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For those of you interested in studying more about "Method" acting, Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio,  I have included the following list of my favorite books on the subject, as well as a book or two on the business end of acting.  If you would like to purchase one or more of these books online, please CLICK ON THE TITLE of the book(s). I used to make small commission but the Governor of Missouri fixed it so Amazon would no longer work with people in Missouri.  I leave the books here anyway because they are important studies for serious actors.

 

"ACTING...It's Not For Sissies": 6" x 9" Paperback

by Nicole Comer

This charming and easy-to-read book is a candid, honest & no-nonsense guide for actors with an inside look into the acting “business”.

Most acting classes and drama schools teach the craft of acting, but they rarely cover the business. This book gives actors a road map to their career success.

A working actress, acting coach, writer and producer shares with you her tips, experiences, stories and reminders about the “business” to help take your career to the next level while always reminding the reader that acting is a business, so you had better put your big-girl and big-boy pants on!

 

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The Lee Strasberg Notes [Paperback]

Lola Cohen (Editor), Martin Sheen (Foreword)

The Lee Strasberg Notes reproduces the original teachings of a unique voice in actor training, for the very first time. It is a stunning document in the history and ongoing practice of Strasberg’s Method.

 

Compiled and edited by Lola Cohen, the book is based on unpublished transcripts of Strasberg’s own classes on acting, directing and Shakespeare. It recreates his  theoretical approach, as well as the practical exercises used by his students, and brilliantly conveys his approach and personality.

 

The book features Strasberg’s teachings on:

 

•Training and exercises

• Characters and scenes

• Directing and the Method

• Shakespeare and Stanislavski

• The theater, acting and actors.

 

Including a Preface by Anna Strasberg and a Foreword by Martin Sheen, this illuminating book brings the reader closer to Strasberg’s own methods than any other, making it a phenomenal resource for students, actors, and directors.

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Sanford Meisner on Acting [Paperback]

By Sanford Meisner (Author), Dennis Longwell (Author), Sydney Pollack (Introduction)

 

This book, written in collaboration with Dennis Longwell, follows an acting class of eight men and eight women for fifteen months, beginning with the most rudimentary exercises and ending with affecting and polished scenes from contemporary American plays. Throughout these pages Meisner is delight--always empathizing with his students and urging them onward, provoking emotion, laughter, and growing technical mastery from his charges. With an introduction by Sydney Pollack, director of "Out of Africa" and "Tootsie," who worked with Meisner for five years.

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Respect for Acting [Hardcover]

By Uta Hagen

Part One, "The Actor," deals with the actor's concept of him or herself, as well as techniques that set an actor in motion physically, verbally, and emotionally.

 

Part Two, "The Object Exercises," offers specific and detailed work for the actor, covering a broad range of problems and circumstances, from making an entrance to using the Fourth Wall.

 

Part Three, "The Play and the Role," covers how to approach the play and identify with the character the actor will undertake. It also shares practical thoughts and answers the questions young actors ask most.

 

Uta Hagen's influence endures in many of today's most compelling stage and screen performances. Informative and inspiring, Respect for Acting will bring her timeless techniques to actors and audiences for years to come.

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The Art of Acting

By Stella Adler, Howard Kissel and Marlon Brando (Foreword)

Stella Adler was one of the 20th Century's greatest figures. She is arguably the most important teacher of acting in American history. Over her long career, both in New York and Hollywood, she offered her vast acting knowledge to generations of actors, including Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, and Robert De Niro. The great voice finally ended in the early Nineties, but her decades of experience and teaching have been brilliantly caught and encapsulated by Howard Kissel in the twenty-two lessons in this book.

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An Actor's Work: A Student's Diary [Hardcover]

By Konstantin Stanislavski

Stanislavski’s ‘system’ has dominated actor-training in the West since his writings were first translated into English in the 1920s and 30s. His systematic attempt to outline a psycho-physical technique for acting single-handedly revolutionized standards of acting in the theatre.

 

Until now, readers and students have had to contend with inaccurate, misleading and difficult-to-read English-language versions. Some of the mistranslations have resulted in profound distortions in the way his system has been interpreted and taught. At last, Jean Benedetti has succeeded in translating Stanislavski’s huge manual into a lively, fascinating and accurate text in English.

