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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Musicals Based on Books... and an Upcoming Author Visit!

At 6:30 PM this Friday, July 29th, we will be visited by Misha Berson, author of "Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination." As luck would have it, TPB staffer Kestrel recently read an article all about musicals! Read what she had to say below: 

A great way to really immerse yourself into a reading experience is to read a book, then listen to (or go see live) the musical adapted from it. Last week, wordandfilm.com put together a great list of the 10 best musicals based on books. A few personal favorites are mentioned, including Wicked by Gregory Maguire, which is a lovely book and a smashing Stephen Schwartz musical, and the memoir of Seattle's own Gypsy Rose Lee, adapted by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents into one of the greatest musicals of all time, Gypsy. The list mentions more great shows, but here are a few they forgot:

Voltaire's hilarious Candide was transformed into an equally entertaining musical by the great Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein's overture is probably the greatest in all of musical theater, and then of course there is the nearly impossible-to-sing “Glitter and be Gay” (Kristen Chenoweth does a pretty awesome job though) but my absolute favorite is the finale “Make Our Garden Grow.”

And how could they forget Show Boat?! The classic show by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern based on the novel of the same name by Edna Ferber. I'm sure most anyone could hum the tune of “Ol' Man River,” (though maybe not in the original key!) but I also love “Can't Help Loving That Man.”

Seattle’s Intiman developed Elizabeth Spencer’s short story “The Light in the Piazza” into a Tony Award winning musical that features some of the most beautiful music in modern musical theater (in my opinion).

Andrew Lloyd Weber converted Wilkie Collins’ novel The Woman in White into a walloping flop of a musical, but the original novel is a wonderful example of a Victorian thriller, from one of the world’s first crime novelists. 

And let’s not forget Mary Poppins, based on the children’s stories by P.L. Travers, and of course The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum’s beloved books. And I must mention Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls, based on the short stories of Damon Runyon. Can you think of any others? Comment here, on Facebook, or send us a tweet @ThirdPlaceBooks!

Make sure to come see Misha Berson discuss her book on Friday!

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