According to Mr. Webster, an icon is “an object of uncritical devotion”—a definition that has diversified notably of late. Today’s icons are apt to be people (Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise), places (Woodstock, Alcatraz), or, yes, things (soap operas?).
The Performing Arts category is crammed with icons—you can hardly go a block without running into one. But in whatever form these icons may be, they’re often the subjects of books. Here are selected icons past and present of the entertainment business.
From the mid-1800s to the early 1930s, America’s predominant entertainment form was vaudeville: wholesome variety acts—jugglers, acrobats, singers—that drew enthusiastic audiences and often launched careers of performers who went on to screen stardom. The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville’s loving take on this turn-of-the-century Americana comprises more than 500 entries.
Noël Coward—Sir Noël, as of 1970——would have thrived in vaudeville, except that he was a Brit—and what a Brit. Born in 1899, he epitomized—and often satirized—the mores of high society, with his effervescent charm, droll wit, and talents to burn. Once immersed in these Treasures of Noël Coward, one won’t want to stop.
If Noël Coward was all brittle sophistication, lyricist Lorenz Hart was sadly unromantic, battling depression and alcoholism. But in his short life (he died at 48, in 1943) he gave us a treasure trove of exquisite songs as half of the songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart. A Ship Without a Sail, yes, but one rich in musical theater lore.
Theater lore takes over in Mr. Broadway, with Gerald Schoenfeld recalling triumphs and tribulations as chairman of the Shubert Organization from 1972 until his death in 2008. Though show biz gossip-mongers have long made hay with the Shubert/Schoenfeld feuds, Gerald Schoenfeld now has his due: in Manhattan, the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.
Another Broadway palace—the Mark Hellinger—made show-biz history on March 15, 1956, the opening night of My Fair Lady, the brilliant musical adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion and the subject of Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady. Critics coined new superlatives for stars Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, and MFL became a 1964 film.
From the Broadway stage to the silver screen, as Ray Zone recounts in his fascinating 3-D Revolution, the newfangled technology has held audiences captive for over a century and a half. Who knew? And now, is 3-D TV poised to take over our living rooms?
More from Tinseltown, and this time think really iconic. In 1987’s Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze famously declared as female audiences swooned, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Coming on the film’s 25th anniversary, Dirty Dancing: A Celebration is catnip for the millions who saw and loved the hyper-romantic film—and saw it again.
Jeanne Cooper, who’s been working for seven decades of her 83 years, has become an iconic legend in daytime TV, portraying the tough-as-nails Katherine Chancellor on CBS’s The Young and the Restless—the only performer to be with the show since its 1973 premiere; her deliciously titled memoir says it all: Not Young, Still Restless.
Have you heard the one about the TV moguls who made it all happen—and then watched it fall apart? That was NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield who, from 1993 through 1998, attracted 75 million viewers with their can’t-miss programming of must-see TV. Littlefield’s compulsively readable saga, Top of the Rock, is a great tale of folly.
No folly connected with this group, just the hottest ticket on TV. Not only is Mad Men a rousing success, but the ’60s-set show is clearly one of the “around the water-cooler” buzz locations. For further dirt, check out Mad Men on the Couch.
PW’s Top 10: Performing Arts
The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville
Anthony Slide. Univ. Press of Mississippi, Apr.
The Treasures of Noël Coward
Barry Day. Sterling Publishing/Andre Deutsch, Mar.
A Ship Without a Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart
Gary Marmorstein. Simon & Schuster, July.
Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars
Gerald Schoenfeld. Applause Books, Apr.
Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady
Dominic McHugh. Oxford Univ. Press, July.
3-D Revolution: The History of Modern Stereoscopic Cinema
Ray Zone. Univ. Press of Kentucky, May.
Dirty Dancing: A Celebration
Eleanor Bergstein. Rizzoli Int’l Publications/Universe, Mar.
Not Young, Still Restless
Jeanne Cooper. HarperCollins/It Books, July.
Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV
Warren Littlefield and T.R. Pearson. Doubleday, May.
Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit TV Show.
Stephanie Newman. St. Martin’s Griffin, Feb.
Performing Arts Listings
Christopher Nolan’s Batman: The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy by Jody Duncan Jesser and Janine Pourroy (June 1, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-1419703690) studies the luxuriant artwork and photography in Nolan’s #1 megahit, 2008’s The Dark Knight, which won lavish praise, including eight Academy Award nominations and two Oscars—expect a similar response from the second installment, The Dark Knight Rises, out in June.
Starting Your Career as a Theatrical Designer: Insights and Advice from Leading Broadway Designers by Michael Riha (May 1, paper, $27.50, ISBN 978-1581159080). Top Broadway designers—working in scenery, lighting, and projection—share insider information for aspiring and seasoned practitioners; from the Starting Your Career series.
A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies That Suck by Roger Ebert (Feb. 7, paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1449410254). The Pulitzer Prize–winning film critic collects more than 200 of his scathing, superbiting, and just plain funny reviews, from movies that received a rating of two stars or fewer.
Funny: The Book—Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Comedy by David Misch (June 1, paper, $18.99, ISBN 978-1557838292). From historical roots (or is that hysterical?) Misch considers what makes us laugh—in movies (Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers), TV (I Love Lucy, The Office), prose (Robert Benchley, Ogden Nash), and theater (Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward).
Inside the Plaza: An Intimate Portrait of the Ultimate Hotel, Revised and Updated by Ward Morehouse III (Mar. 1, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1557838230). Lots has happened since this glamorous hostelry opened its doors in October 1907 (think Eloise, the Beatles, Ivana Trump, and more); now the playwright/columnist/critic dishes the latest dirt.
Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars by Gerald Schoenfeld (Apr. 1, hardcover, $27.99; ISBN 978-1557838278). The long-time chairman of the Shubert Organization shares triumphs and failures, lavishes praise, and settles scores—often via nightmarish tales of the Shuberts themselves.
Never Say Never by Ricki Lake (Apr. 17, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1451627175). From teen star to talk-show host to media personality—to say nothing of her latest gig, a terpsichorean triumph on TV’s Dancing with the Stars—Lake pulls no punches in her warts-and-all memoir. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
(dist. by IPG)
Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook: Models, Artwork and Memories from 65 Years of Filmmaking by Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton (May 1, hardcover, $55, ISBN 978-1845135577). Harryhausen, regarded as a grandmaster of special effects in the pre-computer age, reveals a wealth of never-before-seen film artifacts that shed light on his creative process.
(dist. by IPG)
The Boardwalk Empire A–Z: A Totally Unofficial Guide to Accompany the Hit HBO Series by John Wallace (Mar. 1, paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-1843583653) covers several aspects of the much-praised series—the historical background, the reconstruction of the 1920s period, biographies of cast and crew members, and more.
Chicago Review Press
The Slasher Movie Book by J.A. Kerswell (June 1, paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1556520105) examines the horror subgenre that brought a new high in violence and suspense to mainstream cinema—from its roots in Hitchcock movies and grindhouse to the golden age of slasher (1978–1984) launched by John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Name That Movie: 100 Illustrated Movie Puzzles by Paul Rogers (Mar. 28, hardcover, $14.95, ISBN 978-1452104973). From the early days of filmdom to current blockbusters, Rogers tests cineastes’ visual knowledge, highlighting both obscure (remember Rosebud?) and recognizable images (Psycho’s spooky house on the hill) in 100 classic films.
Columbia Univ. Press
Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet by Peter Decherney (Apr. 10, hardcover, $34.50, ISBN 978-0231159463). Beginning with Thomas Edison’s aggressive patent and copyright disputes and concluding with recent lawsuits against YouTube and Universal, Wars follows the struggle of media industries to influence and adapt to copyright law.
