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Publisher's Summary

"Working on a Song is one of the best books about lyric writing for the theater I've read." (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Anaïs Mitchell named to TIME's List of the 100 Most Influential People in the World of 2020

An illuminating book of lyrics and stories from Hadestown — the winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical — from its author, songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, with a foreword by Steve Earle   

On Broadway, this fresh take on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has become a modern classic. Heralded as “The best new musical of the season,” by The Wall Street Journal, and “Sumptuous. Gorgeous. As good as it gets,” by The New York Times, the show was a breakout hit, with its poignant social commentary, and spellbinding music and lyrics.   

In this book, Anaïs Mitchell takes listeners inside her more than decade’s-long process of building the musical from the ground up — detailing her inspiration, breaking down the lyrics, and opening up the process of creation that gave birth to Hadestown. Fans and newcomers alike will love this deeply thoughtful, revealing look at how the songs from “the underground” evolved, and became the songs we sing again and again.

©2020 Anaïs Mitchell (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Working on a Song is one of the best books about lyric writing for the theater I've read. Up there w the Sondheim Tomes and Ira Gershwin's book. Specifically, re-writing, and revising, and holding on to your voice while telling your story." (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

What listeners say about Working on a Song

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Perfect Addition to the Perfect Story

Anaïs makes this additional behind the scenes look into the making of Hadestown a warm and welcome companion. Her narration is full of her love for the work and the details she gives completely consumes the listener. I was a fan before Broadway, but her journey and success there has only made me admire her and her work that much more.

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Insightful read

I'm late to the Hadestown train (pun intended) but I got into it and fell hard. 😅 Reading this gave the lyrics some serious depth and more emotion than I thought possible.

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wonderful!

Great stories behind the words and it was wonderful to hear early drafts and alt versions of the songs!

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Simply Beautiful !

Listening to this book is like having a 1 to 1 coffee chat airy Anaïs Mitchell.

Lovely experience to listen to some behind the scenes processes of the most beautiful theatrical experiences of my life!

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It's like she's there chatting with you

It's like she's there chatting with you about your favorite musical. My favorite parts are when she goes through the evolution of the lyrics over time. It's absolutely fascinating to watch the musical grow and transform before your eyes.

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  • Patrick Francis
  • 02-26-22

Fascinating and inspiring

This is the book I wanted it to be. I've never even seen the show and I loved every word.