Theatres have reopened, tickets are selling, and new productions are on the horizon. As we optimistically look toward a new Broadway season and experience magic on stage, there’s always that little voice in the back of our minds, whispering, “But what’s going on behind the curtain?” For your pleasure, here is a list of theatre reads that take us backstage where craft is honed, and scripts are drafted.
Noël Coward on (and in) Theatre by Noël Coward
Brilliantly brought together in an extraordinary collection of commentary, lyrics, essays, and asides, the effortlessly witty playwright dishes on everything—fellow playwrights, productions, critics, actors, acting, and more.
Stella Adler was one of the most influential acting teachers of all time, a legendary force of nature whose generations of students included Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Anthony Quinn, Diana Ross, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, Annette Benning, and Mark Ruffalo. In this thorough but accessible text, you can reveal the secrets of performance and interpretation for a multitude of American playwrights, including Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Edward Albee.
Oscar Wilde by Matthew Sturgis
Learn more about the man behind the near-mythological playwright. This brilliant biography is the fullest, most textural, most accurate—most human—account of Oscar Wilde’s unique and dazzling life—based on extensive new research and newly discovered materials, from Wilde’s personal letters and transcripts of his first trial to newly uncovered papers of his early romantic escapades and the two-year prison term that shattered his soul and his life.
Though you may know all the words by heart, it’s sometimes nice to go back and double check. This is a beautiful Pocket Poets hardcover selection of the most memorable and beloved lyrics of Stephen Sondheim. To see his lyrics written out gives you the opportunity to dissect and analyze just how brilliant his twisting of the tongue can be.
A book for the Shakespeare buff.Consider it a challenge to what you think you know! This book is an electrifying new study that investigates the challenges of the Bard’s inconsistencies and flaws and focuses on revealing—not resolving—the ambiguities of the plays and their changing topicality.
An expertly researched biography about the playwright behind Arcadia and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. To be honest, Harper’s Magazine said it all for us: “An extraordinary record of a vital and evolving artistic life, replete with textured illuminations of the plays and their performances, and shaped by the arc of Stoppard’s exhilarating engagement with the world around him, and of his eventual awakening to his own past.”