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The Book of Broadway: The 150 Definitive Plays and Musicals

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Be absorbed by the profiles of 150 of the biggest, most influential, and most important Broadway musicals and plays ever produced. Shows profiled include everything from the 1860s musical The Black Crook, which captivated and titillated audiences for more than five hours, to the Pulitzer Prize–winning 2010 play Clybourne Park. The men and women who shaped Broadway history-- Be absorbed by the profiles of 150 of the biggest, most influential, and most important Broadway musicals and plays ever produced. Shows profiled include everything from the 1860s musical The Black Crook, which captivated and titillated audiences for more than five hours, to the Pulitzer Prize–winning 2010 play Clybourne Park. The men and women who shaped Broadway history--Stephen Sondheim, Tennessee Williams, Bernadette Peters, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II--are celebrated for their groundbreaking work, and photographs throughout illustrate the stunning designs of the shows profiled. This compilation by Author Eric Grode--arts writer for The New York Times,and author of Hair: The Story of the Show That Defined a Generation--is the ultimate guide to Broadway shows. Even if you consider yourself an expert in the theater, you will be amazed by the fantastic Broadway trivia scattered throughout this volume, as well as the palpable sense of history in this encyclopedic treatment of one of our most beloved pastimes. Just a few of the titles included are: -Annie -The Book of Mormon -Bye Bye Birdie -Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -Chicago -Death of a Salesman -Fiddler on the Roof -Grease -Guys and Dolls -Hello, Dolly! -Kiss Me, Kate -Les Miserables -The Music Man -My Fair Lady -The Phantom of the Opera -Rent -Six Degrees of Separation -The Sound of Music -A Streetcar Named Desire -West Side Story


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Be absorbed by the profiles of 150 of the biggest, most influential, and most important Broadway musicals and plays ever produced. Shows profiled include everything from the 1860s musical The Black Crook, which captivated and titillated audiences for more than five hours, to the Pulitzer Prize–winning 2010 play Clybourne Park. The men and women who shaped Broadway history-- Be absorbed by the profiles of 150 of the biggest, most influential, and most important Broadway musicals and plays ever produced. Shows profiled include everything from the 1860s musical The Black Crook, which captivated and titillated audiences for more than five hours, to the Pulitzer Prize–winning 2010 play Clybourne Park. The men and women who shaped Broadway history--Stephen Sondheim, Tennessee Williams, Bernadette Peters, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II--are celebrated for their groundbreaking work, and photographs throughout illustrate the stunning designs of the shows profiled. This compilation by Author Eric Grode--arts writer for The New York Times,and author of Hair: The Story of the Show That Defined a Generation--is the ultimate guide to Broadway shows. Even if you consider yourself an expert in the theater, you will be amazed by the fantastic Broadway trivia scattered throughout this volume, as well as the palpable sense of history in this encyclopedic treatment of one of our most beloved pastimes. Just a few of the titles included are: -Annie -The Book of Mormon -Bye Bye Birdie -Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -Chicago -Death of a Salesman -Fiddler on the Roof -Grease -Guys and Dolls -Hello, Dolly! -Kiss Me, Kate -Les Miserables -The Music Man -My Fair Lady -The Phantom of the Opera -Rent -Six Degrees of Separation -The Sound of Music -A Streetcar Named Desire -West Side Story

30 review for The Book of Broadway: The 150 Definitive Plays and Musicals

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mariℓina

    If you are you a regular theater-goer, a self-proclaimed theater aficionado Or even you've never been to a performance in your entire life you still need this Broadway Encyclopedia to broaden your horizons or keep track of your favorite productions. In alphabetical order, you will discover some of the most important plays and musicals in an eye-catching presentation full of amazing photos, gorgeous graphics, a small info box and a short piece reviewing the production as a whole. The Book of Br If you are you a regular theater-goer, a self-proclaimed theater aficionado Or even you've never been to a performance in your entire life you still need this Broadway Encyclopedia to broaden your horizons or keep track of your favorite productions. In alphabetical order, you will discover some of the most important plays and musicals in an eye-catching presentation full of amazing photos, gorgeous graphics, a small info box and a short piece reviewing the production as a whole. The Book of Broadway is a very well-done compilation that works perfectly as a reference tool and at the same time as an impeccable coffee table book for theater lovers. Maybe you won't agree with all of the 150 choices of the author but that's the beauty of such books. I absolutely recommend this book as you already understand from my previous statements, but i have a tiny complaint; I wanted an extensive photographic index in the end, but that's just me loving photography, i don't think that it is a real problem for most readers. All in all, this is a great book. THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK - Many trivia, I love this. - Historical accuracy. - I want the hardcover edition for my collection. - The info box entails, Dates, Synopsis, Awards, Noted Revivals and Adaptations, Original Stars. - A few of the titles: Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Chicago, Death of a Salesman, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Six Degrees of Separation, The Sound of Music, A Streetcar Named Desire, West Side Story... ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stefania

