100 books like Musicals

By DK Publishing,

Here are 100 books that Musicals fans have personally recommended if you like Musicals. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of City of Girls

Heather Hach Author Of The Trouble with Drowning

From my list on a nod to Broadway.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, forever tap-tap-tapping away on my computer, looking to create that lyrical rhythm on the page that I feel in my heart. I’m also usually singing, whether it’s made up ditties to my dogs, 80s indie pop, or Broadway showtimes. Bottom line, I’m a storyteller, and nothing thrills me as much as a great tale well told, either on the page, on the stage, or around a table. Here are a few stories I’ve loved along the way that include a nod to Broadway, another love of mine long before I was hired to write the book for Legally Blonde the Musical.

Heather's book list on a nod to Broadway

Heather Hach Why did Heather love this book?

This book was like a big piece of literary chocolate cake. It was a blast from start to finish, set in the 1940s theater world of New York.

Ninety-five-year-old Vivian recounts her time in the theater, looking back on all the pleasure and pain of youth. The theater itself is another character within the novel, and like Broadway itself, the book is littered with eccentrics and phenomenal characters. An absolute jewel.

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked City of Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.

"A spellbinding novel about love, freedom, and finding your own happiness." - PopSugar

"Intimate and richly sensual, razzle-dazzle with a hint of danger." -USA Today

"Pairs well with a cocktail...or two." -TheSkimm

"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or…


Book cover of Revolutionary Road

Heather Hach Author Of The Trouble with Drowning

From my list on a nod to Broadway.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, forever tap-tap-tapping away on my computer, looking to create that lyrical rhythm on the page that I feel in my heart. I’m also usually singing, whether it’s made up ditties to my dogs, 80s indie pop, or Broadway showtimes. Bottom line, I’m a storyteller, and nothing thrills me as much as a great tale well told, either on the page, on the stage, or around a table. Here are a few stories I’ve loved along the way that include a nod to Broadway, another love of mine long before I was hired to write the book for Legally Blonde the Musical.

Heather's book list on a nod to Broadway

Heather Hach Why did Heather love this book?

I read that Matt Weiner wouldn’t have had the courage to write Mad Men if he’d read this before he worked on the series.

Revolutionary Road is set in the world of New York advertising during the martini lunch era, and it’s one of my favorite books of all time. It doesn’t exactly have that Singin’ in the Rain optimism, but it’s darkly hilarious. The opening scene is literary perfection, set at the dress rehearsal for the Laurel Players.

Yates masterfully captures that Waiting for Guffman sincerity (and inherent comedy) of community theater, and the novel sets the stage for the deeply human tale of longing. It is deeply American and deeply perfect.

By Richard Yates,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Revolutionary Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as a masterpiece from its first publication, Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright young couple who are bored by the banalities of suburban life and long to be extraordinary. With heartbreaking compassion and clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April's decision to change their lives for the better leads to betrayal and tragedy.


Book cover of A Fine Romance

Heather Hach Author Of The Trouble with Drowning

From my list on a nod to Broadway.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, forever tap-tap-tapping away on my computer, looking to create that lyrical rhythm on the page that I feel in my heart. I’m also usually singing, whether it’s made up ditties to my dogs, 80s indie pop, or Broadway showtimes. Bottom line, I’m a storyteller, and nothing thrills me as much as a great tale well told, either on the page, on the stage, or around a table. Here are a few stories I’ve loved along the way that include a nod to Broadway, another love of mine long before I was hired to write the book for Legally Blonde the Musical.

Heather's book list on a nod to Broadway

Heather Hach Why did Heather love this book?

Full disclosure, Darcie was a producer on Legally Blonde and was president of MGM On Stage. Darcie was a real character, and she also dripped with worship for the theater.

This book is a meticulously researched love letter to the fusion of film and theater, filled with phenomenal photos and teeming with love. Chronicling West Side Story, Gypsy, Chicago, and beyond, it’s a great coffee table book you’ll actually want to read.

By Darcie Denkert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fine Romance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of musicals will sing when a division president of MGM and industry insider presents her entertaining, illuminating insights on exactly what happens when stage meets screen.


Book cover of A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

Heather Hach Author Of The Trouble with Drowning

From my list on a nod to Broadway.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, forever tap-tap-tapping away on my computer, looking to create that lyrical rhythm on the page that I feel in my heart. I’m also usually singing, whether it’s made up ditties to my dogs, 80s indie pop, or Broadway showtimes. Bottom line, I’m a storyteller, and nothing thrills me as much as a great tale well told, either on the page, on the stage, or around a table. Here are a few stories I’ve loved along the way that include a nod to Broadway, another love of mine long before I was hired to write the book for Legally Blonde the Musical.

