Friday, May 29, 2009

Barbara Cook and the New York Philharmonic, together again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

IN THE HEIGHTS documentary.

PBS Documentary about In the Heights airs this Weds, May 27th 8pm.

The Drama Book Shop is pleased to have nurtured what turned out to become the Tony Award winning Broadway hit "In the Heights," during its early early development. We at the shop are so very proud of its creators and cast and are honored to have played some small role in the show's development.

Sustaining an independent retail business in an era of mega-stores and online discounters, and keeping the shop's doors open in a city that can be brutally hostile to small businesses is often frustrating and exhausting. Being able to support such projects as IN THE HEIGHTS, The Striking Viking Story Pirates, Back House Productions, Potpourri, and others; and being able to contribute to the success of brilliant, young artists, has offset many of the strains of the sacrifices of the past few years.

Congratulations to IN THE HEIGHTS, and to the other amazing groups that live here with us or have passed though our doors over the years.

--Allen Hubby, Co-owner.

Five Key Story Techniques with The Anatomy of Story author John Truby at The Drama Book Shop

Time: Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:00 p.m.
Location: The Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018
Title of Event: Five Key Story Techniques with The Anatomy of Story author John Truby

John Truby, author of the bestselling The Anatomy of Story, explains five story techniques that every screenwriter and novelist must know to be successful.

You'll learn:
- the one technique you must use for a strong premise
- the best technique for creating characters that even the top writers don't know
- how to find the crucial spine of the story
- the single most important technique to a great plot
- the 5 most dangerous story mistakes

Don't miss this rare opportunity to get practical knowledge that will make a difference in your writing immediately.

John Truby has taught his 22-Step Great Screenwriting and Genre classes to over 30,000 students worldwide. He has also worked as a story consultant and script doctor for Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, FOX, HBO, the BBC, RAI, LUX, TV4, MTV Sweden, Alliance Atlantis, and Cannell Studios. Truby recently worked as story consultant on the Disney/BBC feature-length nature documentary, EARTH, opening in the U.S. on April 22, 2009.

His new book, The Anatomy of Story has received rave reviews Hollywood story consultant Truby commits his vast knowledge of screenwriting and storytelling to the page in this handy guide for aspiring writers of all types, Booklist.

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
by John Truby
2008. Paper, $17.00

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Temporary Recession STORE HOURS

In an effort to find the BEST hours for our customers, we are changing them again.

As of May 20, 2009

Monday—Saturday: 11 am to 7 pm
Thursdays until 8 pm

Please Join us for Wine, Cheese and Soda, Thursday from 6 to 8

Thank you for your support. Please feel free to send comments to

There are many (if not most) items in the store that you won't find on this site, and some items on this site you won't find in the store. If you don't find what you're looking for, please call us at 1-800-322-0595.

RUSH SHIPMENTS and INTERNATIONAL DELIVERY available. Please call 800 322-0595 (US and Canada) or 212 944-0595 during business hours.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is Your Child a Star?

Jeff Mitchell, President of JMM Talent, talks about kids in show biz.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hot off the Press! Available now at the Drama Book Shop.

Out Of Sterno
by Deborah Zoe Laufer

Dotty's life in Sterno with her husband Hamel is absolutely perfect! It's a fairy tale, it really is. True, in their seven years of marriage Hamel has forbidden her to leave their tiny apartment or speak to anyone, but Dotty is so very happy to spend her days watching video re-enactments of the day they first met. When a phone call from a mysterious woman threatens to tear her world asunder, Dotty must venture out into the vast city of Sterno, and try to discover what it is to be a "real" woman.

"Out of Sterno" is a coming-of-age play in an Alice in Wonderland world. It explores the triumph and heartbreak of growing up and the contradictory societal pressures women face just trying to make it across town

23. Childlike and loving and hopeful. Dotty is bursting with intense enthusiasm for everything. She makes art out of every object in her view and hosts her life like a TV talk show to an imaginary audience. She refuses to think ill of anyone.

