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Deerfield Family Theater

Favorite Theater Resources – in celebration of Deerfield Family Theater

Curtains up! In celebration of the opening of Deerfield Family Theater’s newest production, Schoolhouse Rock Live! (which opens today!) we in the Adult Services Department put together a list of some favorite theater-related resources. Check out the list, with links to items in our catalog, below. 

You can also listen to me gush about this list of resources on the brand new Deerfield Family Theater Podcast. This new initiative features interviews with guests related to their current production as well as other community members. As the host of our long-running Deerfield Public Library Podcast, I was honored to be on their show. Take a listen:

Favorite Theater Resources from the Adult Services Department

(with a focus on musical theater to celebrate the Deerfield Family Theater!)


Twelfth Night “Globe on Screen”

DVD. Starring Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry. This hilarious, stunning, and quite moving “original practices” filmed version of the Globe Theater production was later on Broadway in 2013. 

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson

Print Book. My favorite Shakespeare book to recommend to people, seasoned fans or new theatergoers alike. Bill Bryson’s very chatty, funny short history contains one of the most careful overviews of the facts of Shakespeare’s life, time period, staging practices, and even easily refutes the conspiracy theories around the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. Also available in ebook and audiobook and e-audiobook.

The American Musical

American Musicals 1927-1949 & American Musicals 1950-1969 Laurence Maslon, editor

Print Book. These two beautiful volumes put out by the Library of America collect books and lyrics to 16 influential, revolutionary steps forward in the American Musical. While it’s easy to find songbooks or film versions for Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, or South Pacific, it’s harder to find the scripts presented as they appeared opening night. Reading the witty dialogue and seeing lyrics printed as poems on the pages offers a whole new insight into this most American form of entertainment and art. Includes text of some more rarely-seen shows like Finian’s Rainbow and As Thousands Cheer.

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes & Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany by Stephen Sondheim

Print Book. A crash course in lyrics writing and a musical theater nerd’s dream, these books have Stephen Sondheim annotating his lyrics with sidebars, opinions, explanations, and diversions. What sticks with me is the difficulty of writing lyrics at all–sometimes even the master of the contemporary musical has to throw his hands up and say this rhyme isn’t up to my standards, but it’s good enough! 

The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows are Built by Jack Viertel 

Print Book. A storied Broadway producer breaks down the underlying structure of our most lasting musicals, with great stories from the golden years of Broadway to the present. Organized in chapters that chronologically move through the musical structure, from explorations of the opening number and the “I want” song all the way to the 11 o’clock number and finale. 

The American Stage

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner

CD Audiobook. Starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. Performed by the National Theater Broadway Cast in 2018, this now-classic American drama about AIDS, the politics of the 1980s, and prophetic visions was specially adapted for audiobook.


Sing Happy, album by Audra MacDonald & The New York Philharmonic 

The Best of Audra MacDonald (Songbook)

Digital. In my opinion, Audra MacDonald is our best Broadway Soprano. On our digital service Hoopla, you can find her latest brilliant album (plus others) and a songbook if you dare to try to sing like her! 


The Cherry Orchard from the Moscow Art Theater

Digital video. You won’t see this anywhere else: 2016 filmed live stage performance of The Cherry Orchard in the original Russian (with English subtitles), on the original stage it was first performed in 1904. One of many titles in the “performing arts” category on our video streaming service Kanopy.


We also recommend browsing the collections in the Adult Services Department for more theater goodies. And if we don’t have something you’re looking for, ask us to get it sent over from another library! 

Sheet Music collection – Piano score, chord charts, and melodies to almost every musical you could ever want to find, our sheet music collection is tucked in the corner to the left of the Quiet Room. 

Plays and monologues – Browse the nonfiction shelves (look for Dewey Decimal numbers in the 780s, 790s, 800s, 810s, and 820s) or our ebook collections for resources like the Best American Short Plays, collections of monologues for actors, and collected and individual works by playwrights including Tom Stoppard, Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, Neil Simon, Tennessee Williams, and many more!

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