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Check out our Biographies and Autobiographies in the AMDA New York Library! This collection is located behind the reference desk.
Featured Items in this Collection
George Gershwin by
Call Number: ML 410 .G477 P65 2006
Publication Date: 2007-01-15
Howard Pollack draws from a wealth of sketches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, books, articles, recordings, films, and other materials--including a large cache of Gershwin scores discovered in a Warner Brothers warehouse in 1982--to create an expansive chronicle of Gershwin's meteoric rise to fame. He also traces Gershwin's powerful presence that, even today, extends from Broadway, jazz clubs, and film scores to symphony halls and opera houses. Pollack's lively narrative describes Gershwin's family, childhood, and education; his early career as a pianist; his friendships and romantic life; his relation to various musical trends; his writings on music; his working methods; and his tragic death at the age of 38. The author surveys Gershwin's entire oeuvre, from his first surviving compositions to the melodies that his brother and principal collaborator, Ira Gershwin, lyricized after his death. Pollack concludes with an exploration of the performances and critical reception of Gershwin's music over the years, from his time to ours.
Harold Prince and the American Musical Theater by
Call Number: ML 429 .P75 H57 2005
Publication Date: 2005-04-01
Here is a complete look at the outstanding career of Harold Prince, the most honored and influential producer/director in the history of postwar America. Foster Hirsch has updated the 1989 edition of this book to include Prince's more recent work on Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade and the award-winning revival of Show Boat . He most notably gives an account of the creation and fortunes of Bounce , the 2003 musical that reunited Prince and Sondheim for the first time in 20 years. Prince gave Hirsch privileged, behind-the-scenes info during Bounce's pre-production process that makes for riveting reading. The book is illustrated with numerous rare photos of Prince's work, making it a must for any theatre fan! "Hirsch's book is marvelous, containing some of the best analysis of major musicals I've ever come across." Ken Mandelbaum, Theater Week
Hermes Pan by
Call Number: GV 1785 .P36 F73 2012
Publication Date: 2012-06-12
Hermes Pan: The Man who Danced with Fred Astaire is a rags-to-riches story about a boy from Tennessee who, armed with only an 8th grade education, an inexhaustible imagination, and an innate talent for dancing becomes the most prolific and popular choreographer of the glory days of the Hollywood musical. As luck would have it, Pan's movie career began and ended working with Fred Astaire, the most famous dancer on film. The pair made nearly two dozen movies and television shows together and in Astaire, Pan found an artistic soul mate with whom he would develop a symbiotic relationship for the rest of his life. A devout Roman Catholic, Hermes was interested in perfecting the souls as well as the physical technique of his dancers and the book explores the profound effect he had on the lives of stars such as June Haver, Ann Miller, Rita Hayworth, Linda Darnell, Ginger Rogers, and Betty Grable. The book examines each of Pan's eighty-nine films offering a panoramic view of Pan's choreography from "Flying Down to Rio" in 1933 to "Aiutami a sognare" (Help Me Dream) in 1980 and comments on the development of Pan's art throughout his fifty-year career.
Pick Yourself Up by
Call Number: ML 423 .F54 G74 2010
Publication Date: 2010-08-24
Dorothy Fields was part of a famous theatrical family- her father was the comedian and producer Lew Fields and her brother Herbert wrote the book for many of the famous Rodgers and Hart musicals. Dorothy Fields was best known as a lyricist, one of the few women who played a central role inthe great period of American popular song from 1920 to 1960. She also wrote the book for several Broadway musicals, the most famous being Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. Dorothy Fields first became prominent writing the lyrics for Cotton Club shows in Harlem in the late 1920s and 1930s, which included such songs as "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," and "On the Sunny Side of the Street." Her most successful collaboration was with the great songwriter Jerome Kern on three 1930s films, including the incomparable Swing Time with Rogers and Astaire, which produced such classic songs as "The Way You Look Tonight" and "A Fine Romance." Fields also collaborated with such prominent composers as Sigmund Romberg, Fritz Kreisler, Harold Arlen, Burton Lane,Arthur Schwartz, and Cy Coleman. Her lyrics were colloquial and urbane, sometimes slangy and sometimes sensuous. Her role as a music creator in a world dominated by men makes a fascinating and unusual story- with particular interest for woman today. Greenspan further discusses Fields in relation to other women songwriters and lyricists of the time.
