www.sondheimguide.com
 
  Selected Bibliography  
 

This is a selected bibliography of publications about
the works of Stephen Sondheim. For publications
of an individual show go to that show's page.

Randy Detwiler was tremendously helpful in providing much
of the information for the Books section of this bibliography.

Biographies and Studies

The following books are devoted entirely to the works of Stephen Sondheim, chronologically listed

Sondheim & Co.
Craig Zadan

Zadan interweaves comments by Sondheim's colleagues with a wealth of information about the shows to display the composer's enormous talent. The focus is on Sondheim's career and accomplishments, and biography is skimpy, except for some isolated, tantalizing facts. But no matter; the detail about the process of putting together a show, plus the profuse illustrations and appendixes containing production information, etc., add up to required reading for all musical theater lovers.

[First edition]

  • New York: Macmillan [hardcover] [ISBN: 0026333805], 1974; 279 pp.
  • New York: Avon (Equinox) [softcover], 1976; 279 pp.

[Second edition]

  • New York: Harper & Row [hardcover] [ISBN: 006015649X], 1986; 408 pp.
  • New York: Harper & Row [trade pb] [ISBN: 0060914009], 1986; 408 pp.
  • London: Michael Joseph (Pavillion Books) [hardcover] [ISBN: 1851451900], 1987; 398 pp.

[Second edition, updated and revised]

  • New York: Perennial Library [trade pb] [ISBN: 0060914009], 1989; 438 pp.
  • London: Nick Hern Books [trade pb] [ISBN: 1854590588], 1990; 454 pp.
  • New York: Da Capo Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-306-80601-0], September 1994; 438 pp.
Sondheim & Co. [First Edition]

Sondheim & Co. [Second, revised edition]

Art Isn't Easy: The Achievement of Stephen Sondheim
Joanne Gordon

This book takes us musical-by-musical through some of the most famous and artistically valuable of Sondheim's musicals (the latest entry being Assassins). Each chapter looks at the musical with a critical eye (or listens with a critical ear, as the case may be) and responds to criticism about the musical in question. This is not a book simply about selling Sondheim — when the author is unimpressed, she lets us know. But Gordon finds much to admire in Sondheim's musicals, and helps us to appreciate that. Each chapter outlines in detail the plot, characters, and songs — especially useful for in-depth study. You can't get much more specific without actually taking out the libretto or following along in the score! All her arguments are well-founded and supported with examples from the text. The use of lyrics is especially appropriate. This book is especially valuable from a literary and theatrical standpoint. The observations on the music itself are correct, but not plentiful, as Gordan's expertise is in theatre, not music. Accessible to the casual audience member and the Sondheim groupie. - Sarah E. Morin, amazon.com review

  • Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University Press [hardcover]
    [ISBN: 0-809-31407-X], July 1990; 343 pp.
  • [updated, as Art Isn't Easy: The Theater of Stephen Sondheim]
    New York: Da Capo Press [trade pb]
    [ISBN: 0-306-80468-9], April 1992; 363 pp.
Art Isn't Easy [Joanne Gordon, Updated edition]

The Poetry of Song: Five Tributes to Stephen Sondheim
George Robert Minkoff and J.D. McClatchy (editors)

  • Poetry Society of America (No ISBN Number), 1992; 19 pp.

Contents

  • A Happy Conjunction (Richard Wilbur)
  • Laughter in the Soul (J.D. McClatchy)
  • Stephen Sondheim's Dramatic Poetry (Grace Schulman)
  • Mr. Sondheim, Poet (Robert Creeley)
  • Beating Time (John Hollander)

Musicals — and Sondheim

  • London: Royal National Theatre, 1995; 44 pp.

Contents:

  • Introduction by Jeremy Sams
  • Stephen Sondheim, answering questions from the audience, Olivier Theatre on March 5, 1990
  • Musicals: a discussion with Ian Judge, Kate Edgar, Tim Rice, and David Pountney / introduced and chaired by Mark Steyn
  • Stephen Sondheim interviewed by Jeremy Sams

Sondheim
Martin Gottfried

In this biography, illustrated with 100 photos, 50 in color, the composer/lyricist's life and work are examined in sharp detail. Recounted are his middle-class Manhattan upbringing in the 1930s, his college years at Williams in Massachusetts and his apprenticeship under Oscar Hammerstein II. We witness the process involved in his numerous successes, including West Side Story and the artistic collaborations with producer Harold Prince and artists like Angela Landsbury and Lee Remick. Gottfried, author of Broadway Musicals, uses Sondheim's personal recollections to make this an exciting collectible for theater fans. [from Publishers Weekly review]

