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About Michael Chekhov

These books are about Michael Chekhov, his influences, resources and collaborators in theater arts. These books are recommended for your continued study after you have discovered Chekhov's own writing or to learn about specialized application of his tools and techniques.

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Michael Chekhov

Franc Chamberlain
Michael Chekhov

Michael Chekhov's unique approach to and lasting impact on actor training is only now beginning to be fully appreciated. This volume provides, for the first time, a fully comprehensive introduction to his life and times, his most notable productions, his classic writings and his practical exercises.

Franc Chamberlain unravels Chekhov's contributions to modern theatre through:

  • an exploration of his life
  • examination of his major work
  • analysis of Checkhov's key productions
  • reproduction of practical exercises.


Charles Marowitz
The Other Chekhov

Who is the Other Chekhov? He is Michael Chekhov (1891-1955), nephew of the famous playwright Anton Chekhov, the man that Stanislavsky described as "the most brilliant actor in all of Russia." An inspiring director,  a  charismatic actor,  and a teacher that developed a dynamic antidote to Russian Naturalism, Chekhov remains the invisible  man of the modern theatre. Was he, as Lee Strasberg alleged, a dangerous   mystic who would subvert the vigor of Stanislavsky's teachings and   undermine the integrity of The Group Theatre? Or was he, as his   disciples - Yul Brynner, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Quinn,   Jack Palance, Leslie Caron, Jennifer Jones, Patricia Neal, Anthony   Hopkins, Jack Nicholson & Marilyn Monroe - believed, a man who had   discovered a unique approach to acting which transcended the precepts   enshrined in Stanislavsky's "System." Charles Marowitz drew upon the Chekhov archives in Devon, England, interviews with NMCA President, Lisa Dalton who introduced him to actors and directors who worked closely with Chekhov both in Europe and America. The book chronicles Chekhov's influential period in Hollywood when he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as the psychiatrist in Alfred Hitchcock's 1945 film Spellbound. It also describes his close association with Marilyn Monroe at the most delicate stage of her career.

Books Integrating Michael Chekhov

These books are written by teachers and students of Michael Chekhov who have integrated his teachings and techniques into their own larger study of acting and theater. These books are recommended by NMCA as great books showing the application of Chekhov's tools into real acting practices.

A Balancing Act:

The Development of Energize! A Holistic Approach to Acting

F. Emmanuelle Chaulet

A Balancing Act

Going beyond where Michael Chekhov left off, this book presents acting as a mind, body and spirit practice and actors as emotional athletes, spiritual stuntmen and stuntwomen exposed to a constant roller coaster of emotions.

NMCA Alumna Emmanuelle Chaulet, international film actress and artists coach, develops her own acting technique ENERGIZE™ using discoveries from holistic and energy healing modalities and breaking new ground in the performing arts field. Answering an urgent, yet never addressed, need this book offers invaluable tools to balance life and acting, heal post-performance stress disorder and performance anxiety. You'll find cutting edge information about recovering your Highest Creative Self, the essence of your character, and true emotional balance.  Foreword is written by Lisa Dalton, co-founder National Michael Chekhov Association.

Purchase this from the Starlight Acting Institute by clicking the button below.


Voice and Speech Training

in the New Millenium

Nancy Sakland
Voice & Speech Training NMCA Certified Teacher Nancy Saklad has assembled a collection of interviews with 24 of today's leading voice and speech teachers, each of whom has contributed to the advancement of the field and made today's training a cutting edge component of actor training.  Voice and speech training has long been a part of the fabric of actor training and the training of those whose task it has been to persuade through the voice: primarily actors, politicians, lawyers, and other public speakers.  Included are interviews with master teachers Richard Armstrong, Cicely Berry, Patsy Rodenburg, Kristin Linklater, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Dudley Knight, Robert Barton, Rocco DalVera, Natsuko Ohama, Nancy Krebs, Bonnie Raphael, Susan Sweeney, Fran Bennett, Louis Colaianni, Nancy  Houfek, Jan Gist, Andrea Haring, Saul Kotzubei, Robert Neff Williams, Andrew Wade, David Carey, Phil Thompson, Deb Kinghorn, and Gillian Lane-Plescia. Amidst their similarities and differences in approach is a unified spirit and acknowledgment that voice work is of fundamental importance to the actor's training process and has the potential to resonate profoundly with the actor and with the audience.

