Theater Books of 2021 to Read in 2022

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.)

1. Scripts

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.


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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