  • New York: Harry N. Abrams
    [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-810-93844-8], September 1993; 192 pp.
  • Revised and Updated:
    New York: Harry N Abrams
    [hardcover] [ISBN: 0810941791], May 2000; 208 pp.
Sondheim [Martin Gottfried]

Sondheim's Broadway Musicals
Stephen Banfield

Banfield (School of Performance Studies, University of Birmingham, England) has produced a thorough, scholarly work that emphasizes Sondheim's compositional process. The author spends a single chapter tracing Sondheim's background (including his close relationship with mentor Oscar Hammerstein), academic preparation, and various projects. Next is an academic study of each Sondheim musical for Broadway, from West Side Story (1957) to Into the Woods (1987). Much detail is devoted to scoring, specialty songs, and considerations inherent in each production, such as the Kabuki element in Pacific Overtures (1973) and the 19th-century period tone in A Little Night Music (1973). Banfield, who had his subject's full cooperation, includes an abundance of musical examples along with structure charts pertaining to lyric development or song placement. This outstanding work belongs in every academic library with 20th-century music or theater collections. [from Library Journal review]

  • Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press
    • [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-472-10223-0], December 1993; 453 pp.
    • [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-472-08083-0], November 1995; 453 pp.
Sondheim's Broadway Musicals [Stephen Banfield]

Stephen Sondheim: A Casebook
Joanne Gordon (editor)

A collection of academic essays on the work of Stephen Sondheim.  Contents: General Editor's Note, Kimball King; Introduction, Joanne Gordon; Chronology; "Broadway Babies: Images of Women in the Musicals of Stephen Sondheim" Laura Hanson; "Comedy Tonight!: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", Lois Kivesto; "Company 25 Years Later" John Olson; "Nixon's America and Follies: Reappraising a Musical Theater Classic",James Fisher; "The Last of Sheila: Sondheim as a Master Games-Player", Douglas Braverman; "On Performing Sondheim (A Little Night Music Revisited)", David Craig; "'More Beautiful than True' or 'Never Mind the Small Disaster': The Art of Illusion in Pacific Overtures", Leonard Fleischer; "Psychology, Evil and Sweeney Todd or, 'Don't I Know You, Mister?'". Judith Schlesinger; "Sondheim: The Idealist", Mari Cronin; "'Let the Pupil Show the Master' Stephen Sondheim and Oscar Hammerstein II", Andrew Milner; "Portrait of the Artist: Sunday in the Park with George and 'Revolutionary' Musical Drama", Edward T. Bonahue, Jr.; "Assassins and the Concept Musical", Scott Miller; "Passion: Not Just Another Simple Love Story", Gary Konas; "Revisiting Greece: the Sondheim Chorus", Barbara Means Fraser; Contributors; Index

  • New York: Garland Publishing [hardcover] [ISBN: 081532054X], August 1997; 259 pp.
  • New York: Garland Publishing [softcover] [ISBN: 0815335865], November 1999; 259 pp.
Stephen Sondheim: A Casebook [Gordon, editor]

Stephen Sondheim: A Life
Meryle Secrest

Secrest interviewed Sondheim extensively for this full-scale biography, resulting in a portrait as subtle and sophisticated as its subject. Sondheim discusses with Secrest his 25 years of psychoanalysis, his homosexuality, his early stumbling career as actor and TV scriptwriter, and his working relationships with such pivotal figures in his life as producer Hal Prince and playwright-director Arthur Laurents. Biographer of Leonard Bernstein and Frank Lloyd Wright, Secrest has written a wonderful biography of an uncompromising musical dramatist who uses irony, wit and disillusion to probe painful emotions. Decked out with memorable photographs, her moving and perceptive portrait, full of Broadway lore, provides an incomparable peek into the genesis of his musicals. [from Publishers Weekly review]

  • New York: Knopf [hardcover]
    [ISBN: 0-679-44817-9], June 1998; 461 pp
  • New York: Delta [trade pb]
    [ISBN: 0385334125], June 1999; 480 pp.
Sondheim: A Life [First Edition]

Reading Stephen Sondheim:
A Collection of Critical Essays

Sandor Goodhart (editor)

