Theatre Books


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Stage Design|Howard Bay||Drama Book Specialists, 1974||My favorite book on design. Long out-of-print, but still available and reasonably-priced from used booksellers locally and on the Internet.-Derek Lefew 09/03/08
The Business of Theatrical Design||James L. Moody|Alworth Press 2002|| Arrived last week. I’ve only skimmed it thus far, but the book contains information about being a professional theatre Designer not available anywhere. It is most likely an assigned textbook for some university Design courses. Those professors have to have something to teach, after all, in order to justify parents spending six figures for their offspring’s college degree. Mr. Moody is also the author of Concert Lighting , which just returned to me after being “on loan” for about two years. I knew who had it, and I didn’t need it, so I wasn’t worried. Required reading for those considering design as a career. -Derek Leffew
Automated Lighting|Richard Cadena||Focal Press 2006||This just arrived today. The author is the current editor of PLSN, and a former employee of High End Systems . In the past, I’ve disagreed with many of his articles appearing in PLSN, but look forward to reading this book . Who knows, I may learn something.
Control Systems for Live Entertainment|Third Edition|John Huntington|Focal Press 2007||This just arrived today. I worked with John in 1993 during the install of the Buccaneer Bay Sea Battle at Treasure Island at the Mirage. At the time, he was “show control expert” for Production Arts Lighting. I have the First Edition and can’t currently find it, I don’t think it’s “on loan,” but wanted the updated version anyway. Mr. Huntington’s article “The ACN Future is Here” appears in the September 2007 issue of Lighting and Sound America . The book even has pictures of the EOS and grandMA, and intimates that the former is not a moving light console . It also discusses at length non-base 10 numbers. All topics which have appeared recently here on Control Booth.
The Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information|Paul Carter|||ship wrote:
As addded by ship ||||||At work, I'm working on a list of books the company will be looking into investing into for it's library. Below is the list of books and pre-priced out sources if anyone is interested in the books I currently think of interest:
Backstage Handbook|3rd Ed|Paul Carter| |$14.25 Sapsis / $13.45 Amazon -used|(Tech dictionary) |******
The Business of Theatrical Design|James L. Moody||Focal Press|$19.95 Focal Press / $3.77 Amazon - used|Gets into taxes, insurance etc . for freelance work -Ship|****
A Practical Guide to Health & Safety in the Entertainment Industry|Marco van Beek|||$27.95 PLSN||+++
Practical Health & Safety Guidelines for School Theater Operations|Dr. Doom|||$99.95 Tools for Stagecraft||++++
Health & Safety Guide for Film, TV & Theater|by Monona Rossol||| $17.95 Sapsis / $3.17 Amazon - used||+++
Life on the Road : A Beginner's Guide to the Stage Production Industry|William Boswell|||$34.95 Amazon - Used||++++
Stage Fright: Health and Safety in the Theater|Monna Rossol|||$2.95 Amazon Used||+++
The Perfect Stage Crew: The Compleat Technical Guide for Highschool, College, and Community Theater|John Kaluta||| $13.00 Sapsis / $10.47 Amazon - Used||+++
Technical Theater for Nontechnical People|Drew Campbell|2nd Edition||$12.50 Sapsis / $9.85 Amazon - Used||***
The City of Chicago Building Code|||pub. by Sylvia J. Youpel|| (Not Available) FLAGFLAG|*****
Lighting Programming & High Tech:
Practical DMX |Nick Mobsby|||$29.95 PLSN||++++
Recommended Practice for DMX : A Guide for Users and Installers|Adam Bennette|||PLSA and USITT ||+++++
The Speed of Light|Linda Essig|||$2.44 Amazon - Used||++++
Rock Solid Ethernet |Wayne Howell|||$49.00 PLSN||++++
Recommended Practice for Ethernet Cabling Systems; In Entertainment Lighting Applications| ESTA Pub.||||FLAAGFLAG|+++++
Control Systems for Live Entertainment|2nd|John Huntington||$57.95 PLSN & Focal Press / $49.11 Amazon - Used||****
Stage Lighting Controls|Uif Sandstrom|||$51.44 Amazon||*****
Computerized Lightboards|||||+++
Lighting Control Technology and Applications|Robert Simpson|2nd Ed||$83.95 PLSN & Focal Press / $55.42 Amazon - Used||****
Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light|Richard Cadena|||$44.95 PLSN & Focal Press / $39.26 Amazon - Used||++++
The Automated Lighting Programmer ’s Handbook| Brad Schiller||||$34.95 PLSN & Focal Press||++++
Projection for the Performing Arts|Grahm Walne||||(Not Avbl.)|++++
Introduction to Modern Atmospheric Effects||2nd Ed| ESTA Pub|$10.00 Production Advantage ||++++
NFPA 1126 - The Use of Pyrotechnics Before a Proximate Audience| NFPA |||||++++
NFPA 160 - Flame Effects Before an Audience| NFPA |||||++++
Photoshop for Digital Video: Creative Solutions for Professional Results|Mike Gondek|||$27.98 Amazon - Used||+++
Lighting Basics:
A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting|Steven Louis Shelley|2nd|Focal Press| $49.95 PLSN, Tools for Stagecraft & Focal Press / $31.86 Amazon - Used||****
Basics – A Beginners Guide to Stage Lighting|Peter Coleman|||$19.95 PLSN||+++
Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business|by James L Moody|2nd||$51.95 PLSN & Focal Press / $49.95 Tools for Stagecraft / $26.93 Amazon - Used||***
Concert Sound and Lighting Systems|by John Vasey|3rd||$35.95 PLSN & Focal Press $25.49 Amazon - Used||+++
Focus on Lighting Technology|Richard Cadena|||$34.95 PLSN||++++
Lighting Technology|Brian Fitt|2nd||$51.95 PLSN & Focal Press / $37.40 Amazon - Used||+++
Theater Lighting from A to Z|Norman C. Boulanger|||$16.59 Amazon - Used||***
The Followspot Training Program|||||(pamphlet)|****
Getting the Most from your Followspot - An Operator's Handbook|||Theatrical Technicians, Inc.|$3.00 Amazon|(pamphlet)|****
The Stage Lighting Handbook|Francis Reid|5th Ed.| |$17.22 Amazon - Used||++++
Lighting the Stage |Francis Ried|||||++++
Stage Lighting for Theater Designers|Nigel H. Morgan||||||+++
Stage Lighting Revealed|Glen Cunningham|||$16.85 Amazon - Used||****
Discovering Stage Lighting|Francis Reid|2nd Ed.|Focal Press|$43.95 Focal Press / $41.53 Amazon - Used||++++
Stage Lighting Step by Step|Grahm Walters|||$11.99 E-Bay - Used / $14.20 Amazon - Used||****
Lighting Studio & Film:
Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook|Hary C. Box|3rd||$44.99 PLSN||++++
Location Lighting for Television|Alan Bermingham|||$41.95 PLSN / $41.51 Amazon - Used||+++
Motion Picture and Video Lighting|Blain Brown|||$44.95 PLSN / $32.00 Amazon - Used||+++
Lighting for TV and Film|Gerald Millerston|3rd||$64.95 PLSN / $44.00 Amazon - Used||+++
Lighting for Video,|Gerald Millerson|3rd||$33.95 PLSN / $24.10 Amazon - Used||+++
Lighting for Digital Video & Television|John Jackman|2nd Ed.||$26.00 Amazon - Used||+++
Placing Shadows: Lighting Technique for Video Production|Chuck Gloman|3rd Ed.||$34.95 PLSN / $24.81 Amazon - Used||++++
The Professional Lighting Handbook|Verne Carlson|2nd Ed.||||+++
The Technique of Lighting for Television and Film||3rd Ed.||$72.99 Amazon||+++
GaffersGrips and Best Boys|Eric Taub|||$10.00 Amazon - Used||+++
The Grip Book |Michael and Sabrina Uva|3nd Ed.||$36.19 Amazon - Used||+++
Film Lighting|Kris Malkiewicz|||$9.99 E-bay / $7.99 Amazon - Used||+++
The American Electricians Handbook|Terrell Croft|13th Ed.||$34.44 Amazon - Used||*****
2005 NEC Handbook||2005| NFPA |$91.00 Amazon - Used||*****
Commercial Electrical Wiring|John E. Traister|||$24.07 Amazon - Used||****
Electrical Wiring Commercial||||$54.75 Amazon - Used|12E based on the 2005 NECMulin & Smith|+++
Electrical Wiring Industrial|Robert L. Smith|11th Ed.||$0.99 E-Bay / $42.90 Amazon - Used||++++
Electrical Wiring Residential|Ray C. Mullin| 13th Ed.||$0.99 E-Bay / $58.08 Amazon - Used||++++
Modern Residential Wiring|Harvey N. Holtzman|||$42.85 Amazon - Used||+++
OSHA Electrical Regulations Simplified 1996| NFPA |1996||$39.93 Amazon - Used||+++
Technician's Guide to Programmable Controllers| Richard A. Cox|3rd Ed.||$12.99 E-Bay / $43.95 Amazon|(Arch. Controllers)|++++
Design: Photometrics Handbook|Robert C. Mumm|2nd Ed.||$20.00 PLSN & Production Advantage /$20.00 Amazon||*****
Computer Visualization for the Theater: 3D Modeling for Designers|Gavin Carver|||$39.95 PLSN & Focal Press /$34.11 Amazon - Used||++++
AutoCAD – A handbook for Theater Users||||$44.95 PLSN||+++
Designer Drafting for the Entertainment World|Patricia Woodbridge|||$56.95 PLSN /$32.95 Amazon - Used||+++
