4 Books for Theatre Nerds to Read in 2021

Claire Handscombe

With the announcement this week that Broadway will re-open this September, many theatre nerds are rejoicing. But September is still a way off, so if you need something to fill that gap in your life in the meantime, here are some books that might help. (Descriptions are taken from online bookshops.)

Balancing Acts, by Nicholas Hytner

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As an acclaimed theatre director, Nicholas Hytner has worked with all kinds of illustrious names, among them Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, and Tom Stoppard. Part memoir, part reflection on the director’s own art, part meditation on what theatre can do, this book is a must for budding playwrights, actors, and anyone interested in the art of theatre.

Come to the Edge, by Christina Haag

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Forget what you think you know about celebrity memoir. This is a love story, one of whose protagonists, yes, happens to be one of the most famous men in American story -- but that's not as important as you might think to this memoir. Christina Haag writes movingly of first love, grief, the theatre, and New York City. She reads her own memoir, too, as an audiobook, and as an accomplished stage actress she does so beautifully.

Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

This is a thoroughly enjoyable graphic novel about middle school theatre nerds. The illustrations are delightful, and it's a fun read, with a great ending.

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff

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This is the kind of novel where it almost doesn't matter if nothing happens, because the prose itself is gorgeous enough to sink into. But plenty does happen in this portrait of a lifelong marriage, seen first from the point of view of actor and playwright Lotto, and then from that of his French wife, Mathilde. The many plaudits and plentiful praise for this book are, in my opinion, entirely justified.

More books about the theatre:

A Bright Ray of Darkness, by Ethan Hawke

Get Me the Urgent Biscuits, by Sweetpea Slight

Great Company, by Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney

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Claire Handscombe is a British writer who moved to Washington, DC, in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but really, let’s be honest, because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the host of the Brit Lit Podcast, a monthly show about news and views from UK books and publishing; the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan; and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives.

Washington, DC
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