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Musical Theatre: Books

Books by Ethan Mordden

History of the Musical

Ethan Mordden has written a decade-by-decade survey of American musicals, analyzing each musical of the decade, plus an overview (Anything Goes, the first book on this list):

  • Anything Goes:  A History of American Musical Theatre (ML1711 .M732 2013)
  • Make Believe:  The Broadway Musical in the 1920s (ML 1711.8 N3M78 1997)
  • Sing for Your Supper:  The Broadway Musical in the 1930s (ML1711.8 .N3 M785 2005)
  • Beautiful Mornin’:  The Broadway Musical in the 1940s (ML1711.8 .N3 M768 1999, also available as an e-book)
  • Coming up Roses:  The Broadway Musical in the 1950s (ML1711.8 .N3 M77 2000)
  • Open a New Window:  The Broadway Musical in the 1960s (ML2054 .M67 2002)
  • One More Kiss:  The Broadway Musical in the 1970s (ML1711.8 .N3 M783 2003, also available as an e-book
  • The Happiest Corpse I’ve Ever Seen:  The Last Twenty-five Years of the Broadway Musical (ML1711 .M734 2004)


Dan Dietz has written a series of books that provides detailed factual information on each musical for the following decades:

  • The Complete Book of 1920s Broadway Musicals (ML 1711.8 ,N3 D516 2019)
  • The Complete Books of 1930s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D517 2018)
  • The Complete Books of 1940s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D518 2015)
  • The Complete Books of 1950s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D52 2014; also available as an e-book)
  • The Complete Books of 1960s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D53 2014; also available as an e-book)
  • The Complete Books of 1970s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D532 2015)
  • The Complete Books of 1980s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D533 2016)
  • The Complete Books of 1990s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D534 2016)
  • The Complete Books of 2000s Broadway Musicals (ML1711.8 .N3 D535 2017)


Other books in Lewis Library on the history of musical theatre include:

  • Block, Geoffrey Holden.  Enchanted Evenings:  The Broadway Musical from Show Boat to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber.   (ML1711.8 .N3 B56 1997; 2009  edition available as an e-book
  • Bordman, Gerald.  American Musical Theater:  A Chronicle.  3rd ed. (2001) available as an e-book; 2nd ed in REF (REF ML1711 .B67 1992)
  • Everett, William.  The Cambridge Companion to the Musical.  (ML2054 .C355 2002)
  • Gottfried, Martin. Broadway Musicals and More Broadway Musicals:  Since 1980.  (Oversize area on Upper Level - ML 1711.8 .N3 G68 1979 and ML1711.8 .N3 G69 1991)
  • Grant, Mark N.  The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical (ML 1711.8 .N3 G727 2004)
  • Hurwitz, Nathaniel.  A History of the American Musical Theatre:  No Business Like It.  (ML1711 .H87 2014)
  • Kenrick John.  Musical Theatre:  A History.  (2nd edition ML1700 .K46 2017; older edition ML2054 .K46 2008)
  • Kirle, Bruce.  Unfinished Show Business:  Broadway Musicals as Works-in-Process.  (ML2054 .K57 2005)
  • Lamb, Andrew.  150 Years of Popular Musical Theatre.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2000. (ML 2054 .L35 2000)
  • Leve, James.  American Musical Theater (ML 1711 .L48 2016)
  • Lewis, David H. Broadway Musicals:  A Hundred Year History (ML 2054 .L48 2002)
  • Maslon, Laurence.  Broadway:  The American Musical.  (ML1711.8 .N3 M37 2004)
  • Miller, Scott.  Strike Up the Band:  A New History of the Musical Theatre.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann, 2007.  (ML 1711.5 .M55 2007)
  • Naden, Corinne J.  The Golden Age of American Musical Theatre:  1943-1965. (ML1711 .N22 2011; also as e-book)
  • Patinkin, Sheldon.  “No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance”:  A History of the American Musical Theater.  Evanston, IL:  Northwestern UP, 2008.   (ML 1711 .P37 2008)
  • Singer, Barry.  The Last Years of Musical Theater and Beyond.  (ML1711.5 .S566 2004)
  • Sternefeld, Jessica.  The Megamusical.  Indiana University Press, 2006. E-book
  • Wollman, Elizabeth L.  The Theater Will Rock:  A History of the Rock Musical from Hair to Hedwig.  University of Michigan Press, 2009.  Available as an e-book.


We also have the DVD of the PBS documentary Broadway:  The American Musical (DVD ML1711.8 .N300 B762 2004); the six episodes cover the years 1893 to 2004.

For British musical theatre:

  • Gänzl, Kurt.  The British Musical Theatre.  (ML 1731.8 .G36 1986, 2 vols.)