HAMEL: 30's. Dotty's thug of a husband.

ZENA: 30's. The proprietress of Zena's Beauty Emporium. Miss Tri-boro Area for two years running. Tough as nails.

DAN: Magically transforms himself into every other character in the play, including: Delivery Man, Taxi Driver, Waiter, Mrs. Cuthbert, Mrs. Peabody, Barb, Sallie Mae, Man on the Bus

Comedy. 2m, 2f. Acting Edition. $10.95

Adrift In Macao
by Christopher Durang, Peter Melnick(Composer)

“And there are of course those songs… Melnick demonstrates an affinity for melody and old-fashioned showmanship that link him to his grandfather, Richard Rodgers…”--Matthew Murray, Talkin'

“… with a drop-dead funny book and shamefully silly lyrics by Christopher Durang and lethally catchy music by Peter Melnick. A Drift In Macao lovingly parodies the Hollywood film noir classics of the 1940’s and 50’s…”--Michael Dale,

Set in 1952 in Macao, China, ADRIFT IN MACAO is a loving parody of film noir movies. Everyone that comes to Macao is waiting for something, and though none of them know exactly what that is, they hang around to find out. The characters include your film noir standards, like Laureena, the curvacious blonde, who luckily bumps into Rick Shaw, the cynical surf and turf casino owner her first night in town. She ends up getting a job singing in his night club – perhaps for no reason other than the fact that she looks great in a slinky dress. And don’t forget about Mitch, the American who has just been framed for murder by the mysterious villain McGuffin. With songs and quips, puns and farcical shenanigans, this musical parody is bound to please audiences of all ages.

Nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Music

Full Length, Musical. 4 m, 3 f. Unit Sets. Acting Edition. $10.95.

The Goldman Project
by Staci Swedeen

“Introducing Naomi, a Romanian-born widow, as a lovably comic, more than a little stereotypical character...a smart decision on the part of Staci Swedeen”--Anita Gates, The New York Times

“Swedeen has an ear for dialogue, even the passages in Yiddish fit the moment nicely. (Don’t worry: The Yiddish is instantly translated in the course of the conversation.)”--Peter D. Kramer, The Journal News

“This fine play is less about the past than about living with honesty in the present.”--James F.Cotter, Times Herald-Record

It is 1994 and Naomi Goldman, recently widowed, is living in an apartment in upper Manhattan. Her son Tony, separated from his wife, lives with her. When Tony’s old college girlfriend Aviva contacts him with the ulterior motive of interviewing and videotaping his mother for a Holocaust memorial project, Tony is appalled. Naomi, reluctant at first, eventually agrees to the interview. Though appearing to be forthright in her story Naomi clearly is hiding a devastating secret. When Aviva pushes her to admit the truth the consequences are life-changing. The Goldman Project is a play about family relations, the lingering legacy of the Holocaust and the catharsis of self-renewal.

Drama. 2f, 1m. Acting Edition. $10.95

Wild Dust: The Musical
by Flip Kobler, Cindy Marcus, Dennis Poore(Composer)

Based on the original play Wild Dust, this engaging Wild West story has been delighting audiences for years. And now, the original playwright, Flip Kobler, has joined forces with veteran composer Dennis Poore to turn Wild Dust the play into Wild Dust: The Musical.

It's 1887 and a dust storm is about to hit the town of Willow Creek. The west was still wild, but the wind was wilder. Wild Dust: The Musical, takes place at a time when the "west was wild, the women were soft and the men were brave." The worst dust storm in a decade was about to hit the town, and all the men had gone to drive the horses and cattle to safer shelter to ride out the storm. That left the women of town to fend for themselves in the only building strong enough to withstand the pounding sand - the town brothel. So four "fallen ladies" and three "ladies of the town" are thrown together for the next 72 hours, along with a mysterious cowboy and a dancing corpse! For three days they confront the elements, each other, and hardest of all - themselves. It's a comic romp with lots of slamming doors, mistaken identities, and one very dead body. No one is exactly what they seem, and everyone's got a secret hidden up their sleeve. Wild Dust: The Musical is a comic romp that's not to be missed.

