Blog Archives

Deke Sharon at the Drama Book Shop

World-renowned arranger, producer, and author Deke Sharon recently visited the Drama Book Shop in New York City for a book signing of The Heart of Vocal Harmony: Emotional Expressing in Group Singing and a discussion. The discussion, led by Steven McCasland, covered his beginnings in a cappella, the broadway play In TransitHeart of Vocal Harmony, plus more. Take a look at the video below.


The Heart of Vocal Harmony focuses on the process of delivering an emotionally compelling performance. This book is like no other a cappella book that has been released. Most of the other a cappella books have been about teaching people how to sing technically well. The goal with this book was to inspire groups to take that extra step with their vocals. It goes beyond being a great singer and sounding ‘pretty.’ What emotions an you exude to your audience? What can you do to make a difference in their lives?

It’s about taking this music….and bringing it to you and infusing it with your own meaning, your own personality, your own character.

What sets The Heart of Vocal Harmony apart is its focus on honest unified expression and the process of delivering an emotionally compelling performance. It delves into an underdeveloped vocal topic – the heart of the music and the process involved with expressing it.

Don’t just pick a piece of music because you like it. Don’t just pick a piece of music because you’re like, “Well, it’s popular right now.” Pick of piece of music because you think there’s something you can bring to it to that will make it at least as good, if not better.

The Heart of Vocal Harmony is not just for a cappella groups – it is also for vocal harmony groups, ensembles, and choirs atall levels, with or without instruments. In addition to the process, the book features discussions with some of the biggest luminaries in vocal harmony: composers, arrangers, directors, singers, and groups – including Eric Whitacre, Pentatonix, the Manhattan Transfer, and more.

Since I find myself talking and working with these groups on the same fundamental things over and over again, I should write some piece down so that people can start to think about music from this perspective because it’s really the place that it should come from and it’s the thing that draws us all to music as listeners.




Recording of West Side Story Event Discussion

 Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, Misha Berson (author of Something’s Coming, Something Good) and David Saint (editor of The Rest of the Story by Arthur Laurents) discuss West Side Story: the stage musical, the film, the legacy. This episode was recorded at a live Q&A at the Drama Book Shop in New York at the release of Something’s Coming, Something Good.


Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination takes a critical, comprehensive look at one of the most inventive, influential, and internationally beloved Broadway musicals of all time – from its inception by a brilliant quartet of creators (Robbins, Bernstein, Sondheim, and Laurents) to its smashing success on film, to its ongoing popularity on stages around the world and its potent impact on the Great American Musical.

Arthur Laurents passed away early in 2011 but not before writing The Rest of the Story, in which he revealed all that had happened in his life since Original Story By, filled with the wisdom he gained in growing older and a new perspective brought on by Laurents’ experience of deep personal loss, including the death of his longtime companion, Tom Hatcher. The book ends with a loving and insightful coda by Laurent’s good friend and the editor of this book, David Saint.

David Rothenberg, a live event audio recording

 Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, David Rothenberg and actors Jordan Charney and Marcia Jean Kurtz talked about David’s new book Fortune in My Eyes at the Drama Book Shop in New York City on October 12, 2012. This is a recording of that live event.


David Rothenberg’s multilayered life thrust him into Broadway’s brightest lights, prison riots, political campaigns, civil rights sit-ins, and a Central American civil war. In his memoir, Fortune in My Eyes, his journey includes many of the most celebrated names in the theater: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Sir John Gielgud, Charles Boyer, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt, Charles Laughton, Alvin Ailey, and numerous others. David produced an Off-Broadway prison drama, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, which reshaped his life. John Herbert’s chilling play led directly to the creation of the Fortune Society, which has evolved into one of the nation’s most formidable advocacy and service organizations in criminal justice. David was Elizabeth Taylor’s opening night date at the Richard Burton Hamlet – a distant cry from his entering Attica prison during that institution’s famed inmate uprising…just two of the experiences revealed in this memoir. As a theater publicist and producer – and as a social activist – he shares experiences with presidents (JFK and Bill Clinton) and with anonymous men and women, out of prison, who have fought to reclaim their lives. The human drama of the formerly incarcerated is a match for many of the entertainment world’s most fabled characters.

David Craig Celebration, a live event audio recording

 Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, we have a special treat for you because we recorded the live event of many successful actors and former students of the legendary drama teacher David Craig together at Drama Books Shop in 2012, remembering their teacher and the things he taught them. These guests include Lucie Arnaz, Tony Roberts, Larry Moss, Sara Louise Lazarus, Linda Glick, Penny Fuller, Sidney J. Burgoyne, David Finkle, and Pamela Shaw.


David Craig’s nine-hour video series on musical performance covers all of the techniques and exercises, as well as Craig’s legendary performance philosophy, which has instructed and inspired singers, actors, and dancers for more than 50 years. Craig breaks down the act of singing onstage into specific, approachable components and takes the viewer step by step through the process, from how to analyze lyrics and stand on the stage for an audition, to signaling the accompanist and making lyrics come to life. Available as a complete set or individually, each 90-minute DVD includes a study guide.