A collection of academic essays on the work of Stephen Sondheim. Contents: Introduction: "Reading Sondheim: The End of Ever After", Sandor Goodhart; "The Sung and the Said: Literary Value in the Musical Dramas of Stephen Sondheim", Thomas P. Adler; "Maternity, Madness, and Art in the Theater of Stephen Sondheim", Alen W. Menton; "'Every Day a Little Death': Sondheim's Un-musicalizing of Marriage", Kay Young; "The Funeral of Follies: Stephen Sondheim and the Razing of American Musical Theater", Ann Marie McEntee; "Difference and Sameness: Tarchetti's Fosca, Scola's Passione d'Amore, and Sondheim's Passion", Shoshana Milgrama Knapp; "'It Takes Two': A Duet on Duets in Follies and Sweeney Todd", Paul M. Puccio and Scott F. Stoddart; "Enchantment on the Manicured Lawns" The Shakespearean 'Green World' in A Little Night Music", Paul M. Puccio; "Arresting Development: Law, Love, and the Name-of-the-Father in Sweeney Todd", Joseph Marchesani; "Visions and Re-visions: The Postmodern Challenge of Merrily We Roll Along", S. F. Stoddart; "A Cathedral to Art", Frank Olley; "'Happily...Ever..." NEVER: The Antithetical Romance of Into the Woods", S. F. Stoddart; "'The Mother's Part': Love, Letters, and Reading in Sondheim's Passion", Sandor Goodhart; Works Cited; Index

  • New York: Garland Pub. [softcover] [ISBN: 081533768X ], December 1999; 296 pp.
  • New York: Garland Pub. [hardcover] [ISBN: 081532832X], March 2000; 300 pp.
Reading Sondheim

Sondheim & Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical
Stephen Citron

In his latest entry of "The Great Songwriters" series, Citron profiles Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd-Webber [sic], two of the late 20th century's most prominent composers for the Broadway and London stages, who, interestingly, share a birthday (March 22). In alternating chapters, the author traces their creative development from tentative neophytes to much-feted giants, integrating the various directions that musical theater has taken. Citron analyzes their productions from both musical and dramatic perspectives, providing relevant excerpts from contemporary reviews and documents. Without sensationalism, he highlights aspects of their personal lives. [from Library Journal review]

  • New York: Oxford University Press [ISBN: 0195096010], August 2001; 464 pp.
Sondheim & Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical

Sondheim on Music:
Minor Details and Major Decisions

Mark Eden Horowitz (editor)

This is primarily a transcript of a series of interviews with Stephen Sondheim, focusing on his work as a composer. During the interviews, he and the author look through Sondheim's manuscripts and sketches and discuss the creative process. The discussions focus on six shows: Passion, Assassins, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, and Pacific Overtures, but every Sondheim score comes up in conversation. Among the topics discussed, are how Sondheim approaches musicalizing characters and dramatic moments, how motifs and thematic material are created and used, how harmony, melody, and rhythm reflect character, the structuring of a score, the use of pastiche, and the practical aspects of collaboration. Also includes the listing of Sondheim's "Songs I Wish I Had Written (At Least In Part)" and a songlisting, discography and publishing information.

  • New York: Scarecrow Press [ISBN: 0810844370], February 2003; 416 pp.
Sondheim on Music

Everything Was Possible:
The Birth of the Musical Follies

Ted Chapin

Chapin tells how the 1971 Hal Prince/Stephen Sondheim/Michael Bennett musical about old theater performers created no strapping young stars, went through multiple revisions, lost money and yet established a place in theater memory for emotional and artistic complexity. The author, son of arts impresario Schuyler Chapin, was one of Follies's few youngsters, a college student observing the production as independent study but becoming the crew's gofer. Chapin's chronology spans the practical to the exceptional, from how tap sounds are created to the last-minute writing of Yvonne De Carlo's now-standard "I'm Still Here." He also charts Boris Aronson's multileveled sets, the dress that transformed Alexis Smith into the show's star, the inestimable uses of previews in Boston, the Broadway opening and the surrounding national interest in the play. Chapin doesn't dwell on the negative audience reaction to Follies's ambiguities, leaving the play's year-long run to tell the tale. Despite much praise and many Tony Awards, Follies closed after 522 performances. It lost almost $800,000 and was considered a "financial failure." Still, nearly all the players considered it a high point of their careers. Maybe, as Frank Rich says, it needs time to gain its place in theater history. Whatever happens, Chapin memorably marks the creation of a difficult, honorable work. 8 pages of color photos and 63 b&w photos in text. [from Publishers Weekly review]

  • New York: Knopf [ISBN: 0375413286], September 2003; 368 pp.
  • New York: Applause Books [softcover] [ISBN: 1557836531], March 2005; 336 pp.
Everything Was Possible Everything Was Possible