Musical Comedy. 1 m., 8 f., plus 1 m. extra. Int. Acting Edition. $10.95.

PLEASE NOTE: There are many (if not most) items in the store that you won't find on our website. If you don't find what you're looking for, please call the Drama Book Shop at 212-944-0595 (option 3) to order.

Our NEW (old) HOURS ARE:

Monday through Saturday:
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Late Night Thursdays:
Open until 8:00 p.m.
(Please join us for wine and cheese between 6 and 8)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

POW! (Play Of The Week)

by Kate Fodor

Father Matthew McNally has served his congregation well and faithfully, but he suddenly leaves the parish and returns to his mother’s home without word, without warning, for a “respite”. He is pursued by Theresa, a cleaning woman at his rectory, who seeks some kind of spiritual worth and acknowledgment. Abby, Theresa’s 16-year-old rebellious daughter, confronts him about his professed “calling by God” into the ministry, and about her own guilt at being an evil person. And Garrett, a grocery delivery boy, desperately seeks Father McNally’s advice and guidance in search of his personal and sexual identity.

An unexpected crisis brings all of these characters into confrontation. As faith is shaken and tried, Father McNally must face his own spiritual demons and his greatest fear – living without a connection to God.

Father McNally’s mother Colleen doesn’t comprehend what is happening to her son. When he finally announces that he has lost his faith in God, her own life begins to crumble; “You tell me you don’t love God, you don’t love the Church. You don’t want to do the work that God called you to do and that I raised you to do. And you want me to stand here and pour out love for you? In return for what? What should I love you for?”

Playwright Fodor doesn’t tie the story up in a pristine pink-ribboned package. She elicits profound unanswered questions of faith and of our dependence upon one another for our spiritual worth. 100 Saints is a serious play with brilliant comic buoyancy – all serving beautifully as character revelation and relief.

Cast: 3 W, 2 M

Scenes/Monologues: This beautiful five-character play has marvelous scenes for actors. Each scene has a clear dramatic arc in structure. The language has generational accuracy with phrases that reveal character sub-texts.

Recommended by: Bill

Monday, May 18, 2009

Follow Spot, Actor Steven Weber, Uncensored by Michael Portantiere.

Michael Portantiere interviews Steven Weber, currently appearing in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Drama Book Shop Matt Love's interview with Stephin Merritt

Drama Book Shop Manager, Matt Love's interview with Stephin Merritt on Merritt’s newest theatrical project is a musical adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book Coraline, with a script written by David Greenspan—who also stars as The Other Mother alongside mature actor Jayne Houdyshell as 9-year-old Coraline.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Disussion plus Q&A with Judith Weston, author of Directing Actors at The Drama Book Shop

Time: Friday, May 15, 2009 6:00 p.m.
Location: The Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018
Title of Event: Disussion plus Q&A with Judith Weston, author of Directing Actors

Judith Weston is an internationally known teacher of actors and film directors, based in Los Angeles. At a special event at the Drama Book Shop, she will cover the following topics, with plenty of time for Q and A:

- How can Actors work most effectively with directors?
- How should Actors read a script?
- How can an Actor interpret confusing direction and make it your own?
- How can an Actor follow direction and your own impulses at the same time?
- How can an Actor make acting choices deeper, more truthful and more exciting?

Actors, directors, and writers are all invited to this event. Both of Judith's books, "Directing Actors" and "The Film Director's Intuition," are meant not just for directors, but for writers, actors and anyone who wants to live creatively.

