Recommended Libretti

September 7th, 2018

Assassins – Book by John Weidman; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

“Nothing quite prepares you for the disturbing brilliance of Assassins.” –David Richards, The New York Times
“Dark, demented humor, as horrifying as it is hilarious.” –Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press
“Intelligent and thrilling musical theatre. Dazzling in its originality.” –Ken Mandelbaum, Theaterweek
Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking achievements in musical theatre attain a new level of audacity and accomplishment in his latest creation, Assassins. Evoking a fraternity of Presidential assassins and would-be assassins across a hundred years of our history (including John Wilkes Booth, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, John Hinckley and Lee Harvey Oswald), he and collaborator John Weidman examine success, failure and the questionable drive for power and celebrity in American society. The result is an unusually imaginative and utterly idiosyncratic entertainment compounded equally of insight, pleasure, and provocation. Assassins is an important and permanent addition to the American stage.

 

 

Bed And Sofa – Book by Laurence Klavan; Music & Lyrics by Polly Pen
Based on a Russian silent film

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabaret – Book by Joe Masteroff; Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb

 

Candide – Book by Hugh Wheller; Music by Leonard Bernstein; Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Additional Lyrics by Leonard Bernstein, Lillian Hellman, John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim

 

Caroline, Or Change – Book & Lyrics by Tony Kushner; Music by Jeanine Tesori

Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
Evening Standard Award for Best Musical
Olivier Award for Best New Musical

1963, Louisiana. The destruction of a Confederate statue might just signal that change is in the air. But, whatever the progress of the civil rights movement, things seem just the same in the Gellman household – for now at least.

Caroline, the black maid to the family, is struggling to stay afloat – emotionally and economically. Noah, the eight-year-old son of her employer, tries to make sense of the world following the death of his mother and his father’s remarriage. When his stepmother comes up with a way for Caroline to take a little more money home, the consequences for Caroline and Noah’s relationship are not what anybody might have expected…

Caroline, or Change is an uplifting and profound portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval. It received its British premiere at the National Theatre in 2006 and won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. This edition was published alongside the Chichester Festival Theatre production, which transferred to Hampstead Theatre, London, in 2018.

 

Carousel – Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hamerstein II; Music by Richard Rodgers
Based on the play ‘Liliom’ by Ferenc Molnár

In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, swaggering, carefree carnival barker Billy Bigelow captivates and marries naive millworker Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant, and desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent up there. Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day 15 years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instils a sense of hope and dignity in both the child and her mother is a dramatic testimony to the power of love. It s easy to understand why, of all the shows they created, Carousel was Rodgers and Hammerstein s personal favourite.

 

A Chorus Line – Book by James Kirkwood Jr. & Nicholas Dante;
Music by Marvin Hamlisch; Lyrics by Edward Kleban

It is hard to believe that over 25 years have passed since A Chorus Line first electrified a New York audience. The memories of the show’s birth in 1975, not to mention those of its 15-year-life and poignant death, remain incandescent and not just because nothing so exciting has happened to the American musical since. For a generation of theater people and theatergoers, A Chorus Line was and is the touchstone that defines the glittering promise, more often realized in lengend than in reality, of the Broadway way. This impressive book contains the complete book and lyrics of one of the longest running shows in Broadway history with a preface by Samuel Freedman, an introduction by Frank Rich and lots of photos from the stage production.

 

Company – Book by George Furth; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

“A landmark musical, one of those few shows that enter the permanent lore of the theatre by altering the vocabulary of dramatic possibilities.” –Time
“There’s never been a franker, more sophisticated work written for the musical stage.” –San Francisco Examiner
“With a deliberately episodic, painfully accurate book by George Furth and an unforgettable score by Stephen Sondheim, Company is a total reversal of the usual musical comedy format. It is rigorously unsentimental. It has the courage to be both bitter and honest about love and marriage.” –Kevin Kelly, Boston Globe

A breakthrough Broadway musical in 1970, Company remains fresh, acerbic and original today. The musical’s themes—marriage and commitment, friendship and loneliness—and its innovations in form mark it as a landmark of modern American musical theatre. Company’s 25th anniversary was commemorated by two major revivals: in New York at the Roundabout Theatre Company and in London at the Donmar Warehouse. This edition incorporates all revisions and additions made for these productions.

 

Fela – Book by Bill T. Jones & Jim Lewis, based on music and lyrics by the late Nigerian singer Fela Kuti
Additional music by Aaron Johnson & Jordan McLean and Additional Lyrics by Jim Lewis

 

Fiddler On The Roof – Book by Joseph Stein; Music by Jerry Bock;
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick; Based on ‘Tevye and His Daughters’ by Sholem Aleichem

Originally entitled “Tevye”, the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on “Tevye and his Daughters”, or “Tevye the Milkman”, and other stories originally published by the Russian Jewish author Sholom Aleichem in 1894. The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while the world and civilization around him change rapidly. He must cope with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters – each daughter’s choice of husband moves progressively further and further away from established custom, and with the edict of the Tsar that upends his village.

