Jan Book of the Month
Jan Book of the Month

Check Out the Best Theater Books of the Month for January 2023

Broadway Direct spotlights the best theater books of the month, just for you.

I’ll Be Seein’ Ya/The Insolvencies
By Jon Robin Baitz
$17, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Appeal
By Janice Hallett
$18.99, Atria Books

There have been very few silver linings to the pandemic. But it did inspire all sorts of creative answers to the question of how to get theater to the people amid a lockdown. And that led playwright Jon Robin Baitz (The Substance of Fire, TV’s Brothers & Sisters) to deliver two new works in 2021, when almost no theater was happening anywhere in the world. So there’s that! I’ll Be Seein’ Ya captures a retired Hollywood makeup artist trying to make sense of L.A. (as if anyone ever could) while holed up inside her apartment. It was performed and streamed from the Kirk Dougla Theatre in November 2021. The Insolvencies shows two men — a college professor and a younger former student — sifting through the memories of their relationship. It was crafted as a Zoom piece for the Ojai Playwrights Conference in the summer of 2021. Someday a student will write a thesis on pandemic-related art and how Zoom influenced their structure and presentation. (And maybe that will catch the eye of their professor!) But we can enjoy them as two works from the Pulitzer finalist and Guggenheim fellow.

We’re not perfect! We comb through every catalog and read every review to capture the best theater books for your pleasure. But theater-adjacent works, those books that aren’t strictly written for theater buffs, can slip through the cracks. That’s why we’re bringing your attention to a book that was available in January … of 2022. The Appeal is a British whodunit about a local theater troupe raising funds for the sick child of one of their members. But tensions run high even amid the good intentions. A dress rehearsal leads to a dead body and clearly the killer is in their midst. Backbiting and jealousy are in fine form in this clever mystery praised by the New York Times and praised by some as one of the best mysteries of the year. Hey, it’s never too late to discover a treat.

Michael Giltz is the cohost of the weekly entertainment podcast Showbiz Sandbox. He covers all areas of entertainment as a journalist, critic, feature writer, and analyst, contributing to numerous outlets, including the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and The Advocate. When Michael’s not attending the theater, he’s reading about it.