Books on individual musicals:

  • Kreuger, Miles.  Show Boat:  The Story of a Classic American Musical.  (ML410 .K385 K7)
  • Hollis, Alpert.  The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess.  (ML410 .G288 A36 1990)
  • Horowitz, Joseph.  “On My Way”: The Untold Story of Rouben Mamoulian, George Gershwin, and Porgy and Bess.  New York:  W.W. Norton, 2013.  (ML 410 .G288 H67 2013)
  • McClung, Bruce D.  Lady in the Dark:  The Biography of a Musical.  (Oxford University Press, 2007)  E-book
  • Carter, Tim.  Oklahoma:  The Making of an American Musical.  Yale, 2007.  E-book
  • Wells, Elizabeth Anne.  West Side Story:  Cultural Perspectives on an American Musical. (ML410 .B566 W45 2011; also available as an e-book)
  • Berson, Misha.  Something’s Coming, Something Good:  West Side Story and the American Imagination.  Milwaukee:  Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2011. (ML410 .B566 B57 2011)
  • Viagas, Robert.   On the Line:  The Creation of A Chorus Line. (ML410 .H1745 V5 1990)
  • Perry, George C.  The Complete Phantom of the Opera.  (ML410 .L78 P5 1991 X)
  • Gänzl, Kurt.  The Complete Aspects of Love.  (ML410 .L78 G36 1990)
  • Laird, Paul R.  Wicked:  A Musical Biography.  (ML410 .S42 L38 2011)
  • Romano, Renee, ed.  Historians on Hamilton:  How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America's Past.  (ML410 .M67976 H57 2018)


More books

  • Bloom, Ken & Frank Vlastnik.  Broadway Musicals:  The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time.  (ML102 .M88 B56 2004)
  • Hillman-Cord, Jessica.  Echoes of the Holocaust on the American Musical Stage (ML 1711 .H38 2012)
  • Hischak, Thomas.  Through the Screen Door:  What Happened to the Broadway Musical When It Went to Hollywood.  (ML1711 .H422 2004)
  • Hoffman, Warren.  The Great White Way:  Race and the Broadway Musical.  New Brunswick;  Rutgers University Press, 2014.  (ML 3918 .M85 H64 2014; also available as an e-book)
  • Jackson, Arthur.  The Best Musicals from Show Boat to A Chorus Line. (ML 1950 .J22)
  • Knapp, Raymond.  The American Musical and the Formation of Personal Identity.  (ML2054 .K6 2006, also as e-book)
  • Laufe, Abe.  Broadway’s Greatest Musicals.  (ML1711.8 .N3 L4)
  • Lawson-Peebles, Robrt.  Approaches to the American Musical.  Exeter:  University of Exeter Press, 1996.  (ML1711 .L38 1996)
  • Mandelbaum, Ken.  Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops. (ML1711.8 .N3 M13 1991)
  • Miller, Scott.  Rebels with Applause:  Broadway’s Groundbreaking Musicals.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann, 2001.  (ML2054 .M55 2001)
  • Mordden, Ethan.  Ziegfeld:  The Man Who Invented Show Business.  (PN2287 .Z5 M67 2008)
  • Propst, Andy.  The 100 Most Important People in Musical Theatre.  (ML 102 .M875 P76 2019)
  • Simas, Rick.  The Musicals No One Came to See:  A Guidebook to Four Decades of Musical-Comedy Casualties on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in Out-of-town Tryout, 1943-1983.  (ML128 .M78 S5 1987)
  • Swain, Joseph P.  The Broadway Musical: A Critical and Musical Survey.  Lanham, MD:  Scarecriow Press, 2002.  2nd ed.  (ML2054 .S93 2002)
  • Viertel, Jack.  The Secret Life of the American Musical:  How Broadway Shows Are Built (ML 1711 .V37 2016)


Chapter in Cambridge History of American Music (ML 420 .C36 1998) – “Popular Song and Popular Music on Stage and Film” by Stephen Banfield


Directors & Choreographers

Our books on musical theatre directors and choreographers include:

  • Cramer, Lyn.  Creating Musical Theatre:  Conversations with Broadway Directors and Choreographers.  London:  Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2013.  (ML 2054 .C73 2013)
  • De Mille, Agnes.  Dance to the Piper & And Promenade Home:  A Two-part Autobiography.  (GV1785 .D366 A3 1982)
  • Grubb, Kevin Boyd.  Razzle Dazzle:  The Art and Life of Bob Fosse.  (GV1785 .F67 G78 1989)
  • Ilson, Carroll.  Harold Prince:  From Pajama Game to Phantom of the Opera.  (PN2287 .P73 I47 1989)
  • Jowitt, Deborah.  Jerome Robbins:  His Life, His Theater, His Dance.  (GV1785 .R52 J69 2004)
  • Kislan, Richard.  Hoofing on Broadway:  A History of Show Dancing.  Prentice Hall Press,1987.  (GV1623 .K57 1987)
  • Lawrence, Greg.  Dance with Demons:  The Life of Jerome Robbins.  Putnam, 2001.  Available as an e-book.
  • Mandelbaum, Ken.  A Chorus Line and the Musicals of Michael Bennett.  (PN2287 .B4323 M36 1989)
  • Payne-Carter, David.  Gower Champion:  Dance and American Musical Theatre.  Greenwood Press, 1999.  Available as an e-book.
  • Thelen, Lawrence.  The Show Makers:  Great Directors of the American Musical Theatre.  Routledge, 2000.  Available as an e-book
  • Wasson, Sam.  Fosse.  Houghton Mifflin, 2013.  (GV 1785 .F67 W37 2013)

Ask the reference librarian for more sources.  You’ll find articles about creators of musicals, and interviews with them, in our databases, for example International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance.  This database provides full text for the book Art of the American Musical:  Conversations with the Creators.  (Rutgers University Press, 2005), including interviews with Kathleen Marshall, Harold PrinceSusan Stroman, and Tommy Tune.


Books by Dan Dietz

More Books

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