 

Follies – Book by James Goldman; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Including such classic songs as Broadway Baby, I’m Still Here and Losing My Mind. Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is staged for the first time at the National Theatre in 2017.

 

 

 

Fun Home – Book & Lyrics by Lisa Kron; Music by Jeanine Tesori
Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel

WINNER! Best Musical – 2015 Tony® Awards!
WINNER! Best Score (Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron) – 2015 Tony® Awards!
WINNER! Best Book of a Musical (Lisa Kron) – 2015 Tony® Awards!
WINNER! BEST MUSICAL – New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Off-Broadway Alliance Award
FINALIST! The Pulitzer Prize for Drama
When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires. Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

 

Funny Girl – Book by Isobel Lennart; Music by Jule Styne; Lyrics by Bob Merrill

 

GIANT – Book by Sybille Pearson; Music & Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Based on the novel by Edna Ferber

 

Gospel At Colonus – Music by Bob Telson; Original Lyrics by Lee Breuer;
Adapted Lyrics by Bob Telson & Lee Breuer
Based on the adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus

“I’ve been in a lot of shows in my life, and I’ve thought a lot of ’em were pretty good, but this is a masterpiece.” – Morgan Freeman
“An ancient drama explodes into a hand-clapping, soul-stirring gospel musical.” – Chicago Tribune
“One of the most marvelous shows the decade… Colonus is a triumph of reconciliation, bringing together black and white, pagan and Christian, ancient and modern in a sunburst of joy that seems to touch the secret heart of civilization itself.” – Jack Kroll, Newsweek

Writing at the end of his own long life, in Oedipus at Colonus Sophocles depicted his doomed hero’s final hours; at the moment of his death the aged Oedipus is free at last. Envisioning this rarely performed meditation on mortality as a rousing service in a black church, Lee Breuer has created a remarkable text based on Robert Fitzgerald’s splendid translation. Rearranging, simplifying, cutting here and enhancing there, Breuer has above all honored the spirit and the poetry of Sophocles’s lovely work, giving it a new life in this time and place.
Inspired by the joyous faith at the heart of African-American Christianity, Breuer and composer Bob Telson have turned a momentary wish of Sophocles’ chorus into a central desire of Oedipus himself. “I wish the wind would lift me,” he sings, “so I could look with the eyes of the angels.” The fundamental action of The Gospel of Colonus is to “lift him up” – at the hour of Oedipus’ death to celebrate his life, to journey through grief to triumphal resurrection. “Man,” says lead actor Morgan Freeman, “this is what theatre is all about.”

Lee Breuer is a founding member of the acclaimed avant-garde company Mabou Mines. He has written and directed many groundbreaking works for theatre including a trilogy of “Animations,” A Prelude to Death in Venice and Haji. Sister Suzie Cinema, a cinema collection of his poems and performances, was previously published by TCG.
Bob Telson’s recent projects include collaborating with Breuer on The Warrior Ant and composing the score for the film Bagdad Café.

 

Guys and Dolls – Book by Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows; Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Based on a story and characters by Damon Runyon

 

Gypsy – Book by Arthur Laurents; Music by Jules Styne; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee

Based on the life of Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy was a Broadway smash for Sondheim and his West Side Story collaborator Arthur Laurents. This is the tale of vaudeville’s sad decline, and of one domineering stage mother and her inadvertant creation of a notorious burlesque stripper. Featuring such standards as “Let Me Entertain You” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”.

Gypsy was revived in London’s West End in the spring of 2015, starring Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton as Mamma Rose. 

 

Hamilton – Book, Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Inspired by the book ‘Alexander Hamilton’ by Ron Chernow

 

Jelly’s Last Jam – Book by George C. Wolfe; Music by Jelly Roll Morton;
Musical Adaptation & Additional Music by Luther Henderson; Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead

“Ambitions beyond the imagination of most Broadway musicals. Anyone who cares about the future of the American musical will want to see Jelly’s Last Jam.”–Frank Rich, The New York Times
An intensive investigation of the life and work of composer/musician Jelly Roll Morton, Jelly’s Last Jam breaks important ground, allowing African-American history to speak from the Broadway stage.

 

A Little Night Music – Book by Hugh Wheeler; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

The libretto for Stephen Sondheim’s utterly sophisticated and charming musical based on Ingmar Bergman’s film, Smiles of a Summer Night. A Little Night Music features one of his most famous songs, Send in the Clowns.

Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and Tony Award for Best Musical, Sondheim’s glorious musical revolves around the complicated love life of a middle-aged actress Desirée Armfeldt. Presided over by her formidable mother, Desirée attempts to rid herself of one lover in order to marry another. A weekend in the country proves to be a sparkling catalyst for love, tears and laughter. 

 

Little Shop Of Horrors – Book by Howard Ashman; Music & Lyrics by Alan Menken

 

The Light In The Piazza – Book by Craig Lucas; Music & Lyrics by Adam Guettel

Winner of six Tony Awards
“A wondrous fable that is as simple and complicated as its ineffable subject–love. The Light in the Piazza has ravishing power. It’s as if Guettel were determined to capture the golden light of Tuscany in a bottle. His lyrics are remarkable, and the book, written by Craig Lucas, is written with characteristic empathy and humor. Brilliant.” – Frank Rich
“The Light in the Piazza beautifully captures the eternal allure of Italy. . . . The story wraps itself around your heart.” – Chicago Sun-Times
“Sumptuous and romantic. Guettel’s music and lyrics represent a genuine expense of spirit. The Light in the Piazza offers a complex contemplation of the well-defended emptiness of every man and woman. It doesn’t want theatergoers to feel good; it wants to make them feel deeply. And it does.” – New Yorker

Composer Adam Guettel, best known for his Floyd Collins, has teamed with Prelude to a Kiss playwright Craig Lucas to create a passionate and soaring new musical. Based on Elizabeth Spencer’s 1960 novella, The Light in the Piazza is the story of a young American woman whose chance encounter with a charming young Italian man in a Florentine piazza sets off a whirlwind romance, with an unsettling revelation.
Craig Lucas is a playwright, screenwriter and director. His plays include Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, Blue Window, God’s Heart, The Singing Forest and Small Tragedy. His screenplays include Longtime Companion, The Secret Lives of Dentists and The Dying Gaul, which he also directed. Mr. Lucas’ awards include the L.A. Drama Critics Award, an OBIE Award for Best Play and Best Director, and the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Adam Guettel is a composer/lyricist living in Seattle, where he is Artist in Residence at the Intiman Theatre. His other work includes Floyd Collins and Saturn Returns (recorded by Nonesuch Records as Myths and Hymns). Mr. Guettel’s awards include the Stephen Sondheim Award, the ASCAP New Horizons Award, and the American Composers Orchestra Award.

 

London Road – Book & Lyrics by Alecky Blythe; Music & Lyrics by Adam Cork

‘A deeply inventive, bold, life-affirming musical’ –Time Out

A groundbreaking new musical unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Premiered to huge acclaim at the National Theatre in 2011. Playwright Alecky Blythe collaborates with composer Adam Cork to tell the true-life stories of a small community thrust into the spotlight by a series of murders in their midst. In the autumn of 2006 the everyday life of the quiet rural town of Ipswich was shattered by the discovery of the bodies of five women. The residents of London Road had struggled for years with the soliciting and kerb-crawling that they frequently encountered. As Steve Wright, the occupant of No. 79, was arrested, charged and then convicted of the murders, the immediate community grappled with what it meant to be at the epicentre of this tragedy.

Adam Cork uses the melodic and rhythmic speech patterns captured on playwright Alecky Blythe’s extensive recorded interviews with the people of Ipswich to create an experimental and challenging work which reveals the ways in which even the darkest experiences can engender a greater sense of our mutual dependence.

 

Marie Christine – Book, Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa,
Inspired by Medea

 

The Music Man – Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Wilson

 

My Fair Lady – Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner; Music by Frederick Loewe
Based upon George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’

Sparkling with wit, wisdom and wonderful songs including, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Loverly’ and ‘Get Me To The Church On Time’, the musical play based on Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’ has been delighting audiences since it was first performed in the 1950s.
When overbearing Professor Higgins stumbles on flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, in Covent Garden he recognizes that her hideous vowels and forgotten consonants are all that separate her from the upper classes. Higgins wagers that he can pass her off as a Duchess in a matter of weeks. But what will become of Eliza when the bet is over?
This edition of ‘My Fair Lady’ includes the complete script and a selection of black and white stills from the Oscar-winning film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

 

Pal Joey – Book by john O’Hara; Music by Richard Rodgers; Lyrics by Lorenz Hart

On the seedy side of Chicago nightlife in the 1930s, Joey Evans is a poor man’s Bing Crosby–a big-talking, small-time nightclub crooner down on his luck but always on the make. In slangy, error-littered letters signed “Pal Joey,” he recounts his exploits with brash nightclub managers, shady business partners, and every pretty girl (“mouse”) he meets. Charismatic yet conniving, Pal Joey is a smooth operator whose bravado and big ideas disguise a far less self-assured soul, caught up in the rags-to-riches dream of the Jazz Age.
Originally serialized in The New Yorker and the inspiration for the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical of the same name and the 1957 film starring Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, and Rita Hayworth, Pal Joey is the story of a true “heel,” as complex and memorable as any antihero in American literature.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

 

Parade – Book by Alfred Uhry; Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown

 

Passing Strange – Book, Music & Lyrics by Stew; Additional Music by Heidi Rodewald

The innovative new musical that won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book and is soon to be a Spike Lee film. “Smashes Broadway cliches with an electric guitar and the funniest libretto I can remember.” New York Passing Strange was nominated for 7 Tony Awards, and won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Musical.

