Designing Broadway, which looks like a coffee-table book jammed with gorgeous color photos and insider illustrations, is one of the finest examinations for both artists and people sitting in the seats for detailing the actual creative process in theater.
D.T. Max got Stephen Sondheim to reveal glimpses of his work process in five “interviews” but clearly, Max is almost as crucial, at least to him, for what’s in this book as what Sondheim says. At one point, Sondheim mentions that Max looks like Geoffrey Rush, but Max responds in a post-interview add-on that most people mistook him for Nicholas Cage when he was younger. And we care, why?
Noël Coward meant to write a full tome on “Theatre” but time, health and a score of other projects apparently got in the way. But Barry Day, a stage producer, biographer of literary figures, Sherlock Holmes novelist and prolific Coward devotee, realized that Coward had in essence done it indirectly. Thus, the germ for Noel Coward On (And In) The Theatre.
It’s almost impossible to accurately depict the guts of the creative process, let alone make its intricacies interesting. But director-librettist James Lapine has not only conquered that task, he and 40 colleagues have produced one of the most compelling and detailed inside examinations of the full process of the creation of theater, covering everything from word choice in a lyric to choosing the theater venue.
Most biographies factually mirror the life and times of their subject in a chronological narrative. But few mirror the complexity and structure of the subject’s own work with the stunning faithfulness of Hermione Lee’s exhaustive and exhausting epic examination of one of the greatest playwrights in English or any other language, Tom Stoppard: A Life.
The paradigm of theater as a co-creative art is repeatedly depicted in Bob Avian’s autobiography Dancing Man, an engrossing account of the creation of theater seen from the inside in an illuminating tale told with the fair clear-eyed vision of someone who loves the art and the artists but who rejects wearing rose-colored glasses.
Home is the place where they have to take you in, to paraphrase Robert Frost. It’s also the place where every family dynamic plays out — love, resentment, growing pains, conflict, chaos, worry and secrets — as shown in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s superb production of Brighton Beach Memoirs, smoothly directed with a first-class cast, the Maltz production hits all the high notes
If you’re a theater aficionado and received a nice check from your mother for the holidays or maybe from a busy relative gave you a gift card to Barnes & Noble, what should you spend it on? Here’s our review of a few books related to the arts.
Theater buffs are the easiest people to shop for on your holiday list, as our Brad Hathaway proves in his annual roundup.
Puzzled what to give that theater fan for the holidays. Check out Brad Hathaway’s suggestions. And of course, a season subscription is always welcome.