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Stephen Cole

Welcome to the Official Stephen Cole Website.

Stephen is a prolific and award winning musical theatre writer (book and lyrics, sometimes just book, sometimes, just lyrics) and author of five published books.
Browse through the galleries ​and enjoy the pictures from Stephen's many produced musicals. There are YouTube videos and audio links where you can hear songs, and get to know Stephen and his work. Click the photos to enlarge them.
You can contact Stephen or his agent to find out how to produce one of his shows or get his CDs and books, or just to say hello.
Enjoy your time at and don't forget to write!  
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“MARY & ETHEL ...and MIKEY WHO? is a Fun-filled Time-traveling Show Biz Adventure… whirlwind of dramatic adventure, frequently funny and often quite touching. I drank in this delightful diversion in two ways: first, reading through it in print and then listening to the audio version read by bubbly Anita Gillette who impressively (and sometimes impudently) takes on each character with contrasting voices, energies, attitudes, perspectives, and levels of sympathy.  It’s like listening to a radio play that is well paced and nails the essence of the interesting interactions and reactions. As a bonus, when a line or two from a song lyric is in the text, she sings it!  The actress brings a special connection to Merman, whose expletive-sprinkled dialog she delivers in a frequently gruff, snarky tone, the abrasive sandpaper to the silk of the daintier Martin.  Mikey’s dramatic catharsis dealing with his personal (family) past gives the book gravitas and psychological depth in surprising ways, broadening its appeal to a general audience not addicted to show biz.  There are memorable images in this nostalgia-fest, such as 62-year-old Ethel Merman’s appearance in the bright red costume for the title song of Hello, Dolly: “looking like an overripe cherry pie dipped in bugle beads.”  That’s just one tiny slice of the novelist’s way of making the reader feel like being in the room where it happened (in this case, one of its several dressing rooms).  A nice place to visit!!”

Rob Lester, BroadwayWorld



MARY & ETHEL….AND MIKEY WHO? is a cleverly written, fact-driven piece of fiction wittily presented by author Stephen Cole. What sets author and theatrical historian Stephen Cole’s work apart from other such “fan-based” fiction, is the fact that it is based on truths - the author’s factual knowledge of the two women and their long friendship, and Broadway in whole – whereby the author creating a fascinating thread to weave such an abstract tale. Cleverly written with humor and some pathos, Cole takes the reader on a joyous trip through the private lives of Martin and Merman, as well as the theatrical machination of 1939, returning to Mikey’s reality in the end. MARY & ETHEL….AND MIKEY WHO? is a dizzying, bizarre journey, which will captivate theater buffs to no end. Recommended for those who want to be taken on a ride to the imagination”    

Stephen Michael Shearer, The Film Biographer

“THE BEST BROADWAY BOOK OF THE DECADE. The author blends (theatrical) historical events and people with the product of his delicious Broadway-Jewish imagination and humor in a wholly enchanting narrative which had me glued to the page throughout. There is an air of magic ... a ton of twinkle dust and plenty of whisky sour ... emanating from the pages. This book is going to sell itself to the Broadway royal brigade. But I hope it goes much, much further. It is a masterful compound of fact and fiction that just happens to be 'about' two icons of the American musical theatre, presented in the happiest of fashions ... all of which goes together to make this the best 'Broadway book' since ... er ... Bordman and Norton rolled into one.”

Kurt Ganzl, Theatre Historian and Blogger


“Mary & Ethel... and Mikey Who? is a wonderfully written new novel by Stephen Cole. In this page-turner of a book, the author has, as the inside jacket of the book states, "taken his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin, the two undisputed queens of Broadway, and tