Books by the Artistic Director


The latest book from Scott Miller

“Finally, someone who believes the American musical is not only alive and well but is growing and thriving in ways other observers may have missed. Scott Miller embraces the here and now of the art form and cries out ‘Hooray!’ (or a more appropriate and less printable rock and roll interjection). Well, fuck yeah for Scott Miller!”— Andrew Lippa, Broadway composer-lyricist

“Miller examines the post modern musical with a depth of knowledge that's astounding. . . I'm not going to take you through each chapter, because this book demands to be read. Miller has crafted another fine tome that examines the current state of theatre, and he does so with integrity, honesty and wit.”— Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“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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STRIKE UP THE BAND - A New History of Musical Theatre


"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,

"Obviously well-versed on his subject (he's written about musical theatre before). . . Miller does look decade by decade at the musical with insight and frequently with broad knowledge of the story behind a particular show." -- David Finkle, Backstage This is a densely packed and immensely well-informed new addition to the collection of ‘histories’ on musical theatre. Miller’s tone is collegial, his analysis at times deceptively acute, and his material obviously well informed by research and experience. The enthusiasm with which Miller expresses his own love for musical theatre is infectious, and as a reader this certainly is one thing that held interest through the 245-page history. Where writers such as John Bush Jones, John Kenrick, Richard Kislan, Andrew Lamb or others have tended to focus on specifically American, Broadway-centric histories, Miller succeeds in extending his analysis outwards, or even in looking inwards from a more international perspective, at the sociocultural, racial, political and artistic reasons for the developments of popular musical theatre. Whilst I would not agree with every perspective his analysis assumes, the only objective criticism I would venture to make is that perhaps for such a slim volume, and in an effort to make the work readable to a broader audience, Miller has diluted some of the more interesting and provocative discussions. In short, it is a shame the work could not have been even more in-depth and expansive. ‘Strike up the band …’ and read on. -- Ben Macpherson, Studies in Musical Theatre (You can read the whole review here.)

Once again, author. composer, and director Scott Miller has written a quirky, accessible, undeniably entertaining book about one of America's few truly indigenous art forms and one of our country's greatest gifts to the world, but this time going far beyond other histories. In STRIKE UP THE BAND, Miller explores not only well-known Broadway hits, but also musicals from off Broadway, off off Broadway, and American regional theatre, as well as shows by Blacks, Latinos, women, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities that are usually ignored. While other histories have always approached the art form with the Rodgers and Hammerstein model as the ideal, this history looks back over the last century from the perspective of the incredible, vigorous work on today's musical stages. In STRIKE UP THE BAND, Miller tells the whole story of musicals, pulling back the curtain on the amazing innovation and adventurousness of the art form, revealing its political and social conscience, and chronicling its rapid evolution over the last century.

The book focuses not only on what happened on stage but also on how it happened and why it matters. It's a different kind of history that explores the famous and, especially, the not-so famous productions to reveal the lineage that paved the way to contemporary musicals. Digging into 150 shows, Miller offers a forward-looking perspective on treasures from each era -- such as Anything Goes, West Side Story, Hair, and Rent -- while also looking at fascinating, genre-busting, and often short-lived productions, including Bat Boy, The Rocky Horror Show, Promenade, and The Capeman, to see how even obscure or commercially unsuccessful musicals have defined and advanced the form.

Moving decade by decade, Miller offers insight and inside information about the artistic approaches various composers, lyricists, bookwriters, and directors have taken, how those approaches have changed over time, and what social and historical forces continue to shape musical theatre today. He provides a strong sense of what groups have historically controlled the industry and how other groups' hard work and vision continue to change the musical theatre landscape for the better. The book frames musical theatre as an important, irreplaceable piece of American history and demonstrates how it reflects the social and political conditions of its time -- and how it changes them.

STRIKE UP THE BAND is as adventurous, detailed, and thoughtful in tracing the story behind the musical as it is in celebrating the form's diversity, vigor, innovation, and promise for the future. Join Miller not only in commemorating great moments on stage, but in gaining a powerful understanding of what the musical was, what it is today, and what it is becoming.

STRIKE UP THE BAND has been used as a textbook at American University, Arizona State University, Ball State University, Baylor University, Boston College, Brown University, California State University, Carnegie Mellon University, College of William & Mary, Columbia University, Eastern Oregon University, Eastman School of Music, Fordham University, George Washington University, Georgia Tech, Harvard University, Julliard, MIT, New York University, Penn State University, Princeton, Purdue University, Texas A&M, Tulane University, University of CA - Berkeley, University of Minnesota, and University of North Carolina.