    A wonderful insight into what made Broadway what it is today.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Markus

    The Book of Broadway is a great read for any theatregoer. With lovely colour photographs, info, and opinions, it highlights some of the key musicals and plays to grace a Broadway stage. Naturally, there will be shows that readers wish Grode had included. On the whole, I liked his picks, which covered many of my personal favourites and several plays new to me; however, I do wish he'd mentioned Next to Normal, which I believe is an important work from the last ten years. Other than that tiny gripe The Book of Broadway is a great read for any theatregoer. With lovely colour photographs, info, and opinions, it highlights some of the key musicals and plays to grace a Broadway stage. Naturally, there will be shows that readers wish Grode had included. On the whole, I liked his picks, which covered many of my personal favourites and several plays new to me; however, I do wish he'd mentioned Next to Normal, which I believe is an important work from the last ten years. Other than that tiny gripe, this is a great coffee table read that is sure to please any theatre fan. I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liana

    Actual rating: 3.5 stars The Book of Broadway is definitely a bizarre book. And when I say bizarre, I mean that it can’t be read in the way most books can. Or at least, I couldn’t read it like that. I couldn’t just sit down with a cup of coffee and read this book. That’s what I ended up doing, but I believe this was the reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much. I believe this is a book that should just sit on your bookshelf until you feel like reading a little Broadway gossip, or if you want to find Actual rating: 3.5 stars The Book of Broadway is definitely a bizarre book. And when I say bizarre, I mean that it can’t be read in the way most books can. Or at least, I couldn’t read it like that. I couldn’t just sit down with a cup of coffee and read this book. That’s what I ended up doing, but I believe this was the reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much. I believe this is a book that should just sit on your bookshelf until you feel like reading a little Broadway gossip, or if you want to find a new musical to watch or listen to. So, if you want to read it, here’s my advice: this book is not fiction and should not be read as such. That been said, it was a fairly interesting book. It included many of Broadway’s most important and popular plays, some bits of background history and backstage gossip to keep things light and interesting, and a little synopsis as well as the original cast and creators. I did skip some plays that didn’t particularly interest me, but the plays I read, I enjoyed. Whether I was already familiar with them or not, whether I had listened to the recordings or not, I could always find something that’d keep me interested; but, with only 2 pages being dedicated to each play, that wasn’t a difficult task to begin with. Another thing I enjoyed were the pictures that’d accompany each play, offering a glimpse into the glamorous world of Broadway. **An ARC was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review**

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was an awesome book. For anyone who loves Broadway this is the book. I even learned somethings new. Many plays from the early 1900's were made into movies. I don't know if that is lack of imagination or that these plays were so good that they wanted to try their hands at movies. Either way this book is wonderful. This was an awesome book. For anyone who loves Broadway this is the book. I even learned somethings new. Many plays from the early 1900's were made into movies. I don't know if that is lack of imagination or that these plays were so good that they wanted to try their hands at movies. Either way this book is wonderful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    The amount of stories in this book revolving around the iconic Broadway is vast. The history, brilliance and innate talent that was and is preformed is truly magnificent. This book summed it all up quite well. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thank you!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ana Garza

    This was great! I am new to the Broadway world and it was fun to read about all the musicals I've missed out on and having the synopsis, other versions and pictures. Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this novel. This was great! I am new to the Broadway world and it was fun to read about all the musicals I've missed out on and having the synopsis, other versions and pictures. Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this novel.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judi

    Broadway - the lights, the stars, the music, the shows… this massive volume highlights 150 shows (plays and musicals) - most well-known, but some rather obscure to a modern ear. If nothing else, this tome provides a fabulous romp through theater’s golden ages, spotlighting famous names and tunes… quite a wonderful run through what shows were popular in their day - and why.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma Davis