How Sondheim Found His Sound
Steve Swayne

Taking Sondheim's own comments and music as a starting point, author Steve Swayne offers a biography of the artist's style, pulling aside the curtain on Sondheim's creative universe to reveal the many influences — from classical music to theater to film — that have established Sondheim as one of the greatest dramatic composers of the twentieth century. Sondheim has spoken often and freely about the music, theater, and films he likes, and on occasion has made explicit references to how past works crop up in his own work. He has also freely acknowledged his eclecticism, seeing in it neither a curse nor a blessing but a fact of his creative life. Among the many forces influencing his work, Sondheim has readily pointed to a wide field: classical music from 1850 to 1950; the songs of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood; the theatrical innovations of Oscar Hammerstein II and his collaborators; the cinematic elements found in certain film schools; and the melodramatic style of particular plays and films. Ultimately, Sondheim found his sound by amalgamating these seemingly disparate components into his unique patois. How Sondheim Found His Sound is the first book to provide an overview of his style and one of only a few to account for these various components, how they appear in Sondheim's work, and how they affect his musical and dramatic choices. [Description taken from the publisher's website]

  • Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0472114972], August 2005; 328 pp.
How Sondheim Found His Sound [Swayne]

Stephen Sondheim (Great Pop Songwriters Series) - Bloom

  • New York: Simon & Schuster [hardcover] [ISBN: 0028647866] (annouced for April 1999, but no copy seen)

Other Books

The following books include information about Sondheim and his works, listed by author

George Abbott
Mister Abbott

  • New York: Random House [hardcover], 1963; 276 pp.

Hollis Alpert in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York
Broadway! - 125 Years of Musical Theatre

  • Arcade Publishing [hardcover] [ISBN: 1-55970-092-0], 1991; 248 pp.

Geoffrey Block
Enchanted Evenings - The Broadway Musical From Showboat to Sondheim

  • Oxford University Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-19-510791-8], October 1997; 410 pp.
  • Oxford University Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-19-516730-9], January 2004; 432 pp.

Ken Bloom
American Song : The Complete Musical Theatre Companion, 1900-1984

  • Facts on File [hardcover] [ISBN: 0871969610], January 1985

Ken Bloom
American Song : The Complete Musical Theatre Companion, 1877-1995

  • [Two volumes, Second edition]
    Schirmer Books [hardcover] [ISBN: 0028645731 / 723], July 1996

Gerald Bordman
American Operetta: From H.M.S. Pinafore To Sweeney Todd

  • Oxford University Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-19-502869-4], 1981; 206 pp.

Caryl Brahms and Ned Sherrin
Song By Song - 14 Great Lyric Writers

  • Ross Anderson Publications [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-86360-013-1], 1984; 282 pp.

Humphrey Burton
Leonard Bernstein

  • Anchor Books/Doubleday [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-385-42352-7], 1994; 594 pp.

Stephen Citron
The Musical: From The Inside Out

  • Ivan R. Dee [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-929587-79-0], 1991; 336 pp.
  • Ivan R. Dee [trade pb] [ISBN: 1566631769], October, 1997; 312 pp.

Rob Edelman And Audrey E. Kupferberg
Angela Lansbury: A Life On Stage And Screen

  • Birch Lane Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 1-55972-327-0 ], 1996; 287 pp.
  • Citadel Press [paperback] [ISBN: 0806580089], May 1997; 304 pp.

Lehman Engel
Their Words Are Music - The Great Theatre Lyricists And Their Lyrics

  • Crown Publishers [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-517-51682-9], 1975; 276 pp.

Lehman Engel, updated and revised by Howard Kissel
Words With Music: Creating the Broadway Musical Libretto
The dean of Broadway musical directors examines the dynamics of how the book, music and lyrics work together to create such hits as My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, Hair, Pal Joey, West Side Story, Company, South Pacific, Three Penny Opera and Porgy and Bess. Howard Kissel, chief theater critic for the New York Daily News, extends the reach of Engel's subjects by bringing them up to date with commentary on such shows as A Chorus Line, Nine, Sunday in the Park with George, Rent, Working and Falsettos. Kissel offers a thoughtful history on how musical theater has evolved in the three decades since Engel wrote Words with Music (1972) and how Engel's classic work remains vital and illuminating today.

  • Applause Books [trade pb] [ISBN: 1557835543], September 2005; 416 pp.

David Ewen
American Songwriters

  • The H.W. Wilson Company [hardcover] [0-8242-0744-0], 1987; 489 pp.

Jane Fluegel (editor)
Bernstein Remembered
A pictorial tribute to Leonard Bernstein, capturing his expressiveness as composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher, and capturing many other music-world luminaries as well. With an introduction by Donal Henahan and a preface by Isaac Stern.

