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Get Ready for LA LA LAND with These Books about Musicals


A scene from La-La Land, in theaters this month

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

roadshow-matthew-kenneyInterested in what happened to the musical and why it mostly disappeared from film? Kennedy offers a well-researched theory and entertaining details of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Showstoppers! The Surprising Backstage Stories of Broadway’s Most Remarkable Songs, by Gerald Nachman

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: The Definitive Illustrated Story

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



About the Author:

Joyce Saricks is Booklist's Audio Editor. In addition to overseeing audiobook coverage, she writes the column "At Leisure with Joyce Saricks." While listening to audiobooks, she enjoys her hobbies—cooking, walking, and traveling. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Joyce.

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