Directing Actors
by Judith Weston
Michael Wiese Productions, 1999
Paper, $26.95

The Film Director's Intuition The Film Director's Intuition
by Judith Weston
Michael Wiese Productions, 2003
Paperback, $26.95

POW! (Play Of The Week)

by Nicholas Wright

by Steven Dietz

It is nothing new to say that Vincent van Gogh was a complex, greatly troubled man. But these two plays look deep into Van Gogh at two different stages and together compliment, enrich, and bring to life Vincent, the human.

Vincent in Brixton by British playwright Nicholas Wright focuses on Vincent before he drew his first sketch. It depicts a young man, someone full of life yet struggling to find his way and to walk the artist's path. While living in a boarding house, Vincent develops a relationship with a troubled older woman named Ursula. Wright understands that the most important aspect of a relationship between people, or even painter and art, is the shared experience of the soul. In Vincent in Brixton, he uses Van Gogh’s experiences with Ursula to illustrate this point; it is she who inspires Vincent to live and to paint with passion.

In the preface of Inventing Van Gogh, American playwright Steven Dietz quotes Van Gogh himself: "Exaggerate the essential; leave the obvious vague." Dietz then applies this idea to the structure and setting of the play, which shifts fluidly between the 1880s – the later years of Van Gogh’s life - and the present day - where a modern painter struggles to forge a copy of the master’s final self-portrait. Dietz's Van Gogh takes Wright's depiction to the next level: his Van Gogh is dramatically troubled, bursting at the seams, and begging for life to come off of the page. In Inventing Van Gogh, both the artist’s contemporaries and present-day art enthusiasts agree: Van Gogh, a man obsessed with painting his own image, was searching for some greater connection to the soul.

Taken together, these plays have made me obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh. Inventing Van Gogh is incredibly theatrical and dramatic, especially how Dietz handles the suicide (I'll say no more). Vincent in Brixton is beautifully sensual and touching. Both have left me craving more, wanting to fully understand the man who created a unique form of painting. Though these portraits indicate how hard it might be to obtain that goal, I have not been as inspired from reading a play recently as I have by these two.

Cast: Vincent in Brixton: 2 M, 3 W. Inventing Van Gogh: 4 M, 1 W.

Scenes/Monologues: Wonderful scenes and monologues in both plays!

Recommended by: Abi.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How to Begin an Acting Career in NYC with Actress and Career Coach, Annie Chadwick at The Drama Book Shop

Time: Sunday, May 17, 2009. 2:00 pm
Location: The Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018
Title of Event: How to Begin an Acting Career in NYC with Actress and Career Coach, Annie Chadwick

Have you just finished an acting training program and are ready to begin seeking work but don't know where to start?
  • Are you a new actor to NYC, and want to know the best, most effective ways to market your talent in the Big Apple?
  • Are you returning to acting or just starting to perform after working in the business world?

In this 2 hour workshop, Actress and Career Coach Annie Chadwick will give you clear and current tools to begin building an acting career in NYC.

The Workshop will cover:

Marketing Tools and Strategies
Are your marketing tools a current representation of your talent?
This is one of the most important parts of building a career and introducing your talent to the industry. Learn the most current trends in effective Pictures, Resumes, Cover Letters and Postcard content, Website, Reels, Email Submissions, Industry Mailings and Personal Appearance. Get specific letter writing skills and tips to make your cover letters, postcards, follow-ups and submissions more targeted. Are emails, faxing, website promotion the way of the future?

Learn the most effective ways to introduce yourself to the industry agents, personal managers, casting directors, showcases, seminars.
Film/TV and theatre opportunities are greater than ever in NYC. Learn how a talented actor can get auditions without representation and start developing a legit career. Get information on how to self-submit and get your own Film/TV auditions from Online Casting Opportunities and Trade publications. Learn what TV/Film projects are shooting in NYC and who is doing the casting. For theatre projects you will get specific tips on how to find out six months in advance what's being produced before casting notices go out; the best ways to get auditions, target and identify the roles you are most right for; and how to see the latest NYC Off-Broadway theatre for free.

