jakub | July 7, 2023

8 Theatre Must-Reads for July


Book News

8 Theatre Must-Reads for July

This month’s new releases include a cultural history of Carrie the Musical and a behind-the-scenes look at the musical adaptation of Back to the Future.


Whether you’re basking in the sun, lounging at the beach, or parked at home by the AC, picking up a new book is a perfect summer pastime. Playbill’s got you covered with this roundup of eight upcoming releases, curated specifically for theatre lovers.

New releases for July include an analysis of hip-hop in musical theatre, a look at the life and works of playwright Terrence McNally, and a guide to writing for the stage and screen. Read on for our full list of July book recommendations.



Out For Blood: A Cultural History of Carrie the Musical by Chris Adams


Out For Blood: A Cultural History of Carrie the Musical

By Chris Adams

Dive into the world of the infamous musical flop, the 1988 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie. But as fans of the bloody musical can attest, Carrie was not done with a short stint on Broadway. Adams also takes a look at its redemption arc, from an Off-Broadway run to thousands of regional productions, in this detailed retelling of Carrie’s tumultuous history.

Available July 27 from Methuen Drama.


Hip-Hop in Musical Theatre_Book Cover by Nicole Hodges Persley, Robert Gordon, and Emilio Méndez


Hip-Hop in Musical Theatre (Topics in Musical Theatre)

By Nicole Hodges Persley, Robert Gordon, and Emilio Méndez

This book charts the influence of hip-hop on musical theatre, beginning in the 1970s and spanning all the way to Hamilton and beyond. Through detailed analysis of several musicals, the new release “decodes the sights and sounds of hip-hop culture within the socio-cultural context in which the musicals are produced.”

Available July 27 from Methuen Drama.


Racing the Great White Way: Black Performance, Eugene O’Neill, and the Transformation of Broadway by Katie N. Johnson


Racing the Great White Way: Black Performance, Eugene O'Neill, and the Transformation of Broadway (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance)

By Katie N. Johnson

Johnson’s book explores how the works of Eugene O’Neill opened up opportunities for Black performers, and how adaptations of O’Neill’s work have challenged racial barriers in the theatre. Offering artistic as well as historical context, the piece investigates how transnational exchange also contributed to gradual progress on Broadway.

Available July 19 from University of Michigan Press.


A Man of Much Importance: The Art and Life of Terrence McNally by Christopher Byrne


A Man of Much Importance: The Art and Life of Terrence McNally

By Christopher Byrne

Christopher Byrne’s new release details the life and work of legendary playwright Terrence McNally. Featuring extensive interviews with McNally as well as artists including Audra McDonald, Chita Rivera, Nathan Lane, and more, A Man of Much Importance recounts how McNally became a “a force in American theatre.”

Available July 15 from Applause.


Creating Back to the Future The Musical by Michael Klastorin, Bob Gale, Robert Zemeckis, and Roger Bart


Creating Back to the Future The Musical

By Michael Klastorin, Bob Gale, Robert Zemeckis, and Roger Bart

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the musical adaptation of Back to the Future, now in previews on Broadway with opening night set for August 3. This new release includes exclusive interviews with cast and crew, as well as previously unpublished photography.

Available July 3 from Abrams.


Writing for Stage and Screen: Creating a Perception Shift in the Audience by Sherry Kramer


Writing for Stage and Screen: Creating a Perception Shift in the Audience (Introductions to Theatre)

By Sherry Kramer

Kramer’s piece offers an extensive guide for emerging and established writers of the stage and screen. “Combining a step-by-step analysis of the technique of writing for stage and screen with how the mystery, poetry, and emotional momentum is achieved for the audience,” this new release is perfect for helping aspiring writers develop their skills.

Available July 13 from Methuen Drama.


The Proof Stage: How Theater Reveals the Human Truth of Mathematics by Stephen Abbott


The Proof Stage: How Theater Reveals the Human Truth of Mathematics

By Stephen Abbott

This new release considers how playwrights including Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, and more have brought abstract mathematics to the stage. Additionally, Abbott investigates how mathematics and theatre can be “mutually illuminating,” and how playwrights like Stoppard achieved the difficult task of connecting math with a play’s emotional arc.

Available July 11 from Princeton University Press.


Queer Approaches in Musical Theatre by Ryan Donovan


Queer Approaches in Musical Theatre (Topics in Musical Theatre)

By Ryan Donovan, Robert Gordon, and Emilio Méndez

This look at queer representation in musical theatre examines historical context, text, staging, and reception of shows such as Cabaret, Fun Home, and Rent. It promises an “understanding of the historically shifting terminology of queerness,” as well as an “overview of how queer theory informs the study of musicals themselves.”

Available July 27 from Methuen Drama.





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