    I quite enjoyed this book overall, although I admit the author's writing style was a bit drab at times. Overall it is what to be expected; full of Broadway history, and brief overviews of some historical shows. It included my personal favorite musical, Phantom, so that alone warranted four stars from me! :P I quite enjoyed this book overall, although I admit the author's writing style was a bit drab at times. Overall it is what to be expected; full of Broadway history, and brief overviews of some historical shows. It included my personal favorite musical, Phantom, so that alone warranted four stars from me! :P

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    This would make a nice coffee-table book. I enjoyed the pictures from past Broadway performances, as well as the brief history and anecdotes from each one. I'm not really an aficionado, so I didn't recognize a lot of the shows mentioned, but the information and history was interesting. This would make a nice coffee-table book. I enjoyed the pictures from past Broadway performances, as well as the brief history and anecdotes from each one. I'm not really an aficionado, so I didn't recognize a lot of the shows mentioned, but the information and history was interesting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Liked looking at some of the old shows. Nice background info.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John Plowright

    Eric Grode’s ‘The Book of Broadway. The Definitive Plays and Musicals’ was originally published in 2015, with the subtitle ‘The 150 Definitive Plays and Musicals’. Entries are alphabetical, from ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ to the ‘Ziegfeld Follies of 1919’. There are now more than 150 profiles of plays and musicals as there are new entries for ‘The Cradle Will Rock’, ‘Hamilton’, ‘Journey’s End’, ‘The Threepenny Opera’ and ‘Topdog/Underdog’. As well as providing the key facts about each production (openin Eric Grode’s ‘The Book of Broadway. The Definitive Plays and Musicals’ was originally published in 2015, with the subtitle ‘The 150 Definitive Plays and Musicals’. Entries are alphabetical, from ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ to the ‘Ziegfeld Follies of 1919’. There are now more than 150 profiles of plays and musicals as there are new entries for ‘The Cradle Will Rock’, ‘Hamilton’, ‘Journey’s End’, ‘The Threepenny Opera’ and ‘Topdog/Underdog’. As well as providing the key facts about each production (opening date; number of performances; synopsis; awards; revivals and adaptations; and original stars) there’s a brief but illuminating and anecdote-packed mini-essay placing each play or musical in context. The whole package comes lavishly illustrated in both black and white and colour. So what’s not to like? In the Introduction Grode sets out his criteria for inclusion. Some, such as “inherent quality” he rightly admits are highly subjective. Otherwise the most obviously arbitrary criterion is his decision to ignore all works dating from the pre-Broadway era. Thus Ibsen (for ‘A Doll’s House’), Shaw (for ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’ and “Pygmalion’) and Wilde (for ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’) are all in but the likes of Sophocles, Shakespeare and Chekov are out (Shaw even gets a third bite of the cherry if you count ‘My Fair Lady’). This means, for example, that Richard Burton’s towering Tony award-winning performance as ‘Hamlet’, which at 137 performances set the record for the longest run of the play in Broadway history, is excluded. Burton generally fares poorly in ‘The Book of Broadway’, for although there are name checks in passing in the entries on Coward’s ‘Private Lives’ and Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ his ‘Camelot’ (which in its original production notched up 873 performances and 2 previews) is a notable omission. It almost seems as if there's some bias on Grode’s part against Port Talbot! Thus although Peter Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’ appears, his ‘Equus’, in which Anthony Hopkins played Dysart and which actually notched up more Broadway performances than ‘Amadeus’, is omitted. It is, however, the missing musicals which are most likely to raise eyebrows, as in addition to ‘Camelot’ they include ‘Oliver!’, ‘Funny Girl’, ‘Half a Sixpence’, Oh, What a Lovely War!’, ‘Sweet Charity’, ‘Starlight Express’, ‘Spamalot ‘, ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘Mamma Mia!’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Mind you, one of the beauties of ‘The Book of Broadway’ is precisely the fact that it can give rise to endless debate about what should and what should not have been included. The only answer, and one devoutly to be wished for, is for yet another and substantially expanded edition.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'The Book of Broadway: The Definitive Plays and Musicals' by Eric Grode makes a bold statement with it's title, but with 150 profiles of musicals and plays, I think it's valid. The book only deals with theater that has made it to Broadway. It presents the picks in A to Z format. Initially, I wished it had been done chronologically, but I ended up agreeing with this arrangement. So from Abie's Irish Rose to Ziegfeld Follies of 1919, they are presented. There is writing about the plays including wh 'The Book of Broadway: The Definitive Plays and Musicals' by Eric Grode makes a bold statement with it's title, but with 150 profiles of musicals and plays, I think it's valid. The book only deals with theater that has made it to Broadway. It presents the picks in A to Z format. Initially, I wished it had been done chronologically, but I ended up agreeing with this arrangement. So from Abie's Irish Rose to Ziegfeld Follies of 1919, they are presented. There is writing about the plays including why they might have been picked. Every show picked includes original run dates, notable revivals (including tv and movies) and some of the original stars. As a theater goer, I really enjoyed poring over this book with it's 300+ pictures. I recognized shows I've been to and put some shows on my "to see" list, although I think I've missed my chance to see Irving Berlin in Yip Yip Yaphank. The alphabetical presentation showed side by side how theater has changed, and how it hasn't. I had a great time reading this book. I received a review copy of this ebook from Quarto Publishing Group - Voyageur Press, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Book of Broadway by Eric Grode is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-June. A giant tome of a book with a two-page snippet of nearly 200 Broadway plays (indicating their production dates, synopsis, awards won, original stars, revivals and adaptations, information about the playwright, the goings-on of American culture at the time of its release, the author's reactions, noted lines and songs, critical acclaim, etc.), alphabetically from Abie's Irish Rose to the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919. The Book of Broadway by Eric Grode is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-June. A giant tome of a book with a two-page snippet of nearly 200 Broadway plays (indicating their production dates, synopsis, awards won, original stars, revivals and adaptations, information about the playwright, the goings-on of American culture at the time of its release, the author's reactions, noted lines and songs, critical acclaim, etc.), alphabetically from Abie's Irish Rose to the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919. It's a highly comprehensive book that pulls no punches and that I learned a lot from.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    This book is a must have for anyone who loves theatre and musicals. The book is a list of definitive Broadway shows, each show listed is accompanied by photographs and a 2-3 page blurb explaining what it’s about and why it has made the list. I think there were some huge shows missed out but overall they are great choices and I enjoyed reading about them all, some shows had information mentioned that I hadn’t heard before as well, which was a pleasant surprise. It’s a nice little keepsake for This book is a must have for anyone who loves theatre and musicals. The book is a list of definitive Broadway shows, each show listed is accompanied by photographs and a 2-3 page blurb explaining what it’s about and why it has made the list. I think there were some huge shows missed out but overall they are great choices and I enjoyed reading about them all, some shows had information mentioned that I hadn’t heard before as well, which was a pleasant surprise. It’s a nice little keepsake for any theatre geek.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Cass