Classes, Coaches, and Resources
Training for artists never ends. Get recommendation of on-going classes and coaches that will help you get noticed in the very competitive NYC market. We'll also go on a tour of the Drama Book Shop with a list of resources that are essential to keeping-up with the latest projects and acting techniques.

For more information on Up-to-Date Theatricals and Annie Chadwick, visit:

The cost of this workshop is $50, payable on the day of the workshop. For reservations call 212-265-0260, or the Drama Book Shop at (212) 944-0595 (option 3) during regular business hours.

Annie just worked with director P.J. Hogan on the new Jerry Bruckheimer film, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, playing John Lithgow's wife, Mrs. Edgar West.

Workshop Reviews
"I came to Annie's workshop hoping to at least get some decent info for $50. What I came away with was not only worth the price, but much more than I had hoped for. Annie is genuine, goes out of her way to not only make you feel special, but to really give you that extra individualized attention, which is completely unexpected but absolutely appreciated. Her workshop was not only chalked full of relevant and useful information, but she added something that I did not expect to find there...hope and inspiration. What a truly fabulous workshop! I highly recommend it to anyone who is beginning their career or feeling like they are at a stalemate here in New York!"--Krista, NYC actress/singer/musician

"I took your career-building workshop yesterday. I wanted to drop you a line to say how thankful I was for your advice, attention, and for all the wonderful information you gave us. It was so awesome! I was so energized and excited after the meeting that I felt hopeful I could indeed pursue this career on a professional level. I feel like I have a clear-cut focus for how to approach the next six months and I feel awash in relief! Where to put your time, money and energy in your acting career feels so overwhelming, so it was nice to get some solid, practical advice. Thank you again."--Jennifer, NYC actress

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Intermission Talk

April 29, 2009

"Next to Normal," "Hair," "West Side Story,"

"Reasons To Be Pretty" and "God of Carnage"

by Tony Vellela

Ever since Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler built a show around a throat-slitting barber and his cannibalistic femme-de-camp, just about anything has shown up as the core of a musical theatre piece. In "Next to Normal," by Tom Kitt [music] and Brian Yorkey [book and lyrics], middle-aged Diana [Alice Ripley] struggles with the bipolar disorder she has lived with for nearly two decades. The loving support of her husband Dan [J. Robert Spencer] and the complications brought on by teen-aged children Natalie [Jennifer Damiano] and Gabe [Aaron Tvett] combine to confuse Diana's tenuous grasp on reality, which drugs or treatment do not reconcile.

Seldom does an actor get the opportunity to tackle the challenges that the character of Diana offers, and Ripley more than scores. Broadway audiences have long known that here is a distinct talent [from "Tommy" to "James Joyce's The Dead" to "Side Show"]. Her abilities are far from normal. With Diana, Ripley brings a heart-breaking fragility to the woman, ricocheting among demons and loved ones and memories and dreams, landing nowhere for very long. There are no weak performances, but outstanding are Spencer, with the same powerhouse voice that helped win him a Tony Award in "Jersey Boys," and most notably, Tvett. Still in his teens, and already a veteran of smaller roles ["Wicked," "Hairspray"], Tvett's career takes a giant leap forward here, especially in his kick-ass rendition of the dynamic 'I'm Alive."

Director Michael Grief takes full advantage of his captivating cast, and excellent design work from Mark Wendland [sets], Kevin Adams [lighting] and Brian Ronan [sound] to divert attention from some of the musical's flaws, including weak, obvious lyrics and a book that fails to satisfy the curiosity the laying out of the storyline engenders. Instead, its soft landing forces us back onto generalities and even misconceptions about Diana's troubled condition. This is indeed a show for grown-ups and their smart teen-agers, but there remains plenty of room to enlighten our perception of this serious demi-world.