American Showman: Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908–1935 by Ross Melnick (Apr. 17, hardcover, $32.50, ISBN 978-0231159043). The latest in the Film and Culture series treats the showbiz pioneer who transformed America’s movie-going experience, theater management, radio broadcasting, music publishing, and more.
Cornell Univ. Press
J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood’s Cold War by John Sbardellati (May 8, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0801450082) covers Hoover’s 1942–1958 investigation of the motion picture industry to expose Hollywood’s alleged subversion of “the American Way” through its depiction of social problems and alternative politics.
My Happy Days in Hollywood by Garry Marshall (Apr. 24, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0307885005). The subtitle of Marshall’s memoir sums it up: From Happy Days to The Odd Couple to Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, Tales from a Hollywood Legend. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Both of Us: My Life with Farrah by Ryan O’Neal, Jodee Blanco, and Kent Carroll (Apr. 3, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0307954824). Frequent fodder for the gossip-mongers, the close relationship between these two performers, which ended with Fawcett’s death in 2009, is portrayed in detail. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Andre Deutsch/Carlton Publishing Group
Elizabeth Taylor (1932–2011): Queen of the Silver Screen by Ian Lloyd (Apr. 1, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0233003412). This intimate, photographic collection traces Liz’s life through movies, marriages, and charity work; includes never-before-seen personal photographs.
Disney: The Art of John Carter, a Visual Journey by Mark Salisbury (Feb. 15, hardcover, $50, ISBN 978-1423154921) takes an exclusive look at the art and origins of the visuals from the upcoming Walt Disney Studio film, John Carter.
Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield and T.R. Pearson (May 1, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0385533744). A gaggle of NBC luminaries—Jerry Seinfeld, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Welch, et al.—recapture the glory days of the network’s dominance and Littlefield’s top post.
(dist. by IPG)
Who Is the Doctor: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who—The New Series by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith (Apr. 1, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1550229844). The authors of the series’ fanzine collections craft a combination of episode guides and essays exploring all facets of the six seasons of the new series.
Elsevier Science & Technology Books/Focal Press
FilmCraft: Directing by Michael Goodridge (June 15, paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0240818580) studies the diverse processes of such noted players as Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers, and the first female Oscar-winning director, Kathryn Bigelow.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Exit Interview by David Westin (May 3, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0374151218). President of ABC News for 13 years, Westin takes a behind-the-scenes look at the many changes during his tenure—the advent of cable networks, the Internet’s emergence—and the major news that marked it.
Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith (Mar. 20, hardcover, $25, ISBN 0978-1592407071). The producer (Good Will Hunting), director (Clerks, Chasing Amy), author (My Boring-Ass Life), and overall funnyman lays it on the line. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other) by Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams (Apr. 17, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1592407071). The forthright bond between this versatile entertainer and her mom might do wonders for the Mother’s Day trade. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them by Frank Langella (Mar. 7, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062094476). The celebrated stage actor records memorable encounters with many of the 20th century’s most intriguing personalities—JFK, Liz Taylor, Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Onassis, Arthur Miller, et al.
James Cameron’s Titanic by James Cameron (Feb. 15, paper, $24.99, ISBN 978-0062119384). This update of the 1997 bestseller is timed for Fox’s re-release of Titanic in 3D and the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking (April 14, 1912).
Not Young, Still Restless by Jeanne Cooper (July 11, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0062117748) chronicles the eight-decade career of actress Jeanne Cooper, best known for her portrayal of Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Headline Book Publishing
(dist. by IPG)
Michael Douglas: Acting on Instinct by John Parker (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0755362554) shares the inspiring life story of the Academy Award–winning actor, from Streets of San Francisco days to his public battle with cancer.
Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton by Mary McDonough (Mar. 29, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0758263674). McDonough, who played daughter Erin on The Waltons, reveals her subsequent battles with personal insecurities and her eventual transition into becoming an activist for women’s body image issues.
Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers: The Next Generation by George Stevens Jr. (Apr. 3, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0307273475) brings together the AFI dialogues among filmdom’s biggies, from the 1950s to today’s Hollywood.
Rocky Horror Picture Show by Dave Thompson (May 1, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-0879103873) discusses how this iconographical touchstone of ’70s cinema retained its immediacy and spontaneity in leaping from stage to celluloid.
Film Noir, the Directors by Alain Silver and James Ursini (Mar. 1, paper, $24.99, ISBN 978-0879103941) concentrates on the 30 key directors of the classic noir period, from such luminaries as Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and Nicholas Ray to lesser-known lights.
If You Like the Terminator... Here Are over 150 Movies, TV Shows, and Other Oddities That You Will Love by Scott Von Doviak (June 1, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0879103972) delves into the history of SF cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond.
Cave Full of Ghosts: The Billy Bob Tapes by Billy Bob Thornton and Kinky Friedman (Apr. 25, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062101778). Together with mysterymeister Friedman, Thornton spins colorful tales about his Southern upbringing, his love life (i.e., Angelina Jolie), and the golden age of Hollywood that inspired him. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Oxford Univ. Press
Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady by Dominic McHugh (July 9, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0199827305). This 1956 Lerner & Loewe blockbuster, which ran on Broadway for more than six years (an impressive feat in the pre–Lloyd Weber days), won nine Tony Awards and made a megastar of a 21-year-old London performer named Julie Andrews.
Phaidon Press/Cahiers du Cinema
Masters of Cinema: Michael Mann by Scott Foundas (Apr. 30, paper, $9.95, ISBN 978-2866429027) looks at the life and work of director Mann, whose credits range from mainstream to avant-garde.
Masters of Cinema: Quentin Tarantino by Scott Foundas (Apr. 30, paper, $9.95, ISBN 978-2866429010) considers how this enfant terrible’s innovative films both incite and saturate pop culture.
Dirty Dancing: A Celebration by Eleanor Bergstein (Mar. 20, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-0789322722) presents the first-ever book commemorating the film’s music and memories—a touchstone for generations of moviegoers, which was named by EW one of the most romantic movies of the past 25 years.
Santa Monica Press
“I Say, I Say... Son!” A Tribute to Legendary Animators Bob, Chuck, and Tom McKimson by Robert McKimson Jr. (May 1, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-1595800695). The first survey dedicated to the work of the McKimson brothers, groundbreaking animators whose credits include Looney Tunes, the Pink Panther, and Mr. Magoo.
Simon & Schuster
A Ship Without a Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart by Gary Marmorstein (July 3, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1416594253) surveys the brilliant but troubled songwriter whose lyrics enriched our American songbook with such hits as “Where or When,” “Isn’t It Romantic?” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Blue Moon,” and dozens more.
Bo and Hope: A Love Story by Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso (Apr. 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1402267444). For more than 25 years, Reckell and Alfonso have captivated Days of Our Lives fans as supercouple Bo and Hope; here they take an intimate look back at their partnership. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
London Movie Guide: Walks, Tours and Locations by Simon James (Feb. 7, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1849940139). Organized by area and featuring an annotated map, James’s guide will help cinema buffs follow the footsteps of Jude Law in Closer, Renée Zellweger’s escapades in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Gwyneth Paltrow’s misadventures in Sliding Doors, etc.
The Treasures of Noël Coward by Barry Day (Mar. 6, hardcover, $50, ISBN 978-0233003498). Playwright, director, actor, songwriter, singer—few artists have influenced popular culture more than the legendary Sir Noël.
Jason Statham: Taking Stock by Len Brown (Feb. 7, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1409132653) is the first biography to tackle its superstar subject: adrenaline junkie Statham—England’s homegrown, all-action hero—who’s taken Hollywood by storm in movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and The Transporter.
St. Martin’s Griffin
Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit TV Show by Stephanie Newman (Feb. 8, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1250002983) takes an analytic look inside the psyches of the deeply flawed and endlessly fascinating characters of the Emmy-winning drama.
