Four recommended recent releases of theater books and recordings

When you’re chilling at the beach or relaxing in the park, you can keep up with NYC theater by reading or listening to these four top picks of newly released books and recordings.

Corsicana/Evanston Salt Costs Climbing: Two Plays by Will Arbery – Among the latest publications from TCG Books (the largest independent publisher of dramatic literature in North America) is a double-volume of plays by award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Arbery, both exploring communities of outsiders dealing with grief, love, desire, and dreams, and the human need for reciprocal care, who strive to help each other persevere in the face of despair.

Both Corsicana (which had its world premiere at Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons in 2022, and was inspired by and dedicated to Arbery’s sister Julia, with Down syndrome) and Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (which addresses the impact of climate change and existential dread on humanity, debuted in Nantucket, MA, in 2018, and played Off-Broadway at Pershing Square Signature Center in 2022) combine Arbery’s signature off-beat humor, profound poignancy, and unsettling anxiety with touches of surrealism and absurdism.

Corsicana/Evanston Salt Costs Climbing: Two Plays by Will Arbery (New York: TCG, 2024), 183 pages, ISBN: 978-1-63670-186-8, paperback, $18.95, ISBN: 978-1-63670-187-5, eBook, $18.95.

CLOSER THAN EVER: The Unique Six-Decade Songwriting Partnership of Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire – A part of Oxford University Press’s Broadway Legacies series, the new book by composer, lyricist, musician, writer, educator, and founding member of Yale University’s Shen Curriculum for Musical Theater, Joshua Rosenblum chronicles Maltby and Shire’s nearly 70-year partnership through a critical study of their body of work, giving full behind-the-scenes accounts of their musicals, interspersed with deep-dive analyses of standout individual numbers, while drawing on his long personal and professional acquaintance with the legendary songwriting team.

The volume includes never-before published interviews with the duo, as well as other theatrical luminaries, including Susan Stroman, Jonathan Tunick, Craig Lucas, Adam Gopnik, and Lynne Meadow, and also explores lyricist Maltby’s career as a Tony Award-winning director (Fosse; Ain’t Misbehavin’) and Shire’s as an Oscar-winning film composer (The Taking of Pelham 123; All the President’s Men).

CLOSER THAN EVER: The Unique Six-Decade Songwriting Partnership of Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire (Oxford University Press, 2024), 304 pages, ISBN: 9780197758236, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN: 9780197758267, eBook, $23.99.

The Outsiders: A New Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) –Tony winner for Best Musical of the 2023-24 Broadway season, The Outsiders, based on the novel by S.E. Hinton and the movie by Francis Ford Coppola, with music and lyrics by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justine Levine and a book by Adam Rapp with Levine, who also provided the music supervision, orchestration, and arrangements, is set in 1967 Tulsa, Oklahoma, and tells the deeply affecting story of a gang of outcast Greasers who navigate their way through friendship, family, and trying to belong in a world that may never accept them.

On May 22, Sony Masterworks released the nineteen-track digital album of the musical, featuring the original Broadway cast led by Brody Grant, Sky Lakota-Lynch, Joshua Boone, Brent Comer, Jason Schmidt, Emma Pittman, and Daryl Tofa, with the physical CD coming on July 12, and the vinyl album on August 9, available for pre-order now across all music platforms. You can preview samples of the songs, including “Great Expectations,” “Throwing in the Towel,” and “Stay Gold,” in Jamestown Revival’s signature country-folk style, with profoundly sensitive performances by the empathetic cast, here, you can watch videos of the actors in the recording studio on the show’s YouTube channel, and if you haven’t seen it yet on Broadway, you can go online for tickets to this highly recommended classic.

Ladyship the Musical (Original Concept Recording) – Set to be released on Friday, July 12, is the studio recording of the songs from the hit New York Musical Festival stage show, with book, music, and lyrics by Laura Good and Linda Good of the alternative pop duo The Twigs. Based on true events, Ladyship tells the story of the unjustly convicted Irish teenage sisters Alice and Mary Reed, who find their own voice while fighting and surviving oppression, politics, and the patriarchy on a treacherous sea journey from London to exile in Australia in 1789.

The 23 original tracks, mixed by Jakob Reinhardt and mastered by Grammy winner Jett Galindo, evoke the stylings of the sea shanties, folk tunes, minstrel songs, and bittersweet ballads of the era, and feature the talents of a roster of Broadway’s up-and-coming stars (including Maddie Shea Baldwin, Lisa Karlin, Savannah Frazier, Brandi Knox, Annie Sherman, and Trevor St. John-Gilbert), along with Quentin Oliver Lee, in one of his last recordings before his untimely passing in 2022, backed by a nine-piece band (Marc Doten on bass; Joe Beradi on drums; Linda Good on piano, keys, accordion, vocals, electric guitar, and percussion; Laura Good on vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, keys, cello, and percussion; Paul Cartwright on violin and viola; Ro Rowan on cello; Jakob Reinhardt on electric guitar; Renee Albert on accordion and vocals; and Lourdes McDonald on vocals).

The album will be available across all digital platforms, and physically exclusively through the show’s website.


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