 

 

 

 

Passion – Book by James Lapine; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Best Musical, Evening Standard Awards 2010

A musical based on a 19th-century Italian novel, Passion tells of the consequences of a sickly woman’s love for a handsome young army captain. From the award-winning writing partnership behind Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods.

Giorgio is a lusty officer in the Italian army, transferred to a remote outpost under the watchful eye of Colonel Ricci. Ricci’s ward, Fosca, is a sickly and unattractive girl, who falls heavily in love with Giorgio at first sight. This is a love so compelling that she gradually wins the young officer over – but at what cost?

 

Porgy & Bess – Book by DuBose Heyward; Music by George Gershwin; Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Adapted from Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward’s play and DuBose Heyward’s novel ‘Porgy’

 

Oliver! – Music & Lyrics by Lionel Bart
Based on the novel ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens

 

Oklahoma! – Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II; Music by Richard Rodgers
Based on the play ‘Green Grow The Lilacs’ by Lynn Riggs

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains, in many ways, their most innovative, having set the standards and established the rules of musical theatre still being followed today. Set in a Western Indian territory just after the turn of the century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. Although the road to true love never runs smooth, with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, love’s journey is as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road. That they will succeed in making a new life together we have no doubt, and that this new life will begin in a brand-new state provides the ultimate climax to the triumphant “Oklahoma”.

 

Show Boat – Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstien II; Music by Jerome Kern
Based on the novel by Edna Ferber

 

South Pacific – Book by Oscar Hammerstein II & Joshua Logan;
Music by Richard Rodgers; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony for Best Musical, South Pacific flourished as the golden musical of Broadway s post-WWII golden era. Nearly 60 years after its 1949 premiere, South Pacific returned to Broadway in Lincoln Canter Theatre s glorious Tony-winning production, setting box-office records and bringing this timely and timeless musical to new generations. With a score by Rodgers & Hammerstein and a libretto by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan, based on James A. Michener s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Tales of the South Pacific, this landmark musical combines compassionate love stories with the saga of a world at war. Richly developed characters are faced with life-changing moments in a complex world, their thoughts and yearnings powerfully expressed in the lyrics to such songs as This Nearly Was Mine, Younger Than Springtime, and Some Enchanted Evening.

 

 

Sunday in the Park with George – Book by James Lapine;
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

First staged on Broadway in 1984 and at the National Theatre in London in 1990, “Sunday in the Park with George” is an extraordinary creation even for Sondheim. Inspired by Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (which is reproduced in the book), the musical brings both Seurat and the painting to life on stage. In the second half, over a century later, Seurat’s great-grandson is wrestling with the same obsession: that art comes before love, before everything. This volume contains the complete book and lyrics as well as a 50-page introduction detailing the making of the musical plus an interview with Sondheim plus “The New York Times” review in which Frank Rich called it: “audacious, haunting and…touching…The first truly modernist work of musical theatre that Broadway has ever produced”. “Sunday in the Park with George” is re-issued alongside the first major revival since the premiere, starring Daniel Evans, who won an Oliver Award for another Sondheim show: Merrily We Roll Along.

 

Sweeney Todd – Book by Hugh Wheeler; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

The gruesomely fascinating musical about the ‘Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, from the writing partnership behind A Little Night Music.

Victim of a gross injustice that robbed him of his wife and child, Sweeney Todd sets about exacting a terrible revenge on society: slitting the throats of the customers who visit his barbershop. But things are getting complicated – a romance has developed with Mrs Lovett, the lady who runs the pie shop next door, and the disappearances are starting to cause concern. With the bodies piling up, Sweeney Todd hits upon a novel idea, and starts passing on his ‘patrons’ to his homely neighbour… Meat pie, anyone?

This is the full book and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim’s musical based on the famous 19th-century melodrama. Sweeney Todd won Best Musical, Best Book (by Hugh Wheeler) and Best Score, as well as five other Tony Awards for its Broadway Premiere in 1979. It has been revived to huge acclaim many times since; most recently in London’s West End, in a smash-hit production starring Michael Ball as the eponymous barber and Imelda Staunton as his partner in crime.

 

Threepenny Opera – Book & Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht; Music by Kurt Weill
Based on ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ by John Gay

 

West Side Story – Book by Arthur Laurents; Music by Leonard Bernstein; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’