If it’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die: The Power of Color in Visual Storytelling|Patti Bellantoni|||$39.95 PLSN /$25.85 E-Bay||++++
Let There Be Light – Entertainment Lighting Software Pioneers in Conversion|Robert Bell|||$62.00 PLSN||++++
Light – Science and Magic||||$46.95 PLSN||++++
Light Fantastic: The Art and Design of Stage Lighting|Max Keller|2nd Ed.||$85.00 PLSN /$48.45 Amazon - Used||++++
Lighting by Design|Sally Storey|||$80.95 PLSN /$4.98 Amazon - Used||++++
Lighting Modern Buildings|Derek Phillips|||$79.95 PLSN / $79.73 Amazon - Used||++++
Lighting The Stage ||||$29.95 PLSN||+++
Lighting: Interior and Exterior|Robert Bean|||$37.95 PLSN /$34.95 Amazon - Used||++++
Lit Environment|Derek Phillips|||$62.95 PLSN /$15.95 Amazon - Used||+++
Lit Interior|William J. Fielder|||$26.95 PLSN /$21.50 Amazon - Used||+++
Designing with Light|Michael Gillette|||E-Bay $4.00 /$50.00 Amazon - Used||*****
Lighting and the Design Idea|Wadsworth and Thomson|2nd Ed.||$39.05 Amazon - Used||++++
The Beauty of Light|Ben Bova|||$3.99 E-Bay /$0.49 Amazon - Used||*****
Color Science for Lighting the Stage |William B. Warfel|||||++++
The Control of Light|Brian Fitt|||$3.51 Amazon - Used||+++
Design Criteria for Lighting Interior Living Spaces|IESNA||IESNA|$37.99 Amazon - Used||++++
Interior Lighting for Designers|Gary Gordon|3rd Ed.||$3.99 E-Bay /$60.25 Amazon - Used||++++
The Lighting Art, The Aestetics of Stage Lighting Design|Richard H. Palmer|2nd Ed.||||++++
The IESNA Lighting Handbook, Reference and Applications|IESNA|9th Ed.|IESNA|$45.00 Amazon||++++
IESNA Ready Reference|IESNA||IESNA|$70.00 Amazon - Used||+++
The Magic of Light|Jean Rosenthal|||$9.99 E-Bay /$146.84 Amazon - Used||*****
A Method of Lighting the Stage |Stanley McCandless |||$19.50 Amazon - Used||*****
Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays|David Ball|||$16.16 Amazon - Used||****
Rigging: ||||||
Aluminum Structures in the Entertainment Industry|Peter Hind|||$43.50 Sapsis||****
Klutz Book of Knots|John Cassidy|||$9.95 Sapsis /$4.99 E-Bay /$0.97 Amazon - Used||***
Rigging for Entertainment: Regulations and Practice|Chris Higgs|||$43.50 Sapsis||****
Stage Rigging Handbook|Jay O. Glerum|2nd Ed.||$24.95 Sapsis /$20.95 Amazon - Used||*****
An Introduction to Rigging in the Entertainment Industry|Chris Higgs Royston|||$43.50 Sapsis /$41.95 Amazon - Used||++++
ESTA 's Standard for Construction and Use of Wire Rope Ladders| ESTA || ESTA |$20.00 Sapsis||+++++
Entertainment Rigging: A Practical Guide for Riggers, Designers and Managers|Harry Donovan|||$82.55 Sapsis||++++
Introduction to Fall Protection|3rd Ed. by J. Nigel Ellis|||$76.50 Sapsis /$89.95 Amazon||++++
H.A.R.T. Book |Tom Vines||| |(Rope Rescue Techniques)|+++
Self Rescue|David J. Fasulo|||$4.97 Amazon - Used||****
Wire Rope Sling Users Manual ||||||+++++
Wire Rope Users Manual | Wire Rope Technical Board|3rd Ed.||$26.00 Sapsis||*****
Carpentry/Metal Working:[/size="5"]
Stock Scenery Construction Handbook|Bill Raoul|2nd Ed.||$18.95 PLSN|$13.45 Amazon - Used||****
Structural Design for the Stage|Alys Holden|||$59.95 PLSN & Focal Press /$41.96 Amazon ||****
Theater Engineering and Stage Machinery|Toshiro Ogawa|||$53.50 Sapsis||****
Building Construction Illustrated|Francis D.K. Ching|3rd Ed.||$4.99 E-Bay?$21.37 Amazon - Used||****
Handbook of Adhesives and Sealants|Edward M. Petrie|||$61.00 Amazon - Used||++++
Scenery for the Theater|Harold Burris-Myer|||||*****
The Stagecraft Handbook|Daniel A. Ionazzi|||$11.00 E-Bay?$8.75 Amazon - Used||****
Welding for the Theater||||||*****
The Welder's Bible|Don Geary|2nd Ed.||$59.85 Amazon - Used||****
Welder's Handbook|Richard Finch|||$5.99 E-Bay /|$7.31 Amazon - Used||****
Scenic Painting:[/size="5"]
Scene Painting Projects for Theater|Stephen Sherwin|||$34.95 PLSN & Focal Press|$31.60 Amazon - Used||+++
Scenic Art for the Theater|Susan Crabtree|2nd Ed.||$39.95 PLSN /|$33.91 Amazon - Used||++++
Decorating with Paint|Jocasta Innes|||$9.99 E-Bay||*****
Designing and Painting for the Theater|Lynn Pecktal|||$101.74 Amazon||****
Recipes for Surfaces|Mindy Drucker|||$2.95 E-Bay / $0.97 Amazon - Used||*****
Theatrical Scene Painting: A Lesson Guide|William H. Pinnell|||$16.04 Amazon - Used||++++

