Tag Archives: Alan Menken

Five hot new books from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, worthy of another round

Applause! Applause!

A marvelous crop of new books published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.

Made in Mexico: Hollywood South of the Border
 ($19.99)
For more than a century, directors from both sides of the border have chosen Mexico as the location to create their cinematic art, leaving an indelible imprint on the imaginations of moviegoers and filmmakers worldwide. Now, for the first time, this tome presents a comprehensive examination of more than one hundred Hollywood theatrical feature films made in Mexico between 1914 and the present day.

Made in Mexico

Lavishly illustrated throughout, Made in Mexico examines how Hollywood films depicted Mexico and how Mexico represented itself in relation to the films shot on location. It pulls back the curtain on how Hollywood filmmakers influenced Mexican films and Mexican filmmakers influenced Hollywood.


Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked ($29.99)
From his writing of Godspell‘s score at age 23 through the making of the megahit musical Wicked and beyond, Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked takes readers into the world of the legendary Broadway and film composer-lyricist. In this authorized biography, drawing from her interviews with Schwartz and his collaborators, author Carol de Giere focuses on the behind-the-scenes stories for Schwartz’s hits and disappointing flops.

Defying Gravity

Readers will find colorful anecdotes and insights for his licensed musicals Children of EdenPippin, Working, and others. Defying Gravity also includes Hollywood stories, beginning with a new foreword by composer Alan Menken.


Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon ($24.99)
Warren Zevon songs are like chapters in a great American novel. Its story lies in the heart of his–and our–psyche. The lines are blurred. We never seem to know if we are looking in a mirror or peering through a window; we only know that when we listen we see something.

Accidentally Like a Martyr

The music sets the scene – his voice a striking baritone, its narrator our guide through a labyrinth of harrowing narratives. The plot unfolds without subtlety; each musical and lyrical arc awakens imagination.


Stowaway Ukulele Revealed: Richard Konter & the Byrd Polar Expeditions is the unlikely and compelling story of a globe-trotting, ukulele-strumming, Brooklyn sailor named Richard Konter and his famous autographed instrument. At the height of the ukulele craze, Konter was a go-to arranger for Tin Pan Alley composers and publishers.
In 1926, Konter shipped out as a member of the crew of the Byrd Arctic Expedition. As a riveted world followed their progress (and that of their arch-rival, Roald Amundsen, the world’s greatest polar explorer), Konter managed to get his ukulele aboard Byrd’s plane for the first successful polar flight.

A Stowaway Ukulele RevealedA keen contributor to history in the making, Konter managed to obtain the autographs of more than 150 individuals, both famous and unknown, all of whom respected the importance of Konter’s North Pole ukulele. Later, Konter accompanied Byrd to Antarctica and later married, for the first time at age 80, the love of his life.
For the first time,  details the marvelously diverse cast of characters who autographed this little instrument, presenting mini-biographies and photographs to illustrate the interconnected web of lives brought together by Konter.


“Other people locked themselves away and hid from their demons. Townes flung open his door and said, ‘Come on in.’” So writes Harold Eggers, Townes Van Zandt’s longtime road manager and producer, in My Years with Townes Van Zandt: Music, Genius, and Rage ($29.99)– a gripping memoir revealing the inner core of an enigmatic troubadour, whose deeply poetic music was a source of inspiration and healing for millions but was for himself a torment struggling for dominance among myriad personal demons.

My Years with Townes Van ZandtTownes Van Zandt often stated that his main musical mission was to “write the perfect song that would save someone’s life.” However, his life was a work in progress he was constantly struggling to shape and comprehend. Eggers says of his close friend and business partner that “like the master song craftsman he was, he was never truly satisfied with the final product but always kept giving it one more shot, one extra tweak, one last effort.”

A vivid, firsthand account exploring the source of the singer’s prodigious talent, widespread influence, and relentless path toward self-destruction, My Years with Townes Van Zandt presents the truth of that all-consuming artistic journey told by a close friend watching it unfold.