Auditioning: An Actor-friendly Guide

Joanna Merlin
Auditioning: An Actor-friendly Guide Theater veteran and acting teacher Joanna Merlin has written the definitive guide to auditioning for stage and screen, bringing to it a valuable dual perspective. She has spent her career on both sides of the auditioning process, both as an award-winning casting director who has worked with Harold Prince, Bernard Bertolucci, and James Ivory, and as an accomplished actor herself.

In this highly informative and accessible book, Merlin provides everything the actor needs to achieve self-confidence and artistic honesty–from the most basic practical tips to an in-depth framework for preparing a part. Filled with advice from the most esteemed people in the business, such as James Lapine, Nora Ephron, and Stephen Sondheim, and charged with tremendous wisdom and compassion, this indispensable resource will arm the reader to face an actor's greatest challenge: getting the part.

In Character

Christopher Vened
In Character

To portray a character, the actor needs craft; to fully express him or herself in the character, the actor needs talent. Combining the two is what makes a great actor, and here, Christopher Vened guides the actor, step by step, in how to explore and develop the character in all its aspects.

In this concise manual, Vened describes the necessary methods, principles, directions, exercises, and examples needed for the mastery of the actor's craft and art of portraying character, and offers guidance on such topics as conflict, internal and external circumstances of a character, thought patterns, and character traits in the body. This book is a major exploration of a major part of the actor's job.

Psychophysical Acting

Phillip Zarilli
Psychophysical Acting

Psychophysical Acting is a direct and vital address to the demands of contemporary theatre on today’s actor. Drawing on over thirty years of intercultural experience, Phillip Zarrilli aims to equip actors with practical and conceptual tools with which to approach their work. Areas of focus include:

  • an historical overview of a psychophysical approach to acting from Stanislavski to the present acting as an ‘energetics’ of performance, applied to a wide range of playwrights: Samuel Beckett, Martin Crimp, Sarah Kane, Kaite O’Reilly and Ota Shogo a system of training though yoga and Asian martial arts that heightens sensory awareness, dynamic energy, and in which body and mind become one practical application of training principles to improvisation exercises.

Psychophysical Acting is accompanied by Peter Hulton’s interactive DVD-ROM featuring exercises, production documentation, interviews, and reflection.

Books About Chekhov's Influences & Collaborators

These books discuss the great influences in Chekhov's life, Stanislavski, Vakhtangov, etc. Read these books to get both perspective but alternative theories, which Chekhov both argued against and applauded in his own writing.

The Stanislavski Technique: Russia

A Workbook for Actors

Mel Gordon

It is virtually impossible to discuss modern acting or actor training without first mentioning the Russian thoerist and director Konstantin Stanislavsky. Complete in one volume, Mel Gordon explores the actor training systems of Stanislavsky and his two most important disciples, Evgeni Vakhtangov and Michael Chekhov, tracing the major teachings and refinements over the first 50 years of use by actors. Gordon reconstructs the actual exercises taught at the Moscow Art Theatre and various Russian acting studios, and he clears away the myths and confusion about the practical use of Stanislavsky's System.

This volume contains: The Stanislavsky System - First Studio Exercises 1912-1916; Vakhtangov as Rebel and Theoretician - Exercises 1919-1921; Michael Chekhov - Exercises 1919-1952; and Stanislavsky's Fourth Period - Theory of Physical Actions, 1934-1938.

Wandering Stars:

Russian Emigre Theatre, 1905-1940

Laurence Senelick (Ed.)

Wandering Stars

From the beginning of this century, wars, pogroms, revolution, and economic hardship have impelled Russian cultural figures to seek their fortunes abroad—and theatre people have been no exception. This movement was a windfall for Western Europe and North America, for often the most talented and exciting actors and directors put down roots in foreign lands. Their styles and messages were transmuted in the process, but the inspiration they provided was tremendous.

