By Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 14, 2021
Broadway is back! Even for us non-New Yorkers, the return of this iconic cultural touchstone offers a reason to celebrate and we can't help getting caught up in the musical madness. Here are a few ways you can experience the Broadway magic even if you aren't a ticket holder just yet.
Whether they came before or after their stage iterations, these novels are a wonderful accompaniment to their Broadway counterparts:
Dear Evan Hansen
From the show's creators comes the bestselling novel inspired by the hit show about an anxious, isolated teenage boy aching for understanding and belonging in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
Believe it or not, Andrew Lloyd Webber's feline-inspired Broadway sensation, Cats, was based on this collection of lovable cat poems written by T. S. Eliot for his godchildren.
Alice by Heart
Based on the musical and written by its creator, this story is about a young girl taking refuge in a London Tube station during WWII. She grapples with grief, loss, and first love with the help of her favorite book, Alice in Wonderland.
The Alex and Eliza Trilogy
For Hamilton lovers, Melissa de la Cruz's reimagining of the epic love story between Eliza Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton begins with this book centered on the fateful night when they met.
Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story
Jazz hands at the ready! The fabulous Tiny Cooper stole the show in Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. Now he gets to tell his story the way he always intended: as a big, belty musical (not on Broadway...yet).
Theater fans will love these books filled with companion material for their favorite shows.
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
A backstage pass to the groundbreaking musical, this volume includes the award-winning libretto, as well as behind-the-scenes photos and interviews, and exclusive footnotes from composer-lyricist-star Miranda.
Break an Egg!: The Broadway Cookbook by Tara Theoharis
With recipes like Eggrolls for Mr. Goldstone (Gypsy), Too Darn Hot Sauce (Kiss Me, Kate), The Wizard and Ice (Wicked), Angel (Food Cake) of Music (The Phantom of the Opera), Broadway superfans will eat this one up!
The Untold Stories of Broadway: Vol. 1 by Jennifer Ashley Tepper
From opening nights to closing nights, secret passageways to ghostly encounters, Broadway debuts to landmark productions, score a front row seat to hear hundreds of stories from the most important stages in the world.
West Side Story: The Jets, The Sharks, and the Making of a Classic by Richard Barrios
Okay, this one is about the making of the 1961 film, but Broadway fans will still dig it! A captivating full account of a vital, exciting, and turbulent cultural moment, the making of ground-breaking classic West Side Story (1961).
Up in the Cheap Seats: A Historical Memoir of Broadway by Ron Fassler
This amusing memoir tells the stories of how over a four-year span, the teenaged author saw two-hundred Broadway plays and musicals, such as Company, 1776, The Great White Hope, Hair, Follies and Pippin—all from the nosebleed seats.
Of course, the musical experience just isn't complete without the actual tunage! Here are some of the best soundtracks from your favorite musicals to serve as the backdrop for your reading:
This stellar 2016 collection offers assorted songs from the musical recorded by various contemporary artists. It also includes some of the deleted songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda's original score. And here's the original cast recording, if you want that too!
The lush score from one of Broadway's longest-running musicals swept up all kinds of awards and never disappoints.
The Phantom of the Opera
Andrew Lloyd Webber's enduring score receives a glorious treatment on this recording from the original London cast.
A Chorus Line
This 40th anniversary reissue of the original recording will have you singing and dancing along.
Fiddler on the Roof
Shout it from the rooftops! With enduring earworms like If I Were a Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset, and Matchmaker, we're still playing this one on repeat.
The original cast recording of our favorite jukebox musical offers no end of pop music pleasure.
Brava! Hopefully this will help keep us sated until we make it to the Broadway stage for ourselves. If you need more musical entertainment, check out this post for a selection of great musical movies and musical memoirs.