Fans of musicals on stage and screen are cheering the recent New York Times headline, “‘La La Land’ Makes Musicals Matter Again.” And why not? What better antidote to hard times than the pleasure of singing (and possibly even dancing) along with hero and heroine on their way to better days? While we’re waiting to enjoy the pleasures of this musical on film, here are some recent Booklist-reviewed titles, a mix of print and audio, to prime the pump of our pleasure. Start humming now and dust off that white tie, top hat, and tails!
Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, read by Mariska Hargitay
Why consider the audio version? You get everything you get in print—the genesis of the musical and the details of its initial production—but there’s also Miranda himself reading the footnotes, and there’s nothing like vicariously sharing his enthusiasm for the project. A PDF duplicates the illustrations from the book, and the lyrics are all there. We only lack the music and singers.
Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, by Matthew Kennedy
A gossipy, in-depth, insider’s look at 75 iconic tunes, including “Willkommen” from Cabaret, “Old Man River” from Showboat, and “Memory” from Cats.
Liked those? Bitte. What we wouldn’t give for that extra bit more!
Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre, by Ethan Mordde
The Complete Book of 1940s Broadway Musicals, by Dan Dietz
Experiencing Broadway Music: A Listener’s Companion, by Kat Sherrell
Musicals on the Silver Screen: A Guide to the Must-See Movie Musicals, by Leonard Kniffel
Tradition! The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World’s Most Beloved Musical, by Barbara Isenberg, read by Adam Grupper