Title: The Disney Song Encyclopedia
Authors: Thomas S. Hischak & Mark A. Robinson
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing, part of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing
Publish Date: January 2013
Tell us a little bit about your writing and educational background
Professor Hischak: I began writing non-fiction books about theatre and film in 1991. At the time there were few books about Broadway lyricists, librettists, plays into movies, and other subjects. Some of my books are strictly reference, others are critical studies. I write for students, theatregoers or moviegoers, not for scholars or critics. I look for a subject in theatre, film, and popular music that interests me and I feel has not been covered adequately or in a manner for average readers. My college degrees are in English and Theatre; my interests also include movies and popular music before 1960.
What is your book about?
Professor Hischak: Over one thousand songs from Disney features, shorts, television, theme parks, and Broadway are described for the reader, giving information about the songwriters, performers, characters, recordings, and other background.
Why should readers read your book?
Professor Hischak: Anyone who loves and appreciates Disney productions and want to know more about hundreds of familiar and not-so-familiar songs will enjoy reading the book.
Did you have any obstacles while writing this book? If so, what were they?
Professor Hischak: Finding out the songwriters for television and theme park songs was difficult since they are rarely credited. Also, finding copies of songs from cartoon shorts to listen to was sometimes difficult.
What other books have you had published?
Contributing articles or chapters in these books:
Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures, Music in American Life, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, Grolier’s Encyclopedia of Modern Drama
You are also a Playwright. What plays have you had published?
Are you working on any projects right now?
Professor Hischak: I have just signed a contract with Scarecrow Press to write an encyclopedia of movie composers from Hollywood and around the world. The life, work, and commentary on the style of approximately 200 notable composers will be covered.
What is your advice for writers wanting to turn authors out there?
Professor Hischak: I advise writers to find a subject that they love and want to spent a lot of time with, look for an aspect of that subject that has not been adequately written about, then write a proposal and sample chapters to send to appropriate publishers.
What made you become a writer?
Professor Hischak: I like research, learning more about a subject that interests me. I like sharing what I have learned. I do this as a college teacher but the books are an extension of that.
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite type of book to read?
Professor Hischak: Arts nonfiction: Gerald Bordman, Ethan Mordden, Stanley Green, Walter Kerr, John Simon, Pauline Kael.
Where can we find you?
Professor Hischak: Thomas.Hischak@cortland.edu
Anything else you would like to add?
Professor Hischak: Although theatre, movies, and popular music are populist art forms, they deserve the same careful research and critical commentary as any other art form.
Awards and Honors Professor Hischak has Earned
-Recipient of a SUNY Global Grant to teach at Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey, May 2013.
-Outstanding Achievement in Research Award, SUNY Cortland, 2010.
-Outstanding Reference Book, American Library Association, for Broadway Plays and Musicals, 2009.
-Outstanding Reference Sources, Booklist, for Broadway Plays and Musicals, 2010.
-Julie Harris Playwriting Award (Beverly Hills Theatre Guild) for The Cardiff Giant, 2010.
-Best Reference Books of 2009 citation, Library Journal, for The Disney Song Encyclopedia.
-The Oxford Companion to the American Musical named one of the Best 25 Reference Books of 2008, by the New York Public Library, 2009.
-Named a Fulbright Senior Specialist by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 2002. Taught and directed American theatre in Greece in 2008 and Lithuania in 2011.
-Chancellor’s Award (SUNY) for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity, 2004.
-Outstanding Academic Book, Choice Magazine, American Library Association, for The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia, 1995.
-Stanley Drama Award (playwriting) for Cold War Comedy, 1995.
-Listed in Dictionary of International Biography, Marquis Who’s Who in Entertainment, Who’s Who in American Publications, International Authors, Who’s Who in America, Writers Who’s Who, Contemporary Authors and Who’s Who in American Education.
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