Musicals are a totally American experience. Their optimism, energy, inventiveness and infectious showbiz spirit reflect the country in so many ways. They’re a mix of kitsch and schmaltz, satire and sentiment—whatever is in the air. Many shows are historical capsules (Show Boat, Anything Goes, Hair, Company, Rent), their tunes and lyrics written into theatrical history and American folklore. Above all, the great ones never fail to make us happy.
SHOWSTOPPERS! The Surprising Backstage Stories of Broadway’s Most Remarkable Songs (Chicago Review Press; November 1, 2016) by Gerald Nachman is all about Broadway musicals’ most memorable numbers—why they were so effective, how they were created and why they still resonate—told through the memories of the performers, songwriters, directors and choreographers who first built these explosive numbers and lit the fuse.
More than 75 beloved show-stopping numbers are highlighted in detail throughout the book, including favorites like:
“All That Jazz” from Chicago
“You’re the Top” from Anything Goes
“One” from A Chorus Line
“Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music
“Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers
“Defying Gravity” from Wicked
Author Gerald Nachman interviewed dozens of iconic musical theater figures and original cast members to get their inside stories, including Patti LuPone, Dick Van Dyke, Bebe Neuwirth, Jerry Orbach, Joel Grey, Marvin Hamlisch, Tommy Tune, Sheldon Harnick and Harold Prince.
About the author:
Gerald Nachman has been writing about musicals for over fifty years. His reviews and columns have been published in the New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Esquire, GQ, Cosmopolitan and Theater Week. He is the author of six books, including Seriously Funny, Raised on Radio and Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!