 

He has remained faithful to the author's original intentions, putting the two books previously known as An Actor Prepares and Building A Character back together into one volume, and in a colloquial and readable style for today's actors.

 

The result is a major contribution to the theatre, and a service to one of the great innovators of the twentieth century.

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ACTING IS EVERYTHING
An Actor's Guidebook For A Successful Career In Los Angeles

by Judy Kerr

This really is the ultimate guidebook for actors who are determined to initiate and sustain a successful acting career in Los Angeles or in their hometowns. Filled with practical advice, Acting Is Everything helps beginners avoid scams so they can get down to the business of getting work. Written by a renowned acting coach, it helps actors do it right the first time, saving them time, money and heartache.

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HEARING AND WRITING MUSIC
Professional Training for Today's Musician (2nd Edition)

by Ron Gorow

 

This book is designed to help you develop and refine your perception and your ability to communicate with music—to know what you are hearing and to express your thoughts through music notation or performance.

 

In this book you will discover: Transcribing techniques. How to maximize your creativity and productivity. How to develop your craft by consolidating techniques. How to read music with your ears. How you can write music without using an instrument. How to write music spontaneously, as your ear guides your hand. How to communicate accurately through music notation. Why you don't need "perfect pitch."

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ACTING OUT: Your Personal Coach to a Money-Making Career in Television Commercials

by Stuart Stone

A career plan for successful commercial actors Aspirants learn the elements, techniques, approaches, insider information and choices that raise them above others in the field. Today's widely-varied commercial spots--dramatic, dialogue-driven, beauty, comedy, niche, children, sports--offer myriad opportunities. Readers learn about:auditions, valuable trade secrets, how to get the perfect headshots, and much much more.

About the Author
Stuart Stone is a Canadian film, television, and voice-over actor as well as a producer of TV/film and music. Stone also has toured as a comedian and rapper. In March 2009, Stone was named one of the "10 most innovative on the web" for his work on The Sunday Nite Stu and his TSM Radio Show.

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AN ACTOR PREPARES
by Constantine Stanislavski

(translated by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood)
Theatre Arts Books

Stanislavski wrote this book to leave to the world a record of his approach to the actor's art. Basically, Tortsov, Artistic Director of a theatre, patiently guides his actors through an understanding of the many hidden resources at their disposal. It's obvious that "Tortsov" is actually Stanislavski, and the "students" are the company members of the Moscow Art Theatre. Very well written, easy to understand, laced with humor and humanity, every actor, regardless of his "method" owes it to himself to read this book.

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A METHOD TO THEIR MADNESS:
The History of the Actors Studio

by Foster Hirsch
Da Capo Press

A most brilliant history of the Actors Studio, by one of the world's foremost theatre historians, with detailed chapters on the "life before the Studio", when Konstantin Stanislavski started his lifelong quest for the answers to the questions that started it all. This is one of the best books of its kind in print. If you're interested in the history of the Actors Studio, you'll find this book salted with rich detail, peppered with intuitive insight and sweetened with crystal clarity. Highly recommended.

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STRASBERG AT THE ACTORS STUDIO:
TAPE RECORDED SESSIONS

Edited by Robert Hethmon
Theatre Communications Group

As the title implies, this book is transcribed from actual tape recorded sessions at the Actors Studio.  It is a valuable resource for those interested in "hearing" Lee Strasberg critique scenes in his own distinguished way.  The drawback, of course, is that the reader does not have the advantage of having seen the scenes Strasberg critiques, but anyone with a basic understanding of Strasberg's approach to actor training will gain invaluable insights into problems that have plagued actors throughout the history of the art.  To help with that basic understanding, editor Robert Hethmon has included his own descriptions and analyses of the basic elements of Strasberg's "Method" with such clarity that the book is worth reading for that reason alone.

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ACTING: THE FIRST SIX LESSONS

by Richard Boleslavski
Theatre Arts Books

Richard Boleslavski, with whom Strasberg studied (saving his notes from class his entire lifetime) assumes a fictional role in this book as a teacher helping a young student address the problems encountered by actors in their life in art.   A beautifully written book, laced with humor and invaluable insight.   After reading this book, actors might wonder if they need any more than these "lessons" to accomplish their goals onstage.