Now,Wandering Stars is the first book in any language to look closely at this theatrical emigration. Essays by Russian and American scholars and practitioners examine the ways in which the process of transplanting art distorted, magnified, or otherwise altered originals and how expectations on both sides led to disappointments and achievements. A particular strength of this collection is its attention to the question of the transmission of one culture to another.

The thirteen essays in Wandering Stars, originally presented at a landmark 1991 conference at Harvard University, approach a host of historical, cultural, and theatrical issues. The effects of the pioneer touring companies of Pavel Orlenev, Alla Nazimova, and, most significantly, the Moscow Art Theatre are traced. The fates of actors like Maria Germanova and directors like Theodore Komisarjevsky who settled in the West receive careful inquiry. The techniques and influences of charismatic teachers such as Michael Chekhov and Andrius Jilinsky are examined, and the fortunes of cabarets like the Chauve-Souris and experimental playwrights like Nikolay Evreinov are given careful study. In addition, essays analyze the fascination America has held for Russian artists throughout history and the problems which face any emigrant who tries to preserve the best of his or her culture in an alien environment.

With the continuing interest in interculturalism evinced in the academy, popular literature, and the media, Wandering Stars makes a vital and timely contribution to the ongoing inquiry and debate. This book should be of interest to all students of theatre and Russian life and all those with an abiding interest in the realities of a global society.

Stanislavski In Focus:

An Acting Master for the 21st Century

Sharon Carnicke

Stanislavsky in Focus brilliantly examines the history and actual premises of Stanislavsky’s 'System', separating myth from fact with forensic skill. The first edition of this now classic study showed conclusively how the 'System' was gradually transformed into the Method, popularised in the 1950s by Lee Strasberg and the Actor’s Studio. It looked at the gap between the original Russian texts and what most English-speaking practitioners still imagine to be Stanislavsky’s ideas.

This thoroughly revised new edition also delves even deeper into:

- the mythical depiction of Stanislavsky as a tyrannical director and teacher

- yoga, the mind-body-spirit continuum and its role in the ‘System’

- how Stanislavsky used subtexts to hide many of his ideas from Soviet censors.

The text has been updated to address all of the relevant scholarship, particularly in Russia, since the first edition was published. It also features an expanded glossary on the System's terminology and its historical exercises, as well as more on the political context of Stanislavsky's work, its links with cognitive science, and the System's relation to contemporary developments in actor-training. It will be a vital part of every practitioner's and historian's library.

Stanislavski for Beginners

David Allen
Stanislavski For Beginners

This guide traces both the subject's life and his "system" - a series of deep acting exercises that focus on relaxation, concentration, and emotional memory. Along the way the authors show how Stanislavski's influence continues today.

Other than reading all of Stanislavski's personally written books, this book provides a very succinct overview of his major teachings in an easy-to-digest style.

The Vakhtangov Sourcbook

Andrei Malaev-Babel
The Vakhtangov Sourcebook

Yevgeny Vakhtangov was the creator of Fantastic Realism, credited with reconciling Meyerhold’s bold experiments with Stanislavski’s naturalist technique. The Vakhtangov Sourcebook compiles new translations of his key writings on the art of theatre, making it the primary source of first hand material on this master of theatre in the English speaking world.

Vakhtangov’s essays and articles are accompanied by:


    • - Diary and Notebook excerpts
    • - His lectures to the Vakhtangov Studio
    • - In-depth accounts of Vakhtangov methods in rehearsal
    • - Production photographs and sketches
    • - Extensive bibliographies
    • - Director’s notes on key performances

An extensive introductory overview from editor Andrei Malaev-Babel explains Vakhtangov‘s creative life, his groundbreaking theatrical concepts and influential directorial works.



Visit the Michael Chekhov room in our bookstore. It contains the English-language books written by Chekhov himself. These contain the definitive lessons and explanations about his amazing and useful methods for acting, directing, playwriting, and producing.. These are the most valuable resources for students of Michael Chekhov.

Books By Michael Chekhov