As musical theater performers, we are a special breed in that we require three times the amount of training (in acting, music and dance) and unique perspectives on the art of taking the stage. Although most of our training is done experientially in the classroom or with private coaches, there is a lot of benefit in understanding the theory and intellectual concepts behind what you're practicing onstage through reading. This is the ultimate, must-read book list for musical theater training in order to be a well rounded performer.
"The Art of Acting," Stella Adler - acting techniques and theory.
"An Actor Prepares," Constantin Stanislavski - acting techniques and theory.
"Sanford Meisner on Acting," Sanford Meisner - acting techniques and truthful performances.
"You Can Act," D. W. Brown - a great down and dirty guide to acting techniques, more modern and practical than the three acting books listed above.
"Acting the Song," Tracey Moore with Allison Bergman - although written for musical theater educators, this book is a must-have for performers because you can learn from the exercises in a unique way by seeing them through the teacher or director's perspective. A fabulous step by step guide to breaking down scenes and solos.
"Diagnosis & Correction of Vocal Faults," James McKinney - a highly technical guide to understanding why some of the most common vocal problems occur, how to fix them, and practical exercises to use in the studio. The definitive vocal correction guide.
"A Soprano on her Head," Eloise Ristad - musical techniques as related to overcoming perfectionism and freeing yourself up to create your best and most spontaneous performances.
"The Philosophical Actor," Donna Soto-Morettini - meditation and mindfulness for actors.
"Showtime," Larry Stempl - a history of musical theatre, its origins as a performing art, and how it evolved into what we know today on Broadway.
For more book suggestions, see our recommended reading page.
For more tips on going from an "aspiring" to "successful" musical theatre artist, get a copy of our Audition Success eBook.
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