Theater books of 2018 to read in 2019

Below is a list of theater books to read in 2019, most of which were  published in 2018. Click on the titles to find more information and to purchase these books, grouped under four categories: 1. Scripts, including all the plays that are scheduled to be produced on Broadway in Spring, 2019. 2. Coffee Table Books. 3. Theater History, Criticism, Memoir/Biography. 4. For Fans, For Fun, For Kids

There’s nothing requiring you to read new books in 2019. Check out: The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years (all available to read) and 15 Great Books About The Theater

My personal preferences: Of those I’ve already read,  I most enjoyed “The Band’s Visit,” and “The Detroit Project” (scripts); and  “Playing to the Gods” followed by Something Wonderful.” (history.) I’m most looking forward to reading the books about Theatre of the Ridiculous, Lorraine Hansberry, and Ivo van Hove.


1. Scripts

The following are either the scripts of plays and musical coming to Broadway in Spring, 2019, listed alphabetically. If no scripts are publicly available, I list the books that serve as the main source.

Aint Too Proud: Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations
All My Sons by Arthur Miller
Beetlejuice. An inside joke for fans of the movie: Beetlejuice: Handbook for the Recently Deceased Hardcover Ruled Journal
Be More Chill: Be More Chill, the novel by Ned Vizzini plus
Be More Chill: Piano/Vocal Selections

Burn This: A Play by Lanford Wilson

Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Hillary and Clinton by Lucas Hnath

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Kiss Me, Kate: Vocal Selections by Cole Porter

Oklahoma! The Complete Book and Lyrics of the Broadway Musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein

True West by Sam Shepard


New and Notable scripts:

The Band’s Visit

Cost of Living by Martyna Majok (winner 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama)

The Detroit Project: Three Plays by Dominique Morisseau: Paradise Blue, Detroit ’67 and Skeleton Crew.

100 Plays for the First Hundred Days by Suzan-Lori Parks

Mary Jane by Amy Herzog

Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith


2. Coffee Table Books


American Theatre Wing, An Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles

BAM: Next Wave Festival

Leonard Bernstein 100: The Masters Photograph the Maestro

Fraver by Design: Five Decades of Theatre Poster Art from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Beyond

Les Miserables: The Story of the World’s Longest Running Musical in Words, Pictures and Rare Memorabilia


3. History, Criticism, Memoir/Biography


Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and the Rivalry that Changed Acting Forever

Theatre of the Ridiculous: A Critical History

Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution

Rise Up! Broadway and American Society from Angels in America to Hamilton

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry

Ivo van Hove: From Shakespeare to David Bowie

Off Sites: Contemporary Performance beyond Site-Specific (Theater in the Americas)

Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance (Jewish Lives)

Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked Revised and Updated Second Ed.

Take You Wherever You Go a memoir by the director Kenny Leon

Making Oscar Wilde


4. For Fans, For Fun, For Kids

(Click on the book covers to find out more, and to purchase.)

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You



Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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