Recently, several people have asked me to tell them more about my book. It is called A Taste of Broadway: Food in Musical Theater. It will be launching in January from Rowman & Littlefield. I’m not sure which book stores will carry it, but it’s available for pre-order now from Amazon (click here for the direct link) or from the publisher’s website.
A Taste of Broadway looks at popular musical theater shows to examine which foods are used, how they are used, why they are important, and how the food or usage relates to the broader world. Beyond being just fuel for the body, food carries symbolic importance used to define individuals, situations, and places, making it an ideal communication tool. In musical theater, food can be used as a shortcut to tell the audience more about a setting, character, or situation. In some cases, food is central to a show’s plot. Because everyone relates to eating, food can also be used to evoke empathy, amusement, or shock from the audience.
Addtionally, the portrayal of food gives insights into the personalities and approaches of the creators of a musical. Some librettists, like Oscar Hammerstein with Carousel and Sheldon Harnick with Fiddler on the Roof, did extensive research to ensure that the foods and preparation techniques included were true to the location and time period of the show. Others, such as Joe Masteroff with She Loves Me and Meredith Willson with The Music Man, reached into their own food memories, making their characters an extension of themselves.
Recipes are included for many of the foods that are significant in the shows discussed. For example, you can learn how to make the love inducing Dulce de Leche from Guys and Dolls, Laurey’s irresistible Gooseberry Tarts from Oklahoma!, and meat pies from Sweeney Todd (spoiler alert: my meat pie recipe is human-free).
Most importantly, I want to say thanks to all of you. I am always so flattered when someone wants to know more about my book. A lot of people gave me great ideas and lots of encouragement along the way. Many of you have given me some great ideas on how to publicize the book. Some of you have even asked about when I’m starting my next book – but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here!