Producing Theatre: A Comprehensive Legal and Business Guide by Donald C. Farber. Published by Limelight Editions and is available in association with Amazon. To order click here.
From Option to Opening: A Guide to Producing Plays Off-Broadway by Donald C. Farber. And is available in association with Amazon. To order click here.
David Merrick: The Abominable Showman: The Unauthorized Biography by Howard Kissel. And is available in association with Amazon. To order click here.
Whether it's Broadway in the 1930s or movies in the 1970s, you're sure to see the name David Merrick associated with both brilliant successes and embarrassing flops. Such is the nature of the business, especially when it involves one of the most dynamic, hard-hearted, arrogant driving forces in theater production. Kissel, a theater critic for the New York Daily News, writes with unabashed frankness about the rise and fall (and rise again) of Merrick's career as a producer. The way Merrick wielded his mighty political power from Broadway to Hollywood left his contemporaries to hate but admire him; to this day he inspires awe. His establishment of the "commercial theater," though panned at the time, and his contributions to that movement are now studied at the finest theater schools. From the immense success of the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly, to the great flop of a musical version of Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, to a memorable 1970s version of The Great Gatsby, the Merrick legacy is embedded in American entertainment--and Kissel leaves open the possibility that the master can strike again.
Joe Papp: An American Life by Helen Epstein. Published by Little Brown & Company and is available in association with Amazon. To order click here.
This first biography of the late Joseph Papp will be a hard act to follow. Epstein, who collaborated with Papp on an earlier attempt to tell the theatrical impresario's story, had access to Papp's papers, his family, friends, enemies, and business associates. A man of many contradictions, one who invented and reinvented himself, Papp was a tough kid from Brooklyn. His street-learned business sense would enable him to sift the gold from the glitter of Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line, and his early exposure to Hamlet would lead to the founding of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Epstein recounts these and other triumphs in detail, providing fascinating background on the plays, the theaters, the actors and directors, the political battles, the hits and misses. She also does a remarkably balanced job of describing Papp's not-so-nice private life, his wives and lovers, and his difficult relationships with his children. Was Papp a prodigiously creative cultural entrepreneur . . . a contemporary Robin Hood who stole art from the rich and gave it to the poor, or was he, as critic John Simon argues, a man with vulgar . . . notions of what culture is? Epstein manages to show that he was all of the above. And more.
The Shuberts of Broadway: A History Drawn from the Collections of the Shubert Archive by Brooks McNamara. Published by Oxford Univ Press and is available in association with Amazon. To order click here.
An entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at a Broadway dynasty, featuring more than 200 fully captioned illustrations culled from the new Shubert Archive. Stars a legendary cast of characters, taking readers backstage at some of Broadway's greatest hits.
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