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STANISLAVSKI ON THE ART OF THE STAGE

Introduced & Translated by David Magarshack
Faber & Faber

Long out of print, this book has been reissued.  The introduction by David Magarshack is one of the best (and longest) narratives about Stanislavski and his work.  It alone is worth the price of the book.  In the book, Stanislavki shares his genius with the reader as he writes about "The System and Methods of Creative Art".  This is also a great book for students and professionals in Opera, as the master teaches acting for that discipline here.

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ON METHOD ACTING

by Edward Dwight Easty
Ivy Books

This book covers the basic fundamentals of the "Method": Relaxation, Sense Memory and Concentration, as well as briefly touching on a few other procedures (Affective Memory, Animal Exercise, Justification, etc.)  It is recommended as a quick-start primer for those who don't have enough time to spend weeks reading the other books listed on this page.

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THE ACTORS STUDIO: A PLAYER'S PLACE

 

by David Garfield
MacMillan Publishing


Everything you want to know about the Actors Studio and the people who brought the institution to the forefront of Western theatre excellence, written intelligently by a sensitive and thoughtful insider.  A "must read".

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A DREAM OF PASSION

by Lee Strasberg
(Ed. Evangeline Morphos)


Strasberg's dream in his own words, published after his death.  Interesting reading, filled with insight.

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ACTING: A HANDBOOK OF THE STANISLAVSKI METHOD

Compiled by Toby Cole
Crown Publishers


With a brilliant introduction by Lee Strasberg, this book is a compilation of essays, several by Stanislavski and one by his greatest student, Vakhtangov.  Also included is M. A. Chekhov essay, "Stanislavski's Method of Acting".  This book is an indespensable reference manual on the art of acting and directing.  I've had it since 1975, and refer to it often.

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BUILDING A CHARACTER  &  CREATING A ROLE
Building A Character

by Constantine Stanislavski
Translated by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood
Theatre Arts Books


I've listed these two books together because they are strongly related in content, and I feel that reading both these books one after the other might be a good way to achieve absorbing the the limitless genius of the man who brought to the world the first tangible means of approaching the problems inherent in the actors' art.  Reading these books make me realize how much we have lost in communication as we immerse ourselves more deeply in the time consuming details of modern technology.  Stanislavski's wonderful command of language is not lost with Ms. Reynolds translastions.

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SHELLEY: ALSO KNOWN AS SHIRLEY

By Shelley Winters
Published by Outlet


Among the greatest actors of the 20th century, and one of the strongest advocates of Lee Strasberg's "Method" acting, Shelley Winters gives invaluable insights into the art of the actor and it's real life implications.  Told in autobiographical form, the wisdom harvested from these pages will serve as a guiding light for all those who aspire to greatness in art.  The honesty of Ms. Winters revelations reflect the courage with which she has established herself as a deeply moving artist who becomes totally involved in life and on the stage.  Very well written, filled with every shade of the emotional spectrum, especially humor. Online Shelley Winters Interview

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SHELLEY II

By Shelley Winters

Among the greatest actors of the 20th century, and one of the strongest advocates of Lee Strasberg's "Method" acting, Shelley Winters gives invaluable insights into the art of the actor and it's real life implications.  Told in autobiographical form, the wisdom harvested from these pages will serve as a guiding light for all those who aspire to greatness in art.  The honesty of Ms. Winters revelations reflect the courage with which she has established herself as a deeply moving artist who becomes totally involved in life and on the stage.  Very well written, filled with every shade of the emotional spectrum, especially humor. Online Shelley Winters Interview

shelley2

 

ACTORS ON ACTING
The Theories, Techniques, and Practices of the Great Actors Of All Times As Told In Their Own Words

Edited with Introductions and Biographical Notes
by Toby Cole and Helen Krich Chinoy
Crown Publisher


The title says it all. This book is a must for every actor and serious student of drama. From Ancient Greece to Modern times, every great actor and theory of acting in the Western World is covered here. A veritable Encyclopedia of the greatest actors of all time.

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