New Line Theatre is proud to announce that artistic director Scott Miller has published another collection of essays, “LITERALLY ANYTHING GOES: 14 ODDBALL MUSICALS AND WHAT MAKES THEM TICK.” Miller’s fifth book of deep-dive musical theatre exploration is a surprising and entertaining journey into more than a dozen quirky but fascinating musicals, some famous, some less so.
The shows surveyed literally span the history of the art form, and New Line has produced them all — “The Threepenny Opera,” “Anything Goes,” “The Nervous Set,” “The Fantasticks,” “Zorba,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “The Robber Bridegroom,” “Evita,” “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “A New Brain,” “Reefer Madness,” “Bukowsical”, and “Love Kills” — proving that there have always been oddball musicals and oddball musical theatre writers eager to crash through the existing conventions to something new and different. Times haven’t changed as much as we think.
And if you think some of these shows don’t seem all that oddball to you, see if you feel the same way after you read the book. As Miller puts it, “Anything Goes is the old-fashioned family classic that really isn’t any of those things;” and “The Fantasticks is a deceptively complex, Beat-inspired, jazz fable.”
Miller’s other analysis collections include From Assassins to West Side Story, 1996, now in its 8th printing (covering Assassins, Cabaret, Carousel, Company, Godspell, Gypsy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Into the Woods, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables, Man of La Mancha, Merrily We Roll Along, My Fair Lady, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, and West Side Story);Deconstructing Harold Hill, 1999, (covering Ragtime, Camelot, Chicago, Passion, The Music Man, March of the Falsettos, Sunday in the Park with George, and The King and I); Rebels with Applause, 2001, (covering Hair, Rent, Oklahoma!, Pal Joey, Anyone Can Whistle, Floyd Collins, Jacques Brel, The Cradle Will Rock, Songs for a New World, and The Ballad of Little Mikey); andSex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals, 2011, (covering The Wild Party, Grease, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Show, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, I Love My Wife, Bat Boy, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and High Fidelity).
Scott Miller is a musical theatre composer, lyricist, bookwriter, historian, consultant, fanboy, and the founder and artistic director of New Line Theatre in St. Louis. He has written nine musicals, two plays, and seven books about musical theatre. For fifteen years, he co-hosted the radio show Break a Leg: Theatre in St. Louis and Beyond on KDHX, and now he hosts the theatre podcast Stage Grok, available on iTunes and at StageGrok.com.
The cover art for Literally Anything Goes was designed by St. Louis artist Matt Reedy.
Miller has also recently put together a novelty book of 400 questions about the musical theatre, to test your knowledge, your opinions, and your insights into our art form. The book is called It’s a Musical! 400 Questions to Ponder, Discuss, and Fight About, and it’s addictive. It’s the perfect gift for the musical theatre obsessive who has everything. His other books include Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre, and Let the Sun Shine In: The Genius of Hair.
And just a reminder, when you shop at Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com instead (and bookmark it) — it’ll ask you to choose a charity (you’ll choose New Line Theatre), and then whatever you buy on the site will kick back a small donation to New Line! It really adds up!
ABOUT NEW LINE THEATRE
New Line Theatre, “the bad boy of musical theatre,” is a professional company dedicated to involving the people of the St. Louis region in the exploration and creation of daring, provocative, socially and politically relevant works of musical theatre. New Line was created back in 1991 at the vanguard of a new wave of nonprofit musical theatre just starting to take hold across the country. New Line has given birth to several world premiere musicals over the years and has brought back to life several shows that were not well served by their original New York productions.
Altogether, New Line has produced 85 musicals since 1991, and the company has been given its own entry in the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre and the annual Theater World. New Line receives funding from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
The 2018-2019 season includes the world premiere of The Zombies of Penzance in October, the classic La Cage aux Folles in March, and the new rock musical Be More Chill, based on the bestselling novel, next June.
Read more about The Zombies of Penzance here.
Read more about La Cage aux Folles here.
Read more about Be More Chill here.
For other information, visit New Line Theatre’s full-service website at www.newlinetheatre.com. All programs are subject to change.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.