, female, gay, straight, Freud, Jung, Sondheim Schwartz — these are the opposite poles that author Basch explores so fully in this acclaimed new novel. And where better to find yourself than on stage taking on the role of someone else, if only for a while? It’s a lesson Noah learns and teaches with style. Learn more.
With 70 years of tradition behind it, this annual compilation of the best new one-act plays in America sells itself. The series has a track record of identifying great talent, including Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee. Invariably, it offers a wide range of styles and subject matter, offering a snapshot at the trends that are engaging and inspiring talented writers all over the country. Is surrealism holding sway? Is TV driving them to linked one-acts à la The Kentucky Cycle? Is old-fashioned storytelling coming back in vogue? Or are new ways of telling tales and breaking down the barriers between different media the new norm? Edited by Demastes with an essay on Shakespeare as a starter, these are the questions that you can begin to answer by absorbing the works on tap. Learn more.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
Introduction and Your Acceptance of These Terms
Information We Collect
Information we collect directly from you: Your provision of your personal information to Us is completely voluntary; it is not a statutory or contractual requirement. Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) is information that is uniquely identifiable to you, such as your name, address, email address, phone number, credit card number and other personal information that is not otherwise publicly available. Certain features of Our website may require that you provide Us with your personal information, including:
Mobile Alert Sign-Up (SMS)
Contact Us (email)
Public forums (e.g. message boards)
E-commerce (ticket purchases)
Your use of any of the features above;
New content on Our website;
News that We think may interest you about Us;
Responses to your questions/comments to us; and
Information relating to a ticket purchase.
We may use your demographic information for in house statistics, advertising and marketing target information. Our processing of your personal information is necessary for the performance and fulfillment of the contract between us and to provide you with Our services. We will also process, transfer, disclose and preserve personal information when We have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary, to resolve disputes, enforce our agreements and otherwise required by law. You can always opt-out of receiving future promotional communications from Us; see the Choice/Opt-out section below.Information We Collect Automatically: Even if you don’t use any of the features above, when you visit Our website, We may collect certain information about you.
From your Browser. For example, Our servers keep an activity log that tracks all visitors to the website. The information in the activity log does not identify you individually. The information collected may include among other data: your IP address, your registered domain or home server, time of access, date of access, web page(s) visited, number of clicks, software crash reports, type of browser used, session identification number, search terms, search results, access times and referring website’s address. We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with Our server and to administer Our website. Your IP address is also used to gather broad demographic information, such as country of origin and geographic location. We use such data in the aggregate to run internal analyses to improve upon your experience on Our website.
Tracking Tags (also known as “web beacons,” “action tags” or “single-pixel gifs”). Our website may also use tracking tags. Tracking tags are invisible graphics embedded in the pages of Our website that are programmed to collect non-personal information about your use of Our website. Like cookies, tracking tags provide overall usage patterns for Our website that We use for analysis and to provide personalized services and advertising content.
We comply with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising set forth by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). You can opt-out of targeted advertising from certain providers at www.aboutads.info/consumers.
How We Use Your Personal Information
The personal information We collect allows Us to keep you posted on updates to Broadway Direct. It also helps Us to improve Our services, content, and advertising. If you don’t want to be on Our email list, you can opt out anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” button or sending an unsubscribe email to [email protected]. From time to time, We may use your personal information to send transactional emails, such as communications about purchases and changes to Our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Broadway Direct, you may not opt out of receiving these communications. We may also use personal information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Broadway Direct’s services, and customer communications. If you enter into a sweepstakes, contest, or similar promotion We may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
Information Collected By/Shared With Third Parties
Third Parties Doing Work for Us. Third parties have no rights to use any data We have collected on your behalf. However, We may employ other companies or individuals to perform functions on Our behalf, such as sending postal mail, email, and text messages, conducting sweepstakes/contests, prize fulfillment and promotional activities, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments and providing customer service. These outside suppliers, agents and vendors have access to your personal information only as needed to perform their functions.
Third Parties with Links from Our Website. From our website, you may be able to click on links to third party sites to buy tickets and merchandise and for other purposes. These third party sites may collect information, including personal information. We are not responsible for, nor do we have access to the information they collect. The collection of this information is governed by the privacy policies on the applicable third party sites.
Social Networking Services. Our website may integrate with social networking services. We do not control such services and are not liable for the manner in which they operate. While we may provide you with the ability to use such services in connection with our website, we are doing so merely as an accommodation and, like you, are relying upon those third party services to operate properly and fairly.
When necessary. We may also release personal information when we believe, in good faith, that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Ourselves, Our clients, Our users, or others. We may disclose personal information about you to law enforcement, other government officials, or other third parties, as We, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal or may expose Us to legal liability.
