“Miller has directed many of these shows, and his familiarity with the works as performance pieces makes his vantage point stand out from those of other writers on musical theater. His commentaries will be of interest to performers, directors, students, and scholars who are interested in any of these shows as well as to readers who enjoy musicals, particularly more recent ones. While many of the musicals included here have played on Broadway, this is certainly not always the case. Indeed, it is the inclusion of a wider span of musical theater works, namely those with healthy lives in regional theaters and off-Broadway, that contributes to this book’s value."”— William A. Everett, Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
“Miller will have you aching to see new productions of these works, and will send you back to the original cast albums so that you can now appreciate what you missed the the first time around.”— Peter Filichia, critic for the New Jersey Star-Ledger and author of many books on musical theatre
“Firm convictions backed up by ferocious theatrical intelligence . . . Miller has strong, idiosyncratic opinions that spark stimulating reflection . . . What he’s really celebrating is the expanding horizons of the musical theatre.” – Wendy Smith, American Theatre magazine
“Miller is clearly at home in the world of popular culture; one of the pleasures of Sex, Drugs ... is to observe his recourse to a wide range of cultural, political and social references in order to highlight influences and recurrent motifs that should be illuminating for actors, directors and other enthusiasts. . . His infectious enjoyment of his topic allows Miller for instance to persuasively reclaim the radical potential of Grease.” – Olaf Jubin, Studies in Musical Theatre
“Scott Miller is a theater sage. His thorough dissection of the genre and the shows he has chosen to represent it are great research opportunities for fledgling directors and actors alike who may be looking to build their backstories and character definition. Better yet, to fully understand what exactly it is they’re working on besides just a well crafted script and some great songs passed down from artist to artist. The more recreating performers and production teams have Scott’s level of understanding about where the original creative team came from, the stronger even the smallest theater company will become at making something new out of what’s been done before. Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals is a valuable addition to the world library of theater history & analysis.”— Doug Storm, original cast member of Bat Boy: The Musical
Scott Miller once again shares his passion for and knowledge of musical theater in this endlessly entertaining and informative look at how musicals have both reflected and adapted to America's changing mores. Specifically, Miller casts his eye on the triumvirate of postwar social change: sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
Eager to respond to the concerns and tastes of the increasingly influential baby-boomer generation, musical theater in the late Sixties began to embrace formerly taboo subjects. Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals shows how American culture has changed over the twentieth century, from the Roaring Twenties (The Wild Party) to the cultural chaos of the Fifties (Grease) and the sexual revolution of the Sixties (Hair) and Seventies (Rocky Horror), to the rebirth of the art form in the Nineties (Bat Boy), and up to the present, exploring where we've been and where we might be heading. This is a celebration of the counter-culture taking center stage in the most American of performing arts, and changing it forever.
Shows discussed in the book include The Wild Party, Grease, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Show, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, I Love My Wife, Bat Boy, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, High Fidelity, The Capeman, bare, Taboo, Jersey Boys, Next to Normal, Edges, Spring Awakening, Passing Strange, Love Kills, Glory Days, Rooms, American Idiot, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
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"Enthusiasm. Without it, there would be no fun, no obsession and, of course, no chat boards! Scott Miller's recent Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre has enthusiasm in spades. . . Miller has been writing, performing in, and directing musicals since 1981 – clearly, this is a man who lives, eats and breathes musicals. You can feel his excitement from the first page of the introductory chapter." -- Bob Gutowski, TalkinBroadway.com
"An insightful, thoughtful analysis of this ground-breaking work." -- The Drama Book Shop
"One of the best reports ever written about that classic musical theatre. It covers the show's history, hippies, war, peace and freedom. It deals with spirituality and Hair's amazing effect on everyone who has been involved." -- Michael Butler, original Broadway producer of Hair
"Scott Miller makes a strong case for regarding the show as pioneering the nonlinear concept musicals that dominated the American musical theater in the decade to follow...Miller clearly loves and respects Hair and his enthusiasm is contagious." -- Stage Directions magazine
NOW IN ITS FOURTH PRINTING
"[Miller] focuses on musicals as theater -- real shows being put on with live performances -- rather than literature -- and demonstrates why musical theatre still remains a vital and vibrant living art form. Miller's opinions are occasionally provocative, and wholly engaging, written from the perspective of a director and a performer. Anyone with an interest in musical theater will be fascinated with Miller's latest work, and the serious aficionado will find new insights to ponder. Above all, this mesmerizing new book will have you thinking and talking about the selected shows like never before." -- Stage and Screen Book Club
NOW IN ITS FIFTH PRINTING!
"A deep-dish analysis (for actors and directors alike) of [The Music Man] and others like the current Chicago and the dearly departed Ragtime." -- Playbill
"Miller’s book is too fascinating to be hogged by would-be directors. Students of theater will find it a godsend, and general audience members for musical theater should find it quite appealing. -- Booklist
NOW IN ITS EIGHTH PRINTING!
"From Assassins to West Side Story is that rare theater textbook that is so articulate, insightful, and downright playful that it can be read simply for pleasure." – The Editors at Amazon.com
"Our highest recommendation." – Stage Directions Magazine
You Could Drive a Person Crazy: Chronicle of an American Theatre Company is the story of New Line Theatre's remarkable first ten years, from 1991 to 2001, with reminiscences from the people who made the shows, quotes from the critics, director's notes from the programs, and much more. For years, conventional wisdom had held that theatre companies have to produce brainless, well-known, flashy shows to make money and stay afloat. But one regional theatre company out in the middle of America has been proving since 1991 that conventional wisdom is wrong. New Line Theatre consistently challenges its audiences, taking them on wild, intense, roller coaster rides, assaulting them with issues, challenging them with complex characters and themes, demanding that audiences not remain passive, sometimes producing shows very few people have heard of, daring to be controversial, aggressive, confrontational. New Line Theatre has, once and for all, shattered the myth that audiences only like what they know, that audiences don’t like to think when they come to the theatre, that television has made us all into passive couch potatoes. On the contrary, New Line has proven that audiences – even those in the supposedly conservative Midwest – love to be challenged, shaken up, confronted, involved. This is New Line’s story. Order your copy now!
Scott Miller has contributed chapters to several other books on theatre, including...
Stephen Sondheim: A Casebook
The Stage Directions Guide to Directing
The Stage Directions Guide to Publicity
The Stage Directions Guide to Musical Theatre
Readings on West Side Story
All five books are available at your local bookstore or through Amazon.com.
Praise for Scott Miller's musical theatre books:
"My name is Kristine Perry and I am an English teacher and director at Toms River High School South in New Jersey. First, I would like to thank you for your wonderful books which have given me and my casts invaluable insights into many of our recent musicals including Into The Woods and Oklahoma! We have used your essays as a guideline and basis for discussions that have allowed us to go beneath the surface of these musicals and enabled our show to truly be a learning experience. Your work has given our productions a rich texture that I know is due to our exploration of character and text inspired by your writing. Please keep writing! You are giving something wonderful to many people."
"Dear Mr. Miller:
You don't know me but I have read several of your books, all informative and enlightening (and most entertaining). Every time I go to research a production, I end-up on your website, reading one of your essays (tonight it happened to be PIPPIN). Thank you for your extraordinary insight to musical theatre. Your opinions are of great practical value -- they transcend the academic to arrive at the inspirational. Thanks for all the great work.
Jeffrey Sanzel, Executive Artistic Director
Theatre Three, Port Jefferson, NY"