Summer is in full swing and if you’re finding yourself in need of more theatre in your life, or if you’re just curious about your favorite shows, we’ve got a list of books every theatre fan should have on their shelf.
1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Go back to the wizarding world with the playscript of the award-winning production, currently running on Broadway. The story is set nineteen years after The Deathly Hallows and focuses on Harry’s son, Albus Potter, as he starts his first year at Hogwarts. Whether or not you consider it canon to the original series, the story is just as magical and shouldn’t be missed.
2. Hamilton: The Revolution; Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
Head backstage with Miranda and McCarter as they trace the production of Hamilton from its inception to opening night. Not only does the book include the full libretto for the musical (and some hilarious footnotes by Miranda), it also contains interviews with the performers, exclusive production photos, and Hamilton memorabilia.
3. Alexander Hamilton; Ron Chernow
And on that note, whether you’re a history buff or just obsessed with Alexander Hamilton, we’d recommend checking out the book that started the Hamilton phenomenon. Chernow’s biography of the Founding Father is what inspired the musical in the first place, and is considered to be one of the best historical accounts of Hamilton’s life.
4. The Backstagers, Vol. 1; James Tynion IV & Rian Sygh
A little different from the others on this list, The Backstagers is a young adult graphic novel about Jory, who joins the stage crew (known as the Backstagers) when he transfers to an all-boys school… and in turn finds a magical world behind the curtain–literally. The story and the artwork are an absolute delight and will definitely entertain any theatre fan this summer.
5. Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window; Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
If you want to head backstage again, check out this behind-the-scenes look from the creators of Dear Evan Hansen. Like The Revolution, this book contains interviews with the cast and crew, original production photos, the full libretto, and so, so much more. Whether or not you actually saw the musical, you’ll feel like you did.
6. Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel; Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, & Justin Paul
If that’s not enough, we recommend this novel based on the Dear Evan Hansen musical, written by Emmich and the show’s creators. Since this is a novelization of the musical, the story expands beyond what is seen onstage, using material based on scenes and songs the creators had to cut when developing Hansen.
7. Sugar, Butter, Flour: The Waitress Pie Book
This book might not be one you curl up on the couch with (or maybe you do, your choice), but it’s definitely the book for you if you want to challenge your pie-making skills this summer. Every recipe is “written” by Jenna Hunterson, the main character in Waitress, and celebrates the art of baking. Even if you’re not familiar with the show, the recipes are absolutely mouthwatering.
8. The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built; Jack Viertel
If you’ve ever been curious about what happens both on and off the stage when creating a Broadway musical, Viertel’s book offers a very informative look into all the moving pieces of putting on a show, from its structure to its success (or lack thereof). Definitely a must for any theatre buff!
9. Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway; Michael Riedel
Another in-depth look into Broadway, though from a more historical aspect, Razzle Dazzle sends its readers through time into how Broadway became what it is today. Whether or not you’re a fan of Riedel and his work in the New York Post, the book is fun, energetic, and full of inside information on the Great White Way.
10. Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History; Glen Berger
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was an ambitious musical that ultimately became the most expensive and dangerous Broadway production in history… and Berger was the co-writer who saw all of it from the beginning. If you’re curious about everything that happened (and what went wrong) with the production, check out Berger’s firsthand account of the controversial show.