  • Carrol & Graf [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-88184-722-4], 1991; 160 pp.

Hugh Fordin
Getting to Know Him: A Biography of Oscar Hammerstein II
Includes an introduction by Stephen Sondheim

  • Random House [hardcover] [ISBN: 0394494415], 1977; 383 pp.
  • Frederick Ungar [trade pb] [ISBN: 0804462003], June 1986; 383 pp.
  • Da Capo Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0306806681], September 1995; 432 pp.

Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer
It Happened on Broadway - An Oral History Of The Great White Way
A fascinating look at Broadway from different perspectives, including interviews with actors, directors, producers, composers, lyricists, playwrights, stage managers, set designers, and critics.

  • Harcourt Brace & Company [ISBN: 0-15-100280-0], 1998

Kurt Ganzl
Ganzl's Book of the Broadway Musical
This book highlights 75 Broadway musicals, a few of which are too recent to have been included in Ganzl's encyclopedia. Each entry gives full production information, casts, plot synopses, song titles, and notes about film versions. Each is liberally illustrated with photographs from the original production. An appendix listing cast recordings on compact disc is followed by an index of names and song titles.

  • Macmillan [hardcover] [ISBN: 0028708326], September 1995

Kurt Ganzl
The Blackwell Guide To Musical Theatre On Record

  • Blackwell [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-631-16517-7], September 1990; 547 pp.

Keith Garebian
The Making of West Side Story

  • ECW Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 1550222112], March 1995

Keith Garebian
The Making of Gypsy

  • ECW Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 1550221922], January 1995

Martin Gottfried
Balancing Act - The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury

  • Little, Brown and Company [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-316-32225-3], 1999; 338 pp.

Martin Gottfried
Broadway Musicals

  • Abrams [hardcover] [ISBN: 1-56098-698-0], 1979; 352 pp.

Martin Gottfried
More Broadway Musicals

  • Abrams [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-8109-3621-6], 1991; 224 pp.

Stanley Green, Edited And Revised By Kay Green
Broadway Musicals: Show By Show (4th Edition)

  • Hal Leonard Corporation [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-7935-3083-0], 1994; 372 pp.

Otis L. Guernsey Jr. (editor)
Broadway Song And Story - Playwrights.Lyricists.Composers Discuss Their Hits

  • Dodd, Mead & Co. [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-396-08753-1], 1985; 447 pp.

Amy Henderson and Dwight Blocker Bowers
Red, Hot, & Blue: A Smithsonian Salute To The American Musical

  • Smithsonian [hardcover] [ISBN: 1-56098-698-0], 1996; 268 pp.

Foster Hirsch
Harold Prince and the American Musical Theatre

  • Cambridge University Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-521-33314-8], April 1989
  • Cambridge University Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-521-33609-0], August 1990

Thomas S. Hischak
Word Crazy: Broadway Lyricists from Cohan to Sondheim

  • Praeger [hardcover] [ISBN: 0275938492], June 1991

Carol Ilson
Harold Prince: From Pajama Game to Phantom of the Opera and Beyond

  • UMI Research Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0835719359], May 1989; 443 pp.
  • UMI Research Press [softcover] [ISBN: 0835719618], May 1989; 443 pp.
  • Limelight Editions [trade pb] [ISBN: 0879101598], July 1992; 461 pp.

Arthur Jackson
The Best Musicals - From Show Boat to A Chorus Line, Broadway / Off-Broadway / London

  • Crown Publishers [large hardcover] [ISBN: 0-517-53122-4], 1977; 208 pp.

Michiko Kakutani
The Poet at the Piano
Includes a 9 page portrait of Sondheim and James Lapine

  • Peter Bedrick Books [ISBN: 0-87226-210-3], 1989

Richard Kislan
The Musical: A Look At The American Musical Theatre

  • Prentice Hall [hardcover] [ISBN: 0136085393], May 1980
  • Applause [trade pb] [ISBN: 1-55783-217-X], 1995; 310 pp.

John Lahr
Automatic Vaudeville
Includes a 17 page essay on Sondheim

  • Alfred A. Knopf [ISBN: 0-394-52976-6], 1984

John Lahr
Light Fantastic: Adventures in Theatre
Includes a 6 page article on Passion entitled "Stephen Sondheim: Love in Gloom"

  • The Dial Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-385-31546-5], February 1996; 381 pp.
  • Delta [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-385-31550-3], March 1997; 416 pp.

Arthur Laurents
Original Story - A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood

  • Alfred A. Knopf [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-375-40055-9], April 2000; 436 pp.
  • Applause Books [trade pb] [ISBN: 1-557-834679], April 2001; 448 pp.