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Let the Sun Shine In

"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

"The bold and innovative musical opened off-Broadway at the Public Theatre in October 1967, and the rest is history. Since its move to Broadway in April 1968, HAIR has continued to be performed all over the world by theater troupes ranging from high school to professional. Miller, artistic director of St. Louis's New Line Theatre, believes passionately in the significance and power of musical theater. Three of his previous books, From Assassins to West Side Story, Deconstructing Harold Hill, and Rebels with Applause, offer intelligent and detailed analyses of landmark musicals. Miller's productions of Hair for New Line in 2001 led him to write this definitive study, which explains why the show continues to have such a big impact on its audiences and casts. As he points out, scenes of brief nudity and the use of strong language are no longer novelties in the theater world, but the major issues of the late 1960s dealt with in Hair, such as sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, war and peace, race relations, and the environment, are still with us in 2003."-- Library Journal

This book is an in-depth historical, philosophical, and theatrical look at the great American Tribal Love-Rock Musical Hair, its creation, its cultural influences, its meanings both in 1967 and today, its impact both then and now, its various incarnations -- pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about Hair. An insightful, penetrating analysis of the ground-breaking work which offers proof positive that, far from being the silly hippie rock musical many people think it is, Hair is truly a work of genius, and one of the greatest works of the American theatre, Buy it now from (and New Line will get a commission!)

Rebels with Applause


"[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

"Any survey that ranges from Oklahoma to Mark Savage's The Ballad of Little Mikey and discusses each of its subjects with equal authority has to be worth a look. . . In his introduction, Miller makes no apology for allowing his own social and political views to influence the discussion of each of his subjects’ themes and content. In fact, it is these highly informed yet robust opinions that are the appeal of his work. . . I'm willing to bet that most readers will find many new insights into shows with which they are familiar as well as being left with the desire to explore further those they don't know so well." -- Mark Jennett, (Read the whole CultureVulture review.)

"A book for all fans of musical theatre and a must for directors and actors." -- The Drama Book Shop

"His profound disclosures are likely to imbue even the most casual fan with a new appreciation and understanding of musical theatre." -- Stonewall News Northwest

Scott Miller's third musical theatre book, Rebels with Applause: Broadway's Ground-Breaking Musicals, is now in its second printing, with chapters on Hair, Rent, Oklahoma!, Pal Joey, Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle, Floyd Collins, Jacques Brel, The Cradle Will Rock, Songs for a New World, and The Ballad of Little Mikey. Order it now from!

Deconstructing Harold Hill


"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

"Miller's insights and analyses are consistently fresh and fascinating." -- Encore

"There are books in which an author constructs a workmanlike puzzle built of painstakingly thorough research, and there are books in which an author creates, more or less, a testament to a lifelong love. Such is Deconstructing Harold Hill, in which Scott Miller displays such sustained passion for musical theatre that it can only be that this man lives his life for the medium . . . The chapters are all presented in an infectiously readable, undeniably intelligent manner that should be a happy help to theatre professionals interested in producing a particular show." -- Backstage

"I have a feeling from this book that there is one American director who is imaginative and daring with his new productions of classic American musicals: Scott Miller. I’ve got to get out to The New Line Theatre in St. Louis." -- Peter Filichia,

Deconstructing Harold Hill is a one-stop smorgasbord of delicious information and penetrating, thoughtful analysis of another collection of great musicals. Structured like Miller’s first book, with one show per juicy chapter, this books includes explorations of Ragtime, Camelot, Chicago, Passion, The Music Man, March of the Falsettos, Sunday in the Park with George, and The King and I (Heinemann Publishing, ISBN 0325001669, $19.95). Available in bookstores or order it now through

From Assassins to West Side Story


"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

"Our highest recommendation." – Stage Directions Magazine

"[Miller] aims at the heart of each work and reaches it with artistic insight." – Library Journal

"A must for anyone in theatre." -- The Drama Book Shop

Anybody who loves musicals will love From Assassins to West Side Story: The Director's Guide to Musical Theatre, written by New Line Theatre's artistic director Scott Miller (Heinemann Publishing, ISBN 0-435-08699-5, $19.95). Available at your local bookstore or through order it now through

This is a book for directors, actors, designers, students, and anyone else who loves musicals. It's accessible for people with no training, yet in-depth enough for experienced professionals. Each chapter analyzes one musical, including chapters on Assassins, Cabaret, Carousel, Company, Godspell, Gypsy, How to Succeed, Into the Woods, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables, Man of La Mancha, Merrily We Roll Along, My Fair Lady, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, and West Side Story.

Each chapter focuses on textual and musical themes, insight into the motivations and backstories of characters, the historical and social context of the action, the creators' intentions, the subtext of the book and lyrics, the show's relevance to our contemporary world, and other fascinating information.

You Could Drive a Person Crazy

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!

Also in Bookstores...

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

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"