Altering perceptions was the raison d'etre for the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical "Hair" when it exploded forty-plus years ago [as I can personally attest], barreling up Broadway from the Public Theatre to the Biltmore. And any quibbles about its structure, its content or its mission fail to account for the times when it shook up every world it was any part of - from the straight press and their cartoon representations of young people in revolt against conventions that muzzled and held down differing opinions to the commercial theatre, which would not believe that a 'rock' musical could make it on the Great White [Right] Way. 'Til then, rock music had been unwelcome as the source of stage music, because ticket-buyers were older than rock fans. But the powerful messages of this musical were unstoppable, given the political climate of the day. When a major musical event lit up a theatre and its songs seized a nation the way "Hair" did, its place as an iconic cultural phenomenon was assured.

The original production, with book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and music by Galt MacDermott, benefited from the inspired genius of director Tom O'Horgan, who was the only director ever to have four shows on Broadway at the same time [also "Lenny," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Inner City"]. While it's not possible to duplicate that historic original, this version, helmed by Diane Paulus, does recreate a level of enthusiasm and vigor that offers a new generation a valid glimpse into the past.

Among the tribe, stand-outs include Gavin Creel as the tortured Claude and Will Swenson as his liberating soul-mate Berger. The heavy burden of the Vietnam War ['The War' to anyone whose hair is peppered with grey], and the flagrant prejudices against any expression of personal liberties, punctuated by the blows from the batons of status-guarding cops, made the score of "Hair" a collection of anthems that have survived to today, from "Let the Sun Shine In" and "Good Morning, Starshine" to "What a Piece of Work Is Man," "Aquarius" and the title song. If you are now living in the 'grey' garden of life, relive that era happily. If you are still in the green years, first check out 'hippie' on Wikipedia to get the real backstory of the alternative lifestyle that "Hair" celebrates.

Instead of trying to push out the boundaries of convention and conformity like the twentysomethings of "Hair," their contemporary counterparts in Neil LaBute's "reasons to be pretty" ache to fit into society's molds. Two blue-collar couples, Greg and Steph [Thomas Sadoski and Marin Ireland] and Kent and Carly [Steven Pasquale and Piper Perabo] jostle with identity issues that break them both up, all stemming from a seemingly inocuous remark that Greg makes about his four-year live-in girlfriend, remarking that her face is "regular-looking." Her reaction opens the play: a volcanic, esteem-scarred, minutes-long, obscenity-laced vitriolic tirade against him broken up by the breaking of furniture. Greg and Kent work in a bulk goods warehouse, where Kent's pregnant wife shares the night shift as a security guard. Steph works in a shop.

LaBute's writing aims for a lazer-point sting, and it lands, if you believe in the authenticity of the premise and the relationships of the characters. It's convenient to go along with the idea that bookworm Greg still looks to Kent for best friendship, or that he would not have drifted away from the less-than-literate Steph by now. It's easy to accept Kent [a ripe candidate for MTV's "Bully Beatdown"] as a poster boy for machismo grandioso, and his pretty wife's insecurities that she is only valued for her looks. But when you stir these four together, they do not credibly make ratatouille - more like three pepperoni slices and a still-growing truffle. If feeling superior to a lower economic class of workers and a few identity-conscious millenials will give you a warm glow as you laugh at their malapropisms and cliches, you will soak in every minute at the Lyceum. If not, don't. Caveat : if you would like to witness two of the season's most riveting performances that override the inconsistencies of how their characters are written, visit the Lyceum to see Sadoski and Ireland. They each mete out gloriously nuanced moments in their work, signaling great days ahead for both of them.