Transactions With Third Party E-commerce Partners, Vendors and Advertisers
Delivery of Advertising and Other Content
In addition to ads and content that We may serve you directly, We use third-party advertising companies and marketing services companies to serve ads and other content when you visit Broadway Direct and elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both We and these companies may use information about your visits to Broadway Direct and elsewhere to serve ads and other content to you. In the course of doing so, a unique third-party cookie may be placed or recognized on your browser by such companies. In addition, We and these companies may use Web beacons to help manage Our online advertising and content. These Web beacons enable Us and the third-party companies to recognize a browser’s cookie when a browser visits this Site and to learn which banner ads bring users to our website and to serve you ads that you may find of interest elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both Broadway Direct and these companies may use information obtained from your visits to Broadway Direct or other websites, and information received from you offline in order to provide advertisements about goods and services and other content of interest to you across the internet and in other media. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used in this manner by Our third party advertising companies, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp and/or www.aboutads.info/choices. European users may opt out of receiving targeted advertising by visiting http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/. In addition, we may provide PII and Anonymous Information to marketing services companies. This may include information we received from you offline or online. These companies may combine information we provide (including PII and Anonymous Information) with personal and anonymous information they may have about you, using cookies they place or that We place on their behalf, as described in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. We require these companies to delete the PII we provide them. These companies may use the resulting non-personal information and such cookies for their own marketing purposes, and they may provide the same to their customers for their customer’s marketing purposes. Some of Our emails may contain tags that allow Us and Our advertisers and other partners to determine the types of content that may be of interest to you. Those tags may contain PII and may be shared with others to the same extent indicated in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. Those tags may not be deleted but you can opt out of receiving the emails.
Use of This Site by Children
The Site is not directed to individuals under the age of thirteen (13), and We request that such individuals do not provide personal information through the Site. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided Us with PII without the parent or guardian’s consent by, for example, misrepresenting his or her age, that parent or guardian should contact us at [email protected]. If Broadway Direct determines that it has collected personal information of children under the age of 13, Broadway Direct will immediately delete such information and any accounts believed to be held by children under 13. In addition, we may not collect or process information from a citizen of an EU member state under the age of sixteen (16) without such person’s parental consent. If you are a citizen of an EU member state under the age of 16, please tell your parents that you are using the Site and have your parents email Us at [email protected] so that We may delete any information We may have collected about you.
California Civil Code § 1798.83 permits California residents to request information about whether we have disclosed personal information to any third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes. California residents have the right to request in writing: (a) a list of the categories of Personal Information, such as name, email address and mailing address and the type of services provided to the customer that a business has disclosed to third parties (including affiliates that are separate legal entities) during the immediately preceding calendar year for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes and (b) the names and addresses of all such third parties. To make a request, please contact Us at the following email address: [email protected].
Rights of EU Data Subjects
If you are a resident of the European Union, under the GDPR, European Union residents, as data subjects, have the following rights:
Right to access – This right allows individuals to obtain confirmation as to whether or not personal information concerning him or her is being processed and provide access to such personal information. It also allows individuals to request details of the processing of his or her personal information, including, without limitation, categories of recipients to whom the personal information have been or will be disclosed and purposes of processing.
Right to rectify – This right allows individuals to rectify any inaccurate personal information about him or her.
Right to restrict processing – This right allows individuals to block or suppress processing of personal data under certain circumstances.
Right to be forgotten – This right is also known as the “right to erasure”. It is an individual’s right to have personal data erased or to prevent processing in specific circumstances.
Right of data portability – This right allows individuals to move, copy or transfer personal data from one place to another in a secure manner without interrupting the integrity and usability of the information.
Right to object to processing – This right allows individuals to object to certain types of processing, including direct marketing, profiling and providing for purposes of scientific or historical research and statistics.
An EU resident has the right to access his or her personal data that We hold and to ask that their personal data be corrected or erased and to port their data. An EU resident may also have the right to object to, or request that We restrict certain processing or to withdraw consent previously provided. If you would like to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please contact us at [email protected]. If you are an EU resident and have a concern about our processing of your personal data that we are not able to resolve, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Authority where you reside. For contact details of your relevant local Data Protection Authority, please see http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=612080
Security of Your Personal Information
Broadway Direct employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for personal information collected through this Site, including physical, electronic and operational measures to maintain security and prevent unauthorized access. While Broadway Direct takes all appropriate steps to safeguard personal information under Our control, unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or method of storing data can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As such, We cannot guarantee that personal information supplied by users will not be accessed on Our servers, or intercepted while being transmitted to Us over the Internet. We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of interception, alteration or misuse of information during such transfers.
We will retain your information for as long as your account or inquiry is active and for a reasonable time thereafter in accordance with Our standard procedures or as necessary to comply with Our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce Our agreements. Even if We delete some or all of your Personal Information, We may continue to retain and use aggregate or anonymous data previously collected and/or anonymize or aggregate your Personal Information. Please note that We will not be liable for disclosures of your data due to errors or unauthorized acts of third parties.
This Site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from Us, at any time, by email at [email protected], or by clicking the unsubscribe link in any email communication. The Site gives users the following options for removing their information from our database, to not receive future communications or to no longer receive our service, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715.
Users can opt-out of receiving future newsletter emails from Us by selecting the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our email. However, We are not responsible for removing your information from the lists of any third party who has previously been provided with your information or is collecting your information through their cookies. You have the right to withdraw your consent for Our processing for your personal information by contacting us at [email protected].
This website gives users the following options for changing and modifying information previously provided, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715
In the event that We are, or any component of our operations is, merged with, or is acquired by, another entity, then any such successor or acquiring entity may become the successor to Our obligations with respect to the personal information that you have provided to Us, which would be necessary for the entity to effectively continue our business. By using this website, you consent to any transfer and use of such personal information by an entity assuming control of Our operations as a result of a merger, purchase of assets, or liquidation in bankruptcy or insolvency.