Marilyn Monroe: The Final Years by Keith Badman (June 27, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0312607142). To be published for the 50th anniversary of Marilyn’s tragic death, this account dispels the rumors and sets the record straight on her last two years.
The Guttenberg Bible: A Memoir by Steve Guttenberg (Apr. 19, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0312383459). The actor who starred in such blockbusters as Diner, Police Academy, and Three Men and a Baby delivers a comically insightful memoir on Hollywood’s highs and lows.
Theatre Communications Group
An Ideal Theatre: Visions That Founded an American Art by Todd London (July 1, paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1559364096). An inspiring collection of the dreams and visions of the founders of the American theater movement.
Univ. of California Press
The Anatomy of Harpo Marx by Wayne Koestenbaum (Feb., paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0520269019) presents a play-by-play account of Harpo’s physical movements as captured on screen, celebrating the astonishing range of the performer’s body—its kinks, sexual multiplicities, somnolence, Jewishness, amusing pathos, and more.
Univ. of Wisconsin Press
Screen Nazis: Cinema, History, and Democracy by Sabine Hake (July 6, paper, $34.95, ISBN 978-0299287146). From the late 1930s to the early 21st century, filmmakers have been fascinated with Nazi leaders, rituals, and symbols; Hake studies the historical ties between film and fascism and the implications for mass culture and political life.
Univ. Press of Kentucky
3-D Revolution: The History of Modern Stereoscopic Cinema by Ray Zone (May 1, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0813136110) traces the rise of modern 3-D technology from 1952’s Bwana Devil to today’s rapidly modernizing 3-D industry, as evidenced by 2009’s Avatar, a technological breakthrough that has grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide.
My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey Through Hollywood by Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Crane (May 1, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0813136059). The son of famed director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Cleopatra) and the nephew of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz tells a warts-and-all tale of his journey through the inner world of the TV and film industries.
Univ. Press of Mississippi
The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville by Anthony Slide (Apr. 1, hardcover, $70, ISBN 978-1617032493) considers America’s once pre-eminent form of popular entertainment from the late 19th century through the early 1930s, looking at not only the entertainers themselves but also the theaters and those who worked behind the scenes.
Robert Rodriguez: Interviews by Zachary Ingle (Apr. 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1617032721). This entry in the Conversations with Filmmakers Series checks out rogue filmmaker Rodriguez, who rocketed to fame with his ultra-low-budget 1992 action film El Mariachi.
Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless by Joseph McBride (Feb. 14, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0307742926) delves into the nitty-gritty of the craft, breaking down the process into a series of approachable tasks, and focusing on literary adaptation as the best way to learn the basics.
Wayne State Univ. Press
Deadwood by Ina Rae Hark (Mar. 1, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0814334492) considers the highly rated 2004 HBO series in the context of the TV western and the intersection of capital and violence in American history.
Gilligan’s Island by Walter Metz (Feb. 1, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0814333723) analyzes the iconic sitcom that addresses key questions about American social life in the 1960s.
Inventing the Modern Yiddish Stage: Essays in Drama, Performance, and Show Business, edited by Joel Berkowitz and Barbara Henry (May 1, paper, $39.95, ISBN 978-0814335048) collects leading scholars’ insights on the plays, production, music, audiences, and political and aesthetic concerns.
Upne/Wesleyan Univ. Press
When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA by Adam Abraham (Feb. 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0819569141) scrutinizes the innovative studio that broke all the rules in the 1950s, pushing animated films well beyond the fantasy of the Disney Studio and the crash-bang anarchy of Warner Bros.
Yale Univ. Press
Strindberg: A Life by Sue Prideaux (May 1, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0300136937). Supported by new research, Prideaux’s work describes this literary master’s eventful and complicated life and work. No wonder, then, that Arthur Miller called the author of Miss Julie “the mad inventor of modern theater.”