Heather's book list on a nod to Broadway

Heather Hach Why did Heather love this book?

What can I say, I love blondes. I also adore Kristin Chenoweth, though I realize I’m not the only one. She’s so damned adorable and heroically gifted, and her life is as interesting as her talent.

I love her honesty and you can feel her life on the page. Kristin is a force of nature and a damn good storyteller herself. 

By Kristin Chenoweth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little Bit Wicked as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lively, laugh-out-loud journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to show biz sensation.

“Life’s too short. I’m not.”

You might know her as a Tony Award–winning Broadway star who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical Wicked. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV—The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, and Sesame Street. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she’s quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway and Hollywood by storm. But of…


Book cover of Okay for Now

Diana Harmon Asher Author Of Upstaged

From my list on music, art and friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Just like my Upstaged heroine, my first stage experience was playing Mr. Jacey Squires in The Music Man. Both of my parents were singers and really, there’s never been a time when music—and the friends I made through music—haven’t been an important part of my life. Love of the arts can bring kids together in surprising ways. The characters in these books face varied challenges, home lives, and predicaments. But for all of them, it’s the support of friends, a dose of courage, and inspiration from the arts that get them through. That’s why I’ve chosen these five wonderful, readable, un-put-downable books.


Diana's book list on music, art and friendship

Diana Harmon Asher Why did Diana love this book?

I don’t have words for how masterful this book is. (I know, I’m a writer, I’m supposed to have words). I’m constantly blown away by Schmidt’s writing. The novel, set in 1968, is the story of fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck, whose abusive father moves the family to a new town. Doug’s first-person voice is so alive and original. He tells you a lot, but not everything. And what he’s hiding is revealed in scenes that will stay with me forever, among them one in PE class, and another when Doug’s brother returns from Vietnam. On every page, you sense Doug’s emotional armor, but also his vulnerability. His growth as a person and an artist makes it one of my favorite books of all time.

By Gary D. Schmidt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Okay for Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Beloved author Gary D. Schmidt expertly blends comedy and tragedy in the story of Doug Swieteck, an unhappy "teenage thug" first introduced in The Wednesday Wars, who finds consolation and a sense of possibility in friendship and art.

At once heartbreaking and hopeful, this absorbing novel centers on Doug, 14, who has an abusive father, a bully for a brother, a bad reputation, and shameful secrets to keep. Teachers and police and his relatives think he's worthless, and he believes them, holding others at arm's length. Newly arrived in town, he starts out on the same path—antagonizing other kids, mouthing…


Book cover of A is for Audra: Broadway's Leading Ladies from A to Z

Mark A. Robinson Author Of The Magical Mice of Broadway

From my list on theatre written for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime arts educator who has worked predominantly with kids ages 3 to 12, I initially set out to find books that could inspire them about theatre. For many years I have searched for the perfect books that achieve this and have used all of these books in my teaching.

Mark's book list on theatre written for children

Mark A. Robinson Why did Mark love this book?

This book is a whimsical, colorful, and delightful introduction to the women who have made the American Musical Theatre great. Kids learn all about such talented ladies as Audra McDonald, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters, Lea Salonga, and Kristin Chenoweth, to name a few.

By John Robert Allman, Peter Emmerich (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A is for Audra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It's an incredible honor to be included in this amazing book of the greatest talent the Broadway stage has ever known!"
—AUDRA McDONALD, six-time Tony Award-winning actress

From Audra McDonald to Liza with a "Z," here is a showstopping alphabet book featuring your favorite leading ladies of the Broadway stage!

Step into the spotlight and celebrate a cavalcade of Broadway's legendary ladies. Start with "A" for six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, then sing and dance your way through the alphabet with beloved entertainers like Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O'Hara, and Liza Minnelli!…


Book cover of The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway

Marcus Gorman Author Of Triceratops

From my list on pop culture primers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Pop culture is my life, and I like my characters to be well-versed in it. There's no reason to pretend otherwise, as what we consume informs who we are as people. Plus, there’s something beautiful in something everybody collectively knows. I’ve worked hard to make pop culture not just an interest but a career path. I currently program films for the Seattle International Film Festival, work as a playwright and performer, cover film, theatre, and burlesque for The Ticket at the Seattle Times, am a frequent guest on podcasts such as Film at Fifty, and assist at various arts organizations all over the greater Seattle area.

Marcus' book list on pop culture primers

Marcus Gorman Why did Marcus love this book?

