Reading on Broadway

Pull up a front row seat as the curtain opens…to reveal these fantastic scripts and stories made for the stage! 

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun in 1959. Set in Chicago, it is the story of a black working class family struggling with economic pressures and living in a small apartment. Sadly, the grandfather has died, and they must carefully decide what to do with the life insurance money. They choose to invest in a home, but are met with brutal racism as it is in a white community. The title is a quote from the Langston Hughes poem Harlem.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child created by J.K. Rowling and written by Jack Thorne

Harry Potter leaves the pages for the stage in this script for the eighth volume featuring the famous wizard. Years after the end of Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are now sending their own children to Hogwarts.

Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

This hit Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, who was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. Miranda was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton

Accessible on Overdrive as an ebook and audiobook. You can also listen to the Original Broadway Soundtrack on hoopla.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

First in the Wicked Years Series, this highly imaginative portrayal of L. Frank Baum’s Wicked Witch of the West was adapted to become a popular Broadway play. Set before Dorothy’s arrival, Elphaba (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (later known as Glinda) are good friends but unfortunately love the same man. Familiar characters emerge as this interesting perspective of the tale unfolds. The play won multiple Tony Awards and a Grammy.

Listen to the 2003, 2013, and 15th Anniversary 2019 soundtracks on hoopla!

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

This play opened in 1947 and takes place in New Orleans. Blanche DuBois was going through financial hardships and moved to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley. Blanche becomes involved with Stanley’s friend, Mitch, until rumors come to light about why Blanche was fired from her teaching position and how her husband died. There are disturbing scenes depicting cruelty in the flawed characters. This play won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards.

Accessible as an ebook and audiobook.

The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The play first premiered in 1895 in London. It was Wilde’s most successful play. Written by the king of the epigram, it abounds with humor. The story is about Algernon Moncrieff and his good friend, Jack Worthing. Jack wants to propose to Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn, but has told her his name was Earnest, and she seems to love him more for that fact. Meanwhile, Algernon is intrigued to meet Jack’s niece, Cecily, in the country, and Cecily thinks Algernon’s name is Earnest. This is a light hearted romantic comedy. 

Accessible as an ebook and audiobook

Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Written as a monologue and starring the writer, this funny and moving story debuted in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before going on to theatre in London, and eventually becoming a BBC series which she won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series. She is engaged with the audience during the story, sharing her events with us.

If you want to be swept away in even more screenplays, check out our The Majesty and Magic of Live Performance post, as well as this drama collection on Overdrive/Libby as well as these screenplays, drama movies, musicals, and soundtracks on hoopla.

The Majesty and Magic of Live Performance

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
—W. Shakespeare, As You Like It

Live performances – operas, ballets, musicals, plays, concerts, and comedy shows – and documentaries about how they were created and the people who created them – are available on hoopla, a free service brought to you by the Abbot Public Library. You only need your library card to access hoopla.

Learn to play a musical instrument, or learn more about your favorite band or musical group – you can find all that and more on hoopla, including some of these gems:

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto tells a tragic story of love, passion, deceit, and sacrifice. A 1946 recording of this performance showcased the best Italian operatic voices of the time. 

The Phantom of the Opera, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics by Charles Hart: this legendary musical won numerous awards and is the longest-running Broadway show. 

This gorgeous, full-cast production, accompanied by over 200 musicians in the orchestra, was performed at the musical’s 25th anniversary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall.

Another legendary musical and spectator favorite, Les Misérables, composed by Claude Michel Schonberg, with lyrics by Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer, won many awards and is the longest-running musical in London’s West End. This production, performed for the 25th anniversary of the show, features an all-star cast that includes Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.

Although there have been numerous film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ works, Great Expectations has never been produced for the theater, being considered too difficult to stage. This is the first – and very successful – staged performance of Dickens’ most popular book, which you now have a chance to experience.

A one-man show of Beowulf performed in old English, accompanied on the harp.

If you do not mind having Christmas in May, we suggest the gorgeous Nutcracker ballet, probably the most popular performance in the world around Christmas time.

And if you love The Nutcracker Ballet and wonder what it takes to produce such an eternally beautiful spectacle and to perform in it, then the documentary Getting to the Nutcracker is for you.

If you are interested in learning more about opera or classical music, we suggest the following documentaries:

Check out hoopla’s musical section, where you can find dozens of opera and ballet titles, as well as classical music, for listening. 

And if the classics aren’t to your taste, hoopla also has many other musical selections, from rock to gospel to pop.

Overdrive/Libby also has something to offer to the live performance experience: download and listen to recordings of live performances and full-cast audio plays of popular titles.

Black Water is a recording of a live performance of the chamber opera, created by Joyce Carol Oates (based on her novel) and composer John Duffy.

Angels in America is an audiobook performance of the National Theatre’s 2018 Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The production features the entire cast, including Tony winners Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. 

BBC Radio 4 has full cast dramatizations of the horror tale The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, and of Agatha Christie novels.

A variety of books (fiction and nonfiction) on the performing arts are also available through Overdrive/Libby, including: