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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 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 on reserve as of November 2019; older edition ML2054 .K46 2008)
  • Kirle, Bruce.  Unfinished Show Business:  Broadway Musicals as Works-in-Process.  (ML2054 .K57 2005; on reserve as of November 2019)
  • 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)
  • Naden, Corinne J.  The Golden Age of American Musical Theatre:  1943-1965. (ML1711 .N22 2011; also as e-book)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Mandelbaum, Ken.  Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops. (ML1711.8 .N3 M13 1991)
  • Mordden, Ethan.  Ziegfeld:  The Man Who Invented Show Business.  (PN2287 .Z5 M67 2008)
  • 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)
  • 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:

  • 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

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.


More Books

Books by Dan Dietz

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