Writer William Goldman, most popular for penning The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All the President’s Men, embeds himself in the Broadway world, seeing every show in the 1967-1968 season; to quote the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast, this book is the autopsy. It’s an enormously accessible book about American theatre, with a murderers’ row of interview subjects at Goldman’s disposal and the author’s ability to translate gossip into hard journalistic data. Even the more economics-based chapters, such as a fascinating one on how most plays live or die on presales to well-connected women’s social groups (a.k.a. “Theatre-Party Ladies”), are as breezy as Goldman’s Oscar-winning screenplays. (Content Warning: The book contains some unfortunate and dated language.)

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Playwright/novelist/screenwriter Goldman analyzes Broadway from the perspective of the audiences, playwrights, critics, producers and actors. “Very nearly perfect... It is a loose-limbed, gossipy, insider, savvy, nuts-and-bolts report on the annual search for the winning numbers that is now big-time American commercial theatre.” –Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times


Book cover of Make Believe: The Broadway Musical in the 1920's

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of Musical Misfires: Three Decades of Broadway Musical Heartbreak

From my list on Broadway musicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having taught college courses on and written books about theatre, film, and popular music for over forty years, I have great respect for those who write about the popular art form known as musical theatre. As a theatergoer, I've watched the Broadway (and Off-Broadway) musical develop, change, and sometimes decline. It seems musicals are more popular today than ever before; they certainly are more diverse. I grew up with the traditional Rodgers and Hammerstein model and have seen musicals take on new forms over the years. It is an exciting art form that deserves to be written about.

Thomas' book list on Broadway musicals

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

Mordden has written books about musicals from several decades of the Twentieth Century but my favorite remains Make Believe about the 1920s. Too few American musicals from that decade are still performed today. Show Boat and No No Nanette are two memorable exceptions. So most of the shows in the book are not familiar to theatergoers. But Mordden brings these musicals to life with his vivid writing and enthusiasm for what was a Golden Age for the art form.

By Ethan Mordden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Make Believe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1920s represented a turning point in the history of the Broadway musical, breaking with the vaudeville traditions of the early twentieth century to anticipate the more complex, sophisticated musicals of today. Composers Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and their contemporaries revitalized the musical with the sound of jazz and other new influences. Productions became more elaborate, with dazzling sets, tumultuous choreography, and
staging tricks, all woven into tightly constructed story lines. These dramatic changes of the 1920s ushered in the "golden age" of the American musical theater.
Ethan Mordden captures the excitement and the atmosphere of…


Book cover of Lulu the Broadway Mouse

Mark A. Robinson Author Of The Magical Mice of Broadway

From my list on theatre written for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime arts educator who has worked predominantly with kids ages 3 to 12, I initially set out to find books that could inspire them about theatre. For many years I have searched for the perfect books that achieve this and have used all of these books in my teaching.

Mark's book list on theatre written for children

Mark A. Robinson Why did Mark love this book?

For slightly older kids in the 8-12 age range, this chapter book (one in The Broadway Mouse series) follows a little mouse named Lulu with big dreams of starring on Broadway. This book will inspire young people to further investigate the magic of theatre.

By Jenna Gavigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lulu the Broadway Mouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway's Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn't be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She's a little girl mouse.

When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne's guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently…


Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical

Thomas S. Hischak Author Of Musical Misfires: Three Decades of Broadway Musical Heartbreak

From my list on Broadway musicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having taught college courses on and written books about theatre, film, and popular music for over forty years, I have great respect for those who write about the popular art form known as musical theatre. As a theatergoer, I've watched the Broadway (and Off-Broadway) musical develop, change, and sometimes decline. It seems musicals are more popular today than ever before; they certainly are more diverse. I grew up with the traditional Rodgers and Hammerstein model and have seen musicals take on new forms over the years. It is an exciting art form that deserves to be written about.

Thomas' book list on Broadway musicals

Thomas S. Hischak Why did Thomas love this book?

If you are looking for a highly opinionated and passionate account of the Broadway musical and the changes it has undergone over the decades, this book is for you. Grant does not pull his punches and the general tone is one of despair at the decline in the quality of musicals. But the book is well researched and offers many provocative ideas which the die-hard musical fan will find fascinating. It's the kind of work that you want to read after you have a solid knowledge of American musical theatre and you want to have your traditional ideas challenged.

By Mark Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award (2005)Many of today’s Broadway shows, from Rent to The Lion King, have become commercial hits, but do they have the cultural importance or the dramatic and musical artistry of such enduring productions as Oklahoma!, Show Boat, or Kiss Me, Kate? Mark N. Grant traces the transformation of singing and melody, libretto and lyric writing, dance rhythms, sound design, and choreography and stage direction through three distinct eras: the formative period (1866–1927), the golden age (1927–1966), and the fall (1967 to the present). He explores how and why the unsophisticated genre of pre-1927 musical comedy…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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