Below is a list of theater books to read in 2022, most of which were published in 2021.‡ Click on the titles to find more information and to purchase these books, grouped under four categories: 1. Scripts, 2. Memoir and Biography. 3. History, Criticism and Reference. 4. For Show Fans.
There are 50 titles listed below. I put an asterisk next to a handful of books published in 2021 that I read, reviewed and generally recommend, albeit sometimes with caveats, which are explained in my reviews. Those books on this list that are without an * are either scripts, all of which I’ve read and more or less all of which I recommend reading, or books that I’m eager to get to in 2022.
There’s no requirement that you read recently published books in 2022. Check out: The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years (all available to read) and 15 Great Books About The Theater, a list I put together (with readers’ help) in 2017. If you have time to read just one theater book in the coming year, I recommend one published in 2020, James Shapiro’s Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future (My review.)
Coming to Broadway
The following are the scripts of plays and musicals (or related books if the script is not published) scheduled for Broadway in Spring, 2022, listed alphabetically by title.
American Buffalo by David Mamet
A Strange Loop by Michael R. Jackson
Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle
Noah Haidle: Three Plays
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange
Funny Girl: Vocal Selections from the Broadway Musical
How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Plaza Suite; a Comedy in Three Acts by Neil Simon
Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau
Take Me Out: A Play by Richard Greenberg
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Minutes by Tracy Letts
Vocal Selections From “The Music Man”
The Skin of Our Teeth: A Play by Thornton Wilder
New and Notable
Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee
Clyde’s by Lynn Nottage (June 14, 2022)
The Greek Trilogy of Luis Alfaro: Electricidad; Oedipus El Rey; Mojada
He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box and Other Plays by Adrienne Kennedy
Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery
Is God Is / What to Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris (February 8, 2022)
Leopoldstadt by Tom Stoppard
Medicine & The Same: Two Plays by Enda Walsh
Mlima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage
The Thanksgiving Play / What Would Crazy Horse Do? by Larissa Fasthorse.
White Noise by Suzan-Lori Parks (March 1, 2022)
2. Memoir and Biography
All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business by Mel Brooks.
Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life by Alan Cumming
I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir by Harvey Fierstein (March 1, 2022.)
*My Broken Language: A Memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes (my review)
*Unprotected: A Memoir by Billy Porter (my review)
*Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (my review)
Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson
Emily Mann: Rebel Artist of the American Theater by Alexis Greene
*Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris (my review)
That’s Entertainment: A Biography of Broadway Composer Arthur Schwartz by Tighe Zimmers
Oscar Wilde: A Life by Matthew Sturgis
In between biography and memoir or history
Noel Coward on (and in) Theatre edited by Barry Day
*Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created ‘Sunday in the Park with George by James Lapine (my review)
Blue Song: St. Louis in the Life and Work of Tennessee Williams by Henry I. Schvey.
3. History, Criticism and Reference Books
Affair of the Heart: British Theatre from 1992 to 2020 by Michael Billingsley (a collection of his theater reviews, with intros that put them into cultural and historical context.)
Another Day’s Begun:Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in the 21st Century by Howard Sherman.
*The Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939: Engagement and Experimentation by Rania Karoula (my review)
Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way (The Sparkling Story of Broadway’s Black History Heartbreaks and Triumph) by Caseen Gaines
Making Broadway Dance by Liza Gennaro
*Pick a Pocket Or Two: A… History of British Musical Theatre by Ethan Mordden (my review)
*The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia by Rick Pender
*Theater of Lockdown: Digital and Distanced Performance in a Time of Pandemic by Barbara Fuchs (my review)
Toward a Future Theatre: Conversations during a Pandemic interviews by Caridad Svich
*Working Backstage: A Cultural History and Ethnography of Technical Theater Labor by Christin Essen. (My review)
4. For Show Fans
*In the Heights: Finding Home by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes and Jeremy McCarter. (my review.)
‡ A few books (mostly the Broadway scripts) were published in previous years. A number of others are scheduled for 2022; their publication dates are put in parentheses. Your purchase through some of the links above may generate a small commission.