Alan J. Lerner
The Musical Theatre - A Celebration

  • McGraw-Hill [hardcover] [ISBN: 0070372322], October 1986
  • DaCapo Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-306-80364-X], September 1989; 240 pp.

Ken Mandelbaum
A Chorus Line And The Musicals Of Michael Bennett

  • St. Martins Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-312-03061-4], July 1989
  • St. Martin's Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-312-04280-9], July 1990; 352 pp.

Ken Mandelbaum
Not Since Carrie : Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops

Includes discussions on Anyone Can Whistle and Merrily We Roll Along

  • St Martins Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-312-06428-4], October 1991
  • St. Martins Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-312-08273-8], September 1992; 384 pp.

Gerald Mast
Can't Help Singin' - The American Musical On Stage And Screen

  • Overlook Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-87951-283-0], September 1987; 389 pp.
  • Overlook Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-87951-362-4 ], January 1991; 389 pp.

Leo N. Miletich
Broadway's Prize-Winning Musicals - An Annotated Guide For Libraries And Audio Collectors

  • Harrington Park Press, August 1993; 255 pp.
    • [hardcover] [ISBN: 1-56024-288-4]
    • [trade pb] [ISBN: 1-56023-018-5]

Scott Miller
From Assassins to West Side Story: The Director's Guide to Musical Theatre

  • Heinemann [trade pb] [ISBN: 0435086995], June 1996; 242 pp.

From amazon.com reviews
From Assassins to West Side Story is that rare theater textbook that is so articulate, insightful, and downright playful that it can be read simply for pleasure. If you're planning to direct one of these 16 shows, though, you'll have a far richer production for having employed its points. Scott Miller shows an uncommon, detailed understanding of the emotional machinery of these shows. He explores the use of the dies irae theme throughout Sweeney Todd; points out how the title character in Pippin becomes extraordinary only when he resolves to be ordinary; proposes unceasing motion as a staging concept and a theme in Les Miserables; suggests techniques to best let an audience grasp that time flows backward in Merrily We Roll Along; and ponders the nature of reality and unreality at the core of Man of La Mancha. Keep those cast albums ready, because you'll definitely be putting them on. [Also includes discussions of Assassins, Company, Gypsy, Into the Woods, and West Side Story.]

Scott Miller
Deconstructing Harold Hill - An Insider's Guide To Musical Theatre

  • Heinemann [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-325-00166-9], 1999; 190 pp.

From Booklist
Miller contends that Americans don't take American musicals seriously; more precisely, American directors don't. That is why, he argues, most of the most imaginative and daring recent Broadway revivals have been directed by Brits and Australians. American directors are less willing to plumb the depths of musicals and to uncover, for instance, Camelot's dark subtext or the deep structure of The Music Man. Miller strives to set things aright by analyzing Camelot, Chicago, The King and I, March of the Falsettos, The Music Man, Passion, Ragtime, and Sunday in the Park with George. He intends for regional and community theater directors to use the book to penetrate to the heart of a show--something he accomplishes admirably well, for music, plot, character development, and performance style each gets a turn under Miller's microscope. In fact, Miller's book is too fascinating to be hogged by would-be directors. Students of theater will find it a godsend, and general audience members for musical theater should find it quite appealing. Jack Helbig

Ethan Mordden
Broadway Babies - The People Who Made the American Musical

  • Oxford University Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-19-505425-3], 1983; 244 pp

Ethan Mordden
Coming Up Roses - The Broadway Musical in the 1950's

  • Oxford University Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-19-511710-7], 1998; 254 pp
  • Oxford University Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-19-514058-3], Spetember 2000; 272 pp

From Publishers Weekly
In his celebration of the glorious (and not-so glorious) musicals of the 1950s, Mordden relates one of Broadway's hoary old jokes: "If God had really wanted to punish Hitler, He'd have sent him out of town with a musical." This volume offers a rich compendium of the hits and misses that kept theatergoers lining up at the box office during the decade many remember as bland white bread. But with treasures including Call Me Madam, Guys and Dolls, Kismet, My Fair Lady, Candide (considered a flop at the time), The Sound of Music and (closing out the decade) West Side Story and Gypsy, Mordden shows that it was 10 years of change, growth and glory. He explains why he thought playwright/director George Abbott was "in the long run a destructive figure in the musical's history"; discusses the growing influence of choreographers, several of whom became directors, such as Michael Kidd, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion and Jerome Robbins; and how, with the growth of the cast album "great shows no longer vanished when they closed." The 1950s also saw distinctions made between the musical play (The King and I) and musical comedy (Call Me Madam); at the same time original material declined while epic productions based on books or films became more prevalent. Brimming with opinions, reminiscences and anecdotes, (Brooks Atkinson's response to the flop, Flahooley: "More plot crosses that stage than Macy's Thanksgiving Parade"), the pleasure here comes from Mordden's jaundiced eye, sharp wit and passion for his subject. This is a must for every theater lover.

