The ultimate gift list for theatre fans: Broadway special
Want some stagey treat ideas for your nearest and dearest and yourself?
If you or your loved ones are missing those trips to the Great White Way or it's somewhere that you've always longed to visit, these books will give you some amazing insights into Broadway and how it all began as well as going behind the scenes of some brand-new hit musicals. Why not use this lockdown time to become an expert!
SINGULAR SENSATION – THE TRIUMPH OF BROADWAY (Hardback)
Michael Riedel RRP - £21.29 For anyone that has already devoured his 2015 book Razzle Dazzle, trust us, this sequel will be top of their wish-list. Picking up where RD left off, Riedel takes up back to the dawn of the nineties when the British invasion of Broadway was at its height. When that era began to wane it ushered in a new wave of American musicals, led by Jonathan Larsson's smash Rent. Riedel takes us backstage, into production offices and rehearsal rooms documenting how a different breed of producers rose up to challenge the grip theatre owners held on Broadway. And just as theatre clawed its way back into the mainstream of American popular culture the September 11 attacks closed the Great White Way. Embodying the true spirit of "The show must go on" theatres were open just 48 hours later.
THE ABCS OF BROADWAY MUSICALS: A CIVILIAN'S GUIDE (Print Edition)
Scott Miller RRP - £3.83
The ABCs of Broadway Musicals: A Civilian's Guide is a fun, easy-to-read, totally non-intimidating way to get a basic understanding of this most American of art forms, the musical theatre, including a very brief history of musicals, a survey of important and well-known shows, examples of the wide and wild variety of musicals, a look at the amazing people who create musicals, and a sense of how Broadway musicals reflect and comment on our culture. You'll never feel lost again in a conversation about musical theatre, and you'll enjoy seeing musicals more than ever. Even hardcore musical lovers may learn something from this little book!
WORKING ON A SONG: THE LYRICS OF HADESTOWN (Paperback)
Anaïs Mitchell RRP - £9.99
"Working On A Song is one of the best books about lyric writing for the theater I've read." Lin-Manuel Miranda
First seen on these shores at the National Theatre in 2018 before it opened on Broadway and went on to win eight Tony Awards including Best New Musical, Hadestown was widely rumoured to be returning to London before COVID-19 put paid to that. If like us your patience is running out and you're desperate to see the show, this illuminating book of lyrics and stories from its author, the songwriter Anaïs Mitchell will help fill the gap until you can. It details her decade long process in creating this original show taking a fresh look at the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, originating music and lyrics that eventually gave birth to Hadestown, described by The Wall Street Journal as 'the best new musical of the season'.
JAGGED LITTLE PILL (Hardback)
Alanis Morrisette RRP: £30.00
Yet another of the hundreds of theatrical casualties of COVID-19, the Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill based on the Grammy-Award winning album of the same name closed on 12 March. Even though it had only been open for just over three months it scooped 15, yes FIFTEEN Tony Award nominations. A reunion concert is set for 2021 but even if we could get to New York to enjoy it, we want to see the original production first in all its glory. Join us and take heart with this new book; it takes us behind the scenes of the show with stunning photography, original in-depth interviews and an introduction from Alanis Morissette herself on the album's journey from release to acclaimed musical. Jagged Little Pill was hailed as "joyful and redemptive, rousing and real" by The New York Times. Read this and see why.
Mark A Robinson RRP: £17.99
Musical Misfires: Three Decades of Broadway Musical Heartbreak looks at 151 musicals between 1989 and 2020 that did not run long enough to be considered hits. Some of these were superb pieces of musical theatre that, for one reason or another, couldn't find an audience, did not please the critics, couldn't pay the high weekly bills, or just were not right for the time and place in which they opened. Oft-overlooked gems such as The Scottsboro Boys, Grey Gardens and Xanadu are explored alongside such famous musicals as American Idiot, Victor/Victoria, Seussical and many more that never reached hit status on Broadway.
Illustrated with photographs and filled with backstage stories, reviews from the press, and commentary on why the musicals were not hits, Musical Misfires is indispensable reading for anyone who loves musical theatre, both its triumphs and it heartbreaks.
RRP - £10.72
This deluxe wall calendar gift set is perfect for the Broadway enthusiast in your life and will hopefully keep them going in spirit if nothing else until the Great White Way re-opens in Spring 2021. Fingers crossed!
The calendar is printed on premium heavyweight paper measuring 12" x 12" closed and 12" x 24" when opened. It also includes a separate pack of over 100 stickers to decorate your calendar with marking everyday events such as school functions, doctor's appointments, holidays etc.
More importantly it contains a stunning collection of fully licenced Broadway photographs (no dodgy, counterfeit images here) for you can gaze at, reminisce over and help you keep the faith until Broadway re-opens.
RRP - £19.99
Two separate bouts of lockdown this year have reignited a passion for jigsaw puzzles for all age groups as we struggle to find ways to pass the time. At one point puzzles were harder to get hold of than winning lottery tickets. However if you're bored of scenic landscapes, cute animals and famous paintings or you've simply lost the will to live with those fiendishly challenging ones of a plate of baked beans or a bowl of jelly babies, try this Broadway Musicals version to lighten your mood.
This 1,000 wooden puzzle (measuring 75cms x 50cms when completed) features images and logos from pretty much every Broadway musical you can name. Why not pop on your favourite show-tunes and lose yourself for a an hour or so. Jigsaw puzzles are proven to lower stress levels (apart from the baked beans one maybe), reduce your blood pressure and slow down your breathing. Perfect for boxing day.
RAZZLE DAZZLE (Paperback/Kindle edition also available)
Michael Riedel RRP - £10.65
We've already given a huge plug to Riedel's new book but no list of must-have Broadway themed gifts would be complete without the prequel, Razzle Dazzle. For any theatre fan this is a fascinating, meticulous, detailed and engaging history of the Great White Way from the 1970s onwards. It gives life to the legendary names of Shubert, Jacobs and Schoenfeld as it documents the transition of a seedy, crumbling Times Square to the glitzy, heaving theatre district that we now know and love.
We LOVE this book at WOS – it's the equivalent of a Dan Brown-esque page-turning thriller for all theatre nerds. It has drama, scandal, intrigue and bitter rivalry – with the added bonus of fabulous show-tunes. What more could you possible ask for? Apart from the sequel maybe? See above…