The original 'pretty' girl, Maria in "West Side Story," has reclaimed a part of the New York turf now that the Arthur Laurents [book], Stephen Sondheim [lyrics] and Leonard Bernstein [music] classic has returned. And, like "Hair," it's a welcome return. Years ago, Laurents told me he had been planning an updated version that had the Puerto Rican Sharks and their women speak and sing in Spanish in many sections of the show, an idea that originated with his longtime companion, Tom Hatcher. Now that Laurents has satisfied himself that he has directed the definitive production of "Gypsy" two seasons back with Patti LuPone, he has tackled the other crown jewel in his legacy, injecting new life into this musical that lost out to 'The Music Man" in the 1959 Tony Award race. And once again, this 91-year-old bantam rooster of ceaseless energy has left his mark. There are many stand-outs in this life force of a musical, but most significant in shedding new light on a role that has taken on larger meaning in the last half century is Karen Olivo, as Anita, her hair whip-lashing around as she dances in the gym, her motherly caring of Maria more deeply understood as they share their fears and dreams in their native language.

Oh-so-polite language perfumes the air as two civilized couples in civilized Cobble Hill, Brooklyn meet to sort out the apologies when one couple's son smashes the other with a stick, in Yasmina Reza's viciously funny "God of Carnage." The victim's mother, an art devotee and soon-to-be-published photographer of the Darfur genocides, believes in striving for a "moral conception of the world" to prevail. Her maternal counterpart, a 'wealth management consultant,' seems to concur. But the outcome is inevitable, even as the distaff duo devolve from cellphone-addicted lawyer and bathroom fixtures retailer to dueling savages, kept apart only periodically by their now-unmasked wives, stripped of their humanity and wearing their mutual contempt like battle fatigues.

Marcia Gay Harden and James Gandolfini [photog, fixtures] and Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis [lawyer, consultant] elevate this already-brilliant script to higher levels of giddy riotousness, abetted ably by Matthew Warchus' choreographic direction. Like his work in "Boeing Boeing," Warchus demonstrates how crucial it is for comedies that blend language humor with body laughs to stitch together these elements like a needlepoint of sounds, actions and colors. You will laugh at lines you shouldn't; you will wish this unwholesome foursome took longer than ninety minutes to wear each other out.


If you want to remind yourself what the best in comedy was like during the last financial meltdown, look no further than "You Can't Take It With You," by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, which toasted the hypocrisies of the thirties in much the same way that Reza punctures the givens of today. And if you think you know this play because you have seen Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Ann Miller and others in the film, you do not. That Frank Capra production was filmed using a substantially rewritten script by Robert Riskin, a screen scribe unhappily bereft of the wit and whimsy that the original celebrates. In fact, to discover the origins of this masterwork, seek out Hart's autobiography, "Act One." His wife, Kitty Carlisle Hart, once told me that she had to prod him mercilessly into writing it, but we can all thank her posthumously for her efforts. Anyone who loves great theatre will love that book.

TONY VELLELA, the veteran theatre correspondent for "The Christian Science Monitor," writes and produces the PBS series about theatre, "Character Studies". His work has also appeared in "Parade," "Theatre Week,"" USA Today," "Dramatics," "Rolling Stone," and several other publications.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hot off the Press! Available now at the Drama Book Shop

by Kate Robin

Anon. follows two couples as they cope with sexual addiction. Trip and Allison are young and healthy, but he's more interested in his abnormally large porn collection than in her. While they begin to work through both of their own sexual and relationship hang-ups, Trip's parents are stuck in the roles they've been carving out for years in their dysfunctional marriage. In between scenes with these four characters, 10 different women, members of a support group for those involved with individuals with sex addiction issues, tell their stories in monologues that are alternately funny and harrowing.

Drama. 2m, 12f. Areas. Acting Edition. $10.95.

What They Have
by Kate Robin

Connie and Jonas are a successful industry couple. Their friends Suzanne, a struggling painter, and Matt, a struggling musician, can’t afford to fix the roof. But stay tuned because in this funny, poignant and always truthful new play, lives can change in a heartbeat, and things aren’t necessarily what they seem.

