Favorite books about the theater

Are you looking forward to Reading the Theatre in March? I am!

In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed putting together a list of some of my favorite books about the world of the stage (in which I would include puppetry, circus, opera, dance, and other stage arts as well as plays and musicals, by the way).

If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to know your thoughts. Or there are many other ways you could participate — reading play scripts, for example, or thinking about memorable productions you have seen or been a part of. Let’s put on a show!

The links below are to my own reviews if I’ve written one, or to Goodreads if not.

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Maida’s Little Theater by Inez Hayes Irwin
Act One by Moss Hart
Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff
World of Wonders by Robertson Davies (or almost any other book by him)
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor
This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Singing’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou
Home by Julie Andrews
Jill the Reckless by P.G. Wodehouse
The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault
The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Here are some others that I’d like to read:

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Morality Play by Barry Unsworth
Wise Children by Angela Carter
Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh
An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge
Dance to the Piper by Agnes de Mille
The Incomparable Rex by Patrick Garland

What other titles would you suggest?

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18 thoughts on “Favorite books about the theater

  1. Ahhh, I love this list! I would put some Rumer Godden books on there too — A Candle for St. Jude is specifically about trying to put a whole ballet together overnight, and Thursday’s Children is a coming-of-age story of two kids in ballet school.

  2. Of the books you have listed, I have read the fantastical Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett and it still one of my favourite Discworld books ever! I have also read The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, but it was so long ago that I don’t remember a great deal about it. Another book I would recommend is A Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley. Happy Reading the Theatre! ­čÄş

    1. Nicole, I think you would love Station Eleven. I forced myself to read it, wanting to expand my boundaries even though I expected to dislike it (I don’t normally gravitate to dystopia), but it surprised me. I’d be so interesting to hear your reactions.

  3. The swish of the curtain series by Pamela Brown and a recent read for me If we were villains by M.L Rio about drama students

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