Wellington City Libraries

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Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Category: adaptations

From Broadway to Bookshelf

We all know how it is. One minute you’re idly searching Spotify for your next musical theatre fix. The next minute it’s 3am and you’re four months deep into a dangerous obsession with Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill musical soundtrack and you can’t stop singing the alto part to “You Learn” over and over again even though you’ve been kicked out of home because no one wants to listen to that much alto. It’s fine, you tell yourself. All I need is Alanis. The world of jukebox musicals will keep me warm at night.

Dear reader, it is true that we all need Alanis. But we also need a balanced cultural diet that includes reading material and audiobooks to keep us off the streets. That’s where the library’s OverDrive collection comes into play again. Read on for a juicy selection of some of our musical theatre-related reads to keep you on the straight and narrow when all seems lost to the world of the musical soundtrack album.

Overdrive cover The Movie Musical!, Jeanine Basinger (ebook)
This book is an in-depth look at the singing, dancing, happy-making world of Hollywood musicals, beautifully illustrated in color and black-and-white—an essential text for anyone who’s ever laughed, cried, or sung along at the movies. Leading film historian Jeanine Basinger reveals, with her trademark wit and zest, the whole story of the Hollywood musical, from Fred Astaire, whom she adores, to La La Land, which she deplores. Whether analyzing a classic Gene Kelly routine, relishing a Nelson-Jeanette operetta, or touting a dynamic hip hop number (in the underrated Idlewild), Basinger is a canny and charismatic guide to the many ways that song and dance have been seen—and heard—on film. (adapted from OverDrive description)

Overdrive cover Dear Evan Hansen, Val Emmich (Audiobook)
A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation. This audiobook version of the novel based on the incredible 2015 musical by Pasek, Paul and Levenson is beautifully narrated by Ben Levi Ross (Evan Hansen, US Tour), Mike Faist (Connor Murphy, original cast), and Mallory Bechtel (Zoe Murphy, original cast) in this incredibly personal and human reading. Listen now — you won’t regret it.

Overdrive cover Writing Better Lyrics, Pat Pattison (ebook)
Have you ever fancied yourself a Broadway lyricist? This book is the book for you. This revised and updated 2nd Edition of the classic must-have guide for budding songwriters provides effective tools for everything from generating ideas, to understanding the form and function of a song, to fine-tuning lyrics.

Overdrive cover Les Misérables, Victor Hugo (ebook)
Look, I hear you. This book is long. But just listen for a moment — it wasn’t adapted into one of the most popular and enduring musicals of all time for nothing. This book has it all — love, death, revolution, defeat, victory, class struggles — and its rambling delightfully labyrinthine plot will keep you occupied for hours. If that all sounds like too much, we also have the eAudio version. Don’t say we aren’t kind to you. But be kind to yourself and pick this up while the Duke Classics edition is always available!

Now, get out there and read!

Database highlight Bloomsbury Drama Online

We’ve got some amazing databases available at WCL and over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighted a few which I think are pretty awesome. You can access this particular database through the “Arts and Design” link on our online databases page. It’s pretty incredible, especially if you’re studying drama or (and!) Shakespeare. The blurb:

“Drama Online is a one stop shop for anyone with an interest in drama. This award winning database features over 1,200 classic and contemporary play texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare. Background to the plays are provided through critical scholarly works, theory and practical ‘how-to’ guides. There is also streaming video of live performances from Shakespeare’s Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A. Theatre Works. Search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters. There is plenty here to discover.”

I really enjoyed the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Othello, Macbeth, and Titus Andronicus. It’s an amazing way to view Shakespeare performed by the best actors, in interesting and unique productions – sometimes you need something new to bring the Bard to life – and free, as well!

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials – adaptation coming soon!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe teaser trailer just dropped for the BBC adaptation of His Dark Materials and it’s super exciting! It has an amazing cast. Just waiting to get a glance of the daemons and I’m a happy fan. There’s no release date yet, but in the meantime, we have some “materials” of our own to help with the hype…

There are all of the books in Philip Pullman’s award winning series: Northern Lights (published in the US as The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. We also have other books set in the same universe: Once upon a time in the North, Lyra’s Oxford, and the first part of his “Book of Dust” series, La Belle Sauvage.

We also have audiobook and graphic novel versions.