Book Signing with Douglas J. Cohen

december, 2023

10dec2:00 pm3:30 pmFeaturedBook Signing with Douglas J. CohenThe Hickory Stick Bookshop2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road Washington Depot, CT 06793

Event Details

The Hickory Stick Bookshop welcomes Richard Rogers award-winning writer Douglas J. Cohen who will be here to sign copies of his recently released book “How To Survive a Killer Musical” on Sunday December 10th at 2 pm. This event is free and open to the public. If you are unable to attend this event, you may reserve signed copies of “How To Survive A Killer Musical” by calling The Hickory Stick Bookshop at (860) 868 0525, or shop our website 24/7 at


When the young composer Douglas Cohen first secured the musical rights to the novel “No Way to Treat a Lady” by William Goldman –the acclaimed author of “The Princess Bride” and “Marathon Man” –he hoped it would be his big break, the first step on a gilt path to artistic triumph and commercial success in the form of a hit Broadway musical.

What happened after that, while memorable, was anything but.

“How to Survive a Killer Musical” chronicles Cohen’s decade-long quest to bring that musical to the stage–writing, re-writing, and shepherding it across the US and Europe amidst all manner of adversity and plain rotten luck. It’s a fascinating portrait of passion, persistence, and resilience–a coming-of-age story populated with famous mentors and formidable adversaries, told with refreshing honesty and humor.

On Cohen’s journey, we meet an unforgettable, vividly rendered cast of characters, including: an Oscar-winning screenwriter who invites Cohen to his personal screening room for a marathon midnight writing session; a Tony Award-winning director making his comeback after a horrific accident renders him a quadriplegic; and a celebrated, volatile British director who inspires a fruitful collaboration in London, only to later leave carnage in his wake. Catastrophes abound, including the near-fatal stabbing of a female lead in rehearsal and an onstage accident incapacitating another leading lady–leaving only the author to go on in her place!

Whether you’re a fan of musicals or just someone who’s trying to bring a passion project into the world, this tale of fortitude in the face of obstacles, personalities, and egos will make for an eye-opening and frequently hilarious journey.


Douglas J. Cohen is a composer, lyricist, and librettist who is the recipient of two Richard Rodgers Awards (No Way To Treat A Lady, The Gig), a Jonathan Larson Grant (Barnstormer), Drama Desk and Drama League nominations (Children’s Letters to God, Don’t Stay Safe), and the Fred Ebb Award and Gilman & Gonzales-Falla Theatre Foundation Award for his body of work. His musicals have been produced Off-Broadway (Manhattan Theatre Club, The York Theatre Company, The Cell Theatre, Prospect Theatre Company), as well as regionally (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Signature Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Barrington Stage Company) and internationally. The studio album of his score for “The Big Time” (book by Douglas Carter Beane) is scheduled for a 2023 release. As a vocal coach, Doug has taught privately and at the Neighborhood Playhouse and Jacob’s Pillow.


“I don’t care if you’ve never seen a Broadway play, this tale of almost making it in the big leagues of musical theater will have you turning the pages. Full of self-deprecating humor, unforgettable characters, and heartbreaking twists of fate, How to Survive a Killer Musical is a delight.”–Nathaniel Philbrick, bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Travels with George

“A vivid, honest, educational, and often hilarious recounting of the author’s adventure adapting a novel by William Goldman to the stage.”–John Kander, Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning composer (Chicago, Cabaret, New York, New York)

“A fascinating look at the hidden reefs lying below the surface waters of musicals and how to ride over most of them. A treat for anyone interested in theater.”–Library Journal (starred review)

Author photograph – Laura Marie Duncan


(Sunday) 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Hickory Stick Bookshop

2 Green Hill Road Washington Depot, CT 06793