    I really need to get this as a coffee table book. The pictures are fabulous, the stories of the shows were succinct, with just enough detail, and the quick facts were good for those you could pass by quicker. One notable show missing? Aida! Not sure how it didn't make the list. I'm also not sure on the alphabetical format...I almost would have preferred by original premier date. Either way...it's Broadway, baby. I'm sooo on board. I received a copy free via netgalley. All opinions are my own. I really need to get this as a coffee table book. The pictures are fabulous, the stories of the shows were succinct, with just enough detail, and the quick facts were good for those you could pass by quicker. One notable show missing? Aida! Not sure how it didn't make the list. I'm also not sure on the alphabetical format...I almost would have preferred by original premier date. Either way...it's Broadway, baby. I'm sooo on board. I received a copy free via netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Long

    I love, love this book! Has every Broadway Show you can think of and more. This book has photographs from each show and the history behind the creation and production of each one. It also give information on the original leading cast of the original show. This book is defiantly for the Broadway enthusiasts

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Krill

    It looks like a coffee-table book, but has deep content. It really is a keeper of a reference book for play-goers. The history of Broadway plays, the casts, the revivals, and more are all there. Mr. Grode made idiosyncratic choices, so the book is not encyclopedic. But I agree with his choices.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kellen Quigley

    You learn all sorts of behind the scenes tidbits about the shows you thought you knew so well, as well as discover a bunch of new shows you never knew before but wish you could see them now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Black Nakia

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Krauss

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily Iverson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kay

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Pearcy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danny

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ray LaManna

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy Walduck

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