Stephen Sondheim by
Call Number: ML 410 .S663 S43 1998
Publication Date: 1998-06-09
In the first full-scale life of the most important composer-lyricist at work in musical theatre today, Meryle Secrest, the biographer of Frank Lloyd Wright and Leonard Bernstein, draws on her extended conversations with Stephen Sondheim as well as on her interviews with his friends, family, collaborators, and lovers to bring us not only the artist--as a master of modernist compositional style--but also the private man. Beginning with his early childhood on New York's prosperous Upper West Side, Secrest describes how Sondheim was taught to play the piano by his father, a successful dress manufacturer and amateur musician. She writes about Sondheim's early ambition to become a concert pianist, about the effect on him of his parents' divorce when he was ten, about his years in military and private schools. She writes about his feelings of loneliness and abandonment, about the refuge he found in the home of Oscar and Dorothy Hammerstein, and his determination to become just like Oscar. Secrest describes the years when Sondheim was struggling to gain a foothold in the theatre, his attempts at scriptwriting (in his early twenties in Rome on the set of Beat the Devil with Bogart and Huston, and later in Hollywood as a co-writer with George Oppenheimer for the TV series Topper), living the Hollywood life. Here is Sondheim's ascent to the peaks of the Broadway musical, from his chance meeting with play- wright Arthur Laurents, which led to his first success-- as co-lyricist with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story--to his collaboration with Laurents on Gypsy, to his first full Broadway score, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. And Secrest writes about his first big success as composer, lyricist, writer in the 1960s with Company, an innovative and sophisticated musical that examined marriage à la mode. It was the start of an almost-twenty-year collaboration with producer and director Hal Prince that resulted in such shows as Follies, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, and A Little Night Music. We see Sondheim at work with composers, producers, directors, co-writers, actors, the greats of his time and ours, among them Leonard Bernstein, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Robbins, Zero Mostel, Bernadette Peters, and Lee Remick (with whom it was said he was in love, and she with him), as Secrest vividly re-creates the energy, the passion, the despair, the excitement, the genius, that went into the making of show after Sondheim show. A biography that is sure to become the standard work on Sondheim's life and art.
Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber by
Call Number: ML 390 .C58 S663 2001
Publication Date: 2001-09-13
Here in the third volume of Stephen Citron's distinguished series The Great Songwriters--in depth studies that illuminated the musical contributions, careers, and lives of Noel Coward and Cole Porter (Noel & Cole: The Sophisticates), and Oscar Hammerstein 2nd and Alan Jay Lerner, (The Wordsmiths)--this eminent musicologist has taken on our two leading contemporary contributors to the lyric stage. His aim has not been to compare or judge one's merits over the other, but to make the reader discover through their works and those of their contemporaries, the changes and path of that glorious art form we call Musical Theater. In his quest, Citron offers unique insight into each artist's working methods, analyzing their scores--including their early works and works-in-progress. As in Citron's previously critically acclaimed books in this series, great significance is given to the impact their youthful training and private lives have had upon their amazing creative output. The works of these two splendid artists are clarified for the casual or professional reader in context with their contemporaries. Complete with a quadruple chronology (Sondheim, Lloyd-Webber, US Theater, British Theater), copious quotations from their works, and many never before published illustrations, the future of the art form that is the crowning achievement of the 20th century is made eminently clear in this book. Sondheim & Lloyd-Webber is a must-read for anyone interested in the contemporary theater.
To Broadway, to Life! by
Call Number: ML 410 .B63 L36 2011
Publication Date: 2010-12-17
To Broadway, To Life!: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick is the first complete book about these creative figures, one of Broadway's most important songwriting teams. Drawing from extensive archival sources, and from personal interviews and communications with Bock and Harnick themselves and their most important collaborators, author Philip Lambert explores the essence of a Bock-Harnick show - how it is put together, and what makes it work. The book includes discussion of songs such as "Sunrise, Sunset" and "If I Were a Rich Man" that have long been favorites in the public consciousness, and it also explores a vast catalogue of lesser-known songs from their many other shows and works, including a musical puppet show on Broadway, music for the 1964 World's Fair, and a made-for-television musical. Here too is the first look at the little-known youthful professional beginnings of Bock and Harnick in revues and television shows and summer retreats in the 1950s, and the careers they have forged for themselves with new collaborators in the decades since their partnership dissolved in 1970.The musicals of Bock and Harnick came at a transitional time in Broadway history, when the traditions of Rodgers and Hammerstein were starting to give way to the concept musical, the rock musical, and eventually the mega-musical. To Broadway, To Life! combines exhaustive research, close musical investigation, and interpretive critical analysis to place Bock and Harnick in the context of these times, and helps establish their place in the history of the American musical theater.
Call Number: PS 3545 .I55 Z736 1995
Publication Date: 1995-10-17
Emerging at last from six years of legal entanglements involving the Tennesee Williams estate, this intimate and important portrait of Tennesee Williams, written with all the colorful detail and personal insight of a well-crafted novel, spans the unknown years of the playwright's life, as he struggled to find his voice as an artist, to bring his work to fruition, and to find an audience.
Something Wonderful by
Call Number: ML 410 .R634 P87 2018
Publication Date: 2018-04-03
Though different in personality and often emotionally distant from each other, Rodgers and Hammerstein presented an unbroken front to the world and forged much more than a songwriting team; their partnership was also one of the most profitable and powerful entertainment businesses of their era. They were cultural powerhouses whose work came to define postwar America on stage, screen, television, and radio. But they also had their failures and flops, and more than once they feared they had lost their touch.Todd S. Purdum's portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations will captivate lovers of musical theater, lovers of the classic American songbook, and lovers in general.