Comedy. 2m, 2f. Acting Edition. #10.95

Beauty on the Vine
by Zak Berkman

"BEAUTY ON THE VINE provocatively imagines emulative cosmetic surgery taking hold among young women across the country."--NY Times.

"Zak Berkman's seething new play attacks societal hypocrisies from plastic surgery to right-wing politics."--BackStage.

"This is vital, ambitious theatre…BEAUTY ON THE VINE is a play of big ideas. America's fascination with celebrity culture and personal reinvention, the bonds between parents and children (or lack thereof) and the never-ending war between Democrats and Republicans all get touched upon."

"An absolutely thrilling and wildly complex play. It sheds the antiquated idea that beauty is only a frivolous issue important to women and, instead, links concepts of beauty to biggies like power, politics, love, and death. Oh, and it was written by a guy (swoon)."--Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters.

From mixed-race identities to extreme plastic surgery, BEAUTY ON THE VINE is a modern fable exploring the power of the human face in hothouse America. When a young female star of right-wing radio is brutally murdered, her husband and father investigate the reasons behind the violence. They discover a world where young women transform themselves to look like their idols, and mothers lose their daughters to the illusion of popularity and power.

Drama. 2 men, 4 women: 6 total. Flexible Set.

The Atheist
by Ronan Noone

"Viciously funny…he is despicable but you want to go on despising him all night."--Boston Globe.

"…the gutter-lyrical fireworks of the rogue male ego…a compelling voice…"--Time Out (London).

"…the most alluringly sleazy newshound this side of the twenty-first century."--Boston Herald.

"…accomplishes the Olympian task of making an utter bastard compelling."--Variety.

Augustine Early, a crooked journalist, has made an art of clawing his way up the professional ladder. When he turns a politician's tawdry predilections into front-page news, the scandal threatens to undo the one person he thought was immune. A searing and hilarious play about catching the perfect headline, whatever the cost.

Drama. 1 man: 1 total. Flexible Set.

The Optimist
Jason Chimonides
"Compelling drama…deliriously entertaining."--The New Yorker.

"Hilarious…raw and revealing."

"Playwright Jason Chimonides' script abounds with witty remarks, dirty allusions, and random tangents where high art and popular culture collide and explode."--New Theatre Corps.

Over the course of one tumultuous weekend, Noel returns to his hometown to confront the sudden death of his best friend, the wedding of his philandering father, and the reemergence of his one true love, Nicole. A hilarious, poignant journey punctuated by the puerile antics of Noel's fraternal twin brother, Declan, THE OPTIMIST follows three young people into a rundown motel room where they tackle unfinished romance, the imminent arrival of a rampaging patriarch, and the threat of impending adulthood.

Comedy/Drama. 2 men, 1 woman: 3 total. INTERIOR.

PLEASE NOTE: There are many (if not most) items in the store that you won't find on our website. If you don't find what you're looking for, please call the Drama Book Shop at 212-944-0595 (option 3) to order.

Our NEW (old) HOURS ARE:

Monday through Saturday:
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Late Night Thursdays:
Open until 8:00 p.m.
(Please join us for wine and cheese between 6 and 8)

Friday, May 01, 2009


Back by Popular Demand, Wednesday, May 6, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. , Simon Studio's Shakespeare's Birthday Open House

Observe and/or work with the award-winning Simon Studio On-camera Lab with Roger Hendricks Simon and industry guests

The Drama Book Shop
250 West 40th Street
Arthur Seleen Theatre (Lower Level)

Admission is FREE however we will be accepting donations to the Simon Studio John Palmore Scholarship Fund.

Please RSVP as soon as possible as space is limited.

Roger Hendrics Simon: director/coach for John Lithgow, James Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Tovah Feldshuh, Yale Rep, N.Y. Shakespeare Festival, London's Royal Court Theatre.

The Simon Studio
212-841-0204; 917-776-9209