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Books: Biographies and Memoirs of Musical Writers

Biographies and Memoirs Take You Inside Musical Making

For anyone aspiring to write musicals, or musical enthusists, biographies provide some of the best close-ups and models for inspiration (or knowing what mistakes to avoid).

Defying Gravity: Learning from the creativity of Stephen Schwartz and his colleagues.

Defying Gravity writer Stephen Schwartz biographyDefying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked by Carol de Giere

As John Caird (Nicholas Nickleby, Les Miserables, Children of Eden) comments, this book is "most interesting on the complex collaborations behind his work and illuminates his particular genius for combining lyrical and melodic invention in the service of a good story."

"Stephen Schwartz is one of my favorite writers. His Godspell was the first professional production I ever saw and it inspired me to become a writer.  In Defying Gravity, Carol de Giere pulls back the curtain and gives us a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of one of the musical theater's greatest wizards.  Enjoy!" —Stephen Flaherty, Tony Award-winning composer of Ragtime, Seussical, and Once On This Island

Stephen Sondheim

There's an abundance of biographies and related books on Stephen Sondheim. Check out the list on Amazon.com: Stephen Sondheim biographies and related books

Rodgers and Hammerstein

Several books cover the life and works of Richard Rodgers, and naturally include Oscar Hammerstein II. Check Richard Rodgers biography

The Hammersteins: A Musical Theatre Family, published in 2010, explores the family context of Oscar Hammerstein II's work. What was it like to be a Hammerstein and write lyrics and book for such shows as Oklahoma, South Pacific, and The King and I? Find out in this work written by Oscar Hammerstein II's grandson Oscar Andrew Hammerstein.

Hammerstein and Lerner

The Wordsmiths cover - Hammerstein and LernerNow in paperback: The Wordsmiths: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd and Alan Jay Lerner (Great Songwriters)

Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished manuscripts, lyrics, letters, and interviews, Stephen Citrons dual biography brings to life the strikingly different worlds of Hammerstein and Lerner--two remarkable artists who revolutionized musical theater.

"Told with loving detail by that musical sleuth Stephen Citron, this is a great book about two great men. With forensic precision he has unearthed everything I wanted to know about my two heroes, and by doing so, has reminded the world of the magical legacy they left for all of us to relish."--Don Black, lyricist of Sunset Boulevard and Song and Dance

Charles Strouse's composer stories charm while they inform

Charles Strouse Composer Charles Strouse's memoir reveal his sense of humor that lasts through trials of flops. Of course you'll read stories of successes like Bye Bye Birdie and Annie as well. "Strouse's superb backstage memoir deserves a standing ovation."--Publishers Weekly Put on a Happy Face: A Broadway Memoir

Jerry Herman

Jerry Herman memoirJerry Herman's memoir Showtune offers another charming read. Learn about "Hello Dolly!," "Mame," "La Cage Aux Folles," and his others. Watch for stories about plagiarism disputes, and fighting with Broadway producers to know some of the real-life experiences of this man who has loved show business. Showtune: A Memoir

The 2004 Biography of Jerry Herman from Yale University Press Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune provides a positive view of this songwriter's talent and influence. From Publisher's Weekly, "When Citron isn’t lauding his subject... he does offer some knowledgeable insights into the musical qualities of Herman’s shows." Read more or buy it at: Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune

Kander and Ebb

Where would American musical theatre be without Cabaret, Chicago, and shows of this amazing writing team? Read about them in Colored Lights: Forty Years of Words and Music, Show Biz, Collaboration, and All That Jazz

George and Ira Gershwin

Gershwin - Fascinating RhythmFascinating Rhythm : The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin

By Deena Rosenberg. 560 pages. Here the collaboration between the brothers is the primary subject, along with biographical information.

And More

More to be added soon

To send questions or comments, write to the website publisher Carol de Giere. See the contact page.

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