Click <Edit> below, then: 1) Add your information at the bottom of the article, OR
2) Add your comments to books already listed above, using this format "[I found this book really useful--UserName, 10/09/07]|". Remember to click <Save> when finished.

10/28/07. See also this thread: Best lighting book ? - ControlBooth -derekleffew.
11/14/07. See also this thread: Textbook Advise Needed - ControlBooth -derekleffew.
11/25/07. See also this thread: ControlBooth -derekleffew.
04/28/08. New book. HEADS! & Tales, Uncle Bill's Musings on the Theatrical Experience|. by Bill Sapsis, of Sapsis Rigging.
08/06/08. External Link to one Performing Arts High School's Summer Reading List. Actor-oriented, but valuable nonetheless. -DL
01/26/09: Some books that speak specifically to Lighting Design:
Hays, David. Light on the Subject, Stage Lighting for Directors and Actors and the Rest of Us|. Limelight Editions, 1998.
Essig, Linda. Lighting and the Design Idea|. Harcourt Brace, 1997.
Palmer, Richard H. The Lighting Art: The Aesthetics of Stage Lighting Design|. Prentice-Hall, 1985.
Bellman, Willard F. Lighting the Stage, Art and Practice|. Chandler Publishing Company, 1967.
McCandless, Stanley. A Method of Lighting the Stage|. Theatre Arts Books, 1932.
Some of which I don't believe have been mentioned above or below. -DL

07/10/09: Just published, Excellent book: Parichy, Dennis. DL's Technical Theatre Books (www).[/I]

See also the thread a user-rating system for industry textbooks.
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One more thing:

The Business of Theatrical Design, by James L. Moody. Alworth Press, 2002.

A request to everyone: Please follow proper bibliographic notation when citing a book. <Title (italicized)> by <Author> Period. <Publisher> comma <Year of Copyright>Period. This isn't just me being anal/picky. It helps others to locate the book, as I'm sure your teachers explained in research paper class, however many years ago.

Update 11/04/07: Okay, I understand, it's the '90s and everyone has The Internet now. Kind of difficult to be on ControlBooth without it, I suppose. [URL='"]Amazon[/URL] links are acceptable also; but please italicize the full title and list the author's full name, then include the [URL='"]amazon[/URL] link if you must. But be aware, some might use this list at their local library--they do still exist, right?
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other great books

The Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information
Paul Carter

The Automated Lighting Programmer's Handbook
Brad Schiller

Concert Lighting, Second Edition: Techniques, Art and Business
James Moody

Stage Lighting Handbook
Francis Reid

Scene Design and Stage Lighting
W. Oren Parker

i hope that helps
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Active Member
I have to say that this article looks like a mess. We need to find a way to organize this information better. I vote HTML tables. I'll fool with it tomorrow morning...


Active Member
Quick update: tablacized? (for lack of a better term) all the books save for maybe 10 at the bottom.

Next up import the source into excel and weed out duplicate content...tomorrow.
Hmm, still needs a bit of finessing.
And finally a tutorial on how to construct the vBulletin tables from hell...

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