Ethan Mordden
Open a New Window - The Broadway Musical in the 1960's

  • Palgrave Macmillan [hardcover] [ISBN: 0312239521], November 2001; 279 pp
  • Palgrave Macmillan [trade pb] [ISBN: 1403960135], November 2002; 288 pp

From Publishers Weekly
The prolific Mordden (The Fireside Companion to the Theatre) has juggled two different series in recent years, one fiction and one nonfiction. Now he offers the fourth title in the latter, a decade-by-decade history of American musicals, following on the heels of Coming Up Roses, about the 1950s. Despite Mordden's authoritative, scholarly approach, the book sings with stylish syncopation and chatty humor. The evolution and transition of 1960s Broadway was signaled by the failure of Irving Berlin's Mr. President, Noel Coward's fading glory (Sail Away) and the beginning of The Fantasticks' four-decade run. New concepts emerged, and fresh talents like Bob Fosse and Stephen Sondheim took center stage. With Cabaret in 1966, "the new age begins." Darker themes were introduced in Man of La Mancha, What Makes Sammy Run? and Golden Boy. Detailing the decade's innovations, Mordden tosses in fascinating bits of theatrical lore and history. Hits (Funny Girl) and flops (Sophie) are deftly described with wit, panache and a clever, novelistic eye. Mordden never misses a cue, covering everything from off-Broadway (The Threepenny Opera) to the English musical. Regrettably, the lack of boldface subheads decreases the book's value as a research tool, since many titles are lost in the multitude. Still, scholars will be as anxious to read it as theater enthusiasts.

Ethan Mordden
One More Kiss - The Broadway Musical in the 1970's
Ethan Mordden's new entry in his history of the Broadway musical looks at an era that brought us not only the gritty reality of "A Chorus Line" and the brilliantly bittersweet works of Stephen Sondheim, but also the nostalgic crowd-pleasers "No, No, Nanette" and "Annie." It was a time when Broadway both looked to its past, but also to its future and allowed reality to enter. Mordden writes of the last time we ever saw true greatness on the stage of the Broadway musical.

  • Palgrave Macmillan [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-31-223953- X], June 2003; 272 pp
  • Palgrave Macmillan [trade pb] [ISBN: 1403965390], June 2004; 288 pp

Wendy Nelson-Cave
Broadway Theatre Posters

  • Smithmark [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-8317-8752-X], 1993; 112 pp.

Joan Peyser
Bernstein: A Biography

  • Beech Tree Books/William Morrow [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-688-04918-4], May 1987; 481 pp.

  • Revised and Updated:
  • Billboard Books [trade pb] [ISBN: 0823082598], August 1998; 510 pp.

From Publishers Weekly
[Since conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein was nearly 70 years old when this book first appeared, it was remarkable that no one had previously attempted a full-scale biography.] Peyser, author of books about contemporary music and Pierre Boulez, among others, is well equipped and has gone at her complex and controversial subject with gusto. She has been totally frank, and a great deal of information hitherto only whispered about is here: Bernstein's homosexuality, his drinking, his crushing depressions, his vast ego, his competitiveness. In Peyser's hands, this material has been carefully deployed to show the reasons for some of the life and career choices he has made, rather than just to gossip. There is invaluable background about his various compositions; there is also rather too much facile Freudianizing about his relationship with his father and with such other father figures as Serge Koussevitzky and Dimitri Mitropoulos. Above all, Bernstein is carefully placed in both an artistic contextas a vastly talented American classical musician in a Europe-dominated periodand a political one, as a longtime passionate leftist who was by no means a trendy convert to '70s "radical chic." Despite moments of disorganization, Peyser has done a heroic and eminently readable job.

Harold Prince
Contradictions: Notes on Twenty-Six Years in the Theater

  • Dodd, Mead, 1974

Frank Rich
Hot Seat - Theater Criticism For The New York Times, 1980-1993

  • Random House [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-679-45300-8], 1998; 1050 pp.

From amazon.com reviewer
Love him or hate him, there's no denying the vast influence Frank Rich wielded as chief drama critic for the New York Times. Those he praised usually enjoyed great success; those he damned accused him of conspiring against their productions. Now, here's a volume, almost forbidding in length, that encompasses his work over 14 theater seasons. More than 330 reviews and articles brimming with plays and players, shows and showmen--famous and obscure, enduring and forgotten. Readers are likely to find something that--depending on their vintage--serves as a discovery or a reminder. Do you recall that Mike Nichols and Elaine May once appeared in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (The 1980 production accentuated Edward Albee's dark comedy, but left Rich "hungry for blood.") Or that FOB in the very same year launched the New York career of David Henry Hwang ("an unwieldy, at times spotty work"--one that nonetheless "hits home far more often than it misses"). Jump forward eight years to the same playwright's M. Butterfly and the circle is complete, as Rich lavishes praise upon Hwang's work, calling it one of his favorite new plays. Whatever readers may think of Rich's opinions (and he isn't shy about sharing them), they'll delight in his prose--at once witty and illuminating, sympathetic and sarcastic. Revealed too in this tome is Rich's admiration and love for several mentors and peers, exemplified in moving tributes to the legendary critics Kenneth Tynan and Walter Kerr. Also poignant are footnotes to several reviews, outlining the real-life tragedies that befell mighty showmen like Gower Champion of 42nd Street. Rich traces the terrible toll AIDS has taken on Broadway, describing an era in which the celebrated and the unsung alike succumbed to the epidemic. Little wonder then, that Tony Kushner's Angels in America, rooted in the age of AIDS, makes such a profound impression on the critic: "I was so overwhelmed by Angels after a matinee in London that I canceled my theatergoing plans for that night; I needed time to think." All this makes Hot Seat more than just a compendium of reviews. It serves as a history and a highly entertaining read rolled into one, a portrait of the theater and, ultimately, of the critic himself. --Roy Wadia

John Rockwell
All American Music: Composition in the Late Twentieth Century
Includes "Urban Popular Songs, the Broadway Musical, the Cabaret Revival, and the Birth Pangs of American Opera: Stephen Sondheim"

  • Knopf [hardcover] [ISBN: 0394511638], March 1983
  • Da Capo Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-306-80750-5], April 1997

Bernard Rosenberg and Ernest Harburg
The Broadway Musical - Collaboration In Commerce And Art

  • NYU Press [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-8147-7433-4], 1993; 356 pp

Ted Sennett
Song and Dance - The Musicals on Broadway

  • Metrobooks [hardcover] [ISBN: 1-56799-642-6], 1998; 176 pp.

David Sheward
It's A Hit! - The Backstage Book Of Longest-Running Broadway Shows, 1884 To The Present

  • Backstage Books [trade pb] ISBN: 0-8230-7636-9], 1994; 368 pp.

Cecil Smith and Glenn Litton
Musical Comedy In America

  • Routledge/Theatre Arts Books [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-87830-564-5], 1991; 367 pp.

Isabelle Stevenson (editor)
The Tony Award - A Complete Listing of Winners And Nominees With A History Of The American Theatre Wing

  • Heinemann [softcover] [ISBN: 0-435-08658-8], 1994; 178 pp.

Steven Suskin
Show Tunes, 1905-1991 : The Songs, Shows and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers

  • Revised and Expanded Edition
    Limelight Editions [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-87910-146-6], August 1992; 769 pp.

Steven Suskin (editor)
Opening Night on Broadway : A Critical Quotebook of the Golden Era of the Musical Theatre

  • Schirmer Books [hardcover] [ISBN: 0028726251], November 1990; 810 pp.

Steven Suskin (editor)
More Opening Nights on Broadway: A Critical Quotebook of the Musical Theatre from 1965 Through 1981

  • Macmillan [hardcover] [ISBN: 0028645715], March 1997; 850 pp.

Joseph P. Swain
The Broadway Musical - A Critical And Musical Survey

  • Oxford University Press [trade pb] [ISBN: 0-19-505434-2], 1990; 384 pp.

Theodore Taylor
Jule - The Story of Composer Jule Styne

  • Random House [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-394-41296-6], 1979; 294 pp.

Bob Thomas
I Got Rhythm - The Ethel Merman Story

  • G.P. Putnam's Sons [hardcover] [ISBN: 0-399-13041-1], 1985; 239 pp.

Max Wilk
They're Playing Our Song "From Jerome Kern to Stephen Sondheim - the stories behind the words and music oof two generations"

  • Atheneum [ISBN: 0-689-10554-1], 1973

Periodicals


The Sondheim Review

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The Stephen Sondheim Society Newsletter

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Top of Selected Bibliography

Last modified on Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Compiled by Randy Detwiler and Michael H. Hutchins