“…a valuable resource…” — Laura MacDonald, Theatre Topics
“In Beyond Broadway, Stacy Wolf, one of the foremost scholars of Broadway musicals, takes a fascinating journey across America to explore how enthusiastic youth and adults put on shows all over the place: in schools, summer camps, community theaters, dinner theaters, and countless off-the-beaten
track venues. She reveals a vibrant amateur scene that runs parallel to — and ultimately sustains — top-flight Broadway productions. Lively, incisive, brimming with good will and brilliant commentary, this book will appeal to a span of readers as broad and inclusive as the productions it
chronicles.” — Carol J. Oja, author of Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War
“Beyond Broadway takes us thousands of miles from New York City to the heartland of musical theatre in America. Surveying the work of dozens of amateur companies, schools, and summer camps, Stacy Wolf provides gorgeously detailed and revealing portraits of the many devotees across the country who
pour their hopes and dreams into the Broadway musical. Her rich analysis of this thriving industry is a model of engaged scholarship while her devotion to the countless people down in the trenches transmutes Beyond Broadway into an act of love.” — David Savran, The Graduate Center, City University
of New York
I will say that I genuinely enjoyed reading this book, and I have been in the theatre business for 43 years. If you have been involved in any type of theater outside of NYC, you will relive moments that are familiar to you. If you are totally unaware of community theater, dinner theaters, theatre arts academies, the recent development of musicals for all levels of schools and summer camps, then you will gain a treasure trove of new information.
Ms. Wolf did a lot of traveling in the USA to experience all these aspects of theater first hand. She also interviewed people of all ages to understand not only the how and why they do so much for simply the love of theater; but also to get insights into what each person gains from their experiences.
There was so much in this book that I was stunned at learning; here at two examples.
The Mountain Play on Mt. Tam north of San Francisco where 3, 500 people on 6 Sundays walk or ride 6 miles up the mountain to be entertained by large cast musicals like Sound of Music. Every year the entire stage, sets, and all other buildings must be brought up the mountain, constructed, and then dismantled and taken off the mountain!
On the other side of the country in New Jersey is the Kelsey Theater which 12 community theaters share and each do 2 shows a year, plus the community college, on whose campus the theater sits, also produces 3 shows a year. That is 50 straight weeks of live theater! I will not explain the breakneck schedule all these groups must adhere to, read that for yourself.
As Ms. Wolf experiences all these different types of theater situations, you join her journey and as gives you first person insight of her trips. AND if you love footnotes (as I do) you have 500 ! you can look through with many links directly to the articles. This is a book that was certainly not written overnight and was a work of love. – Bill W.
Wolf takes us on a journey with her to the high schools, camps, professional and amateur productions that thrive in every corner of the country. With keen observation and a breezy, come-on-an-adventure-with-me style she shows us how these seemingly frivolous productions are actually the lifeblood that feeds Broadway and keeps it thriving. – Angela Carson
A fabulous read for anyone who loves musicals, has performed in musicals or loves reading uplifting stories about passionate people doing what they love. – Gail Leondar Wright
This book is perfect for me and anyone else highly involved in local theatre. The level of detail is such that I don’t think it’s intended for a general audience, but highly recommend it to my fellow local directors and producers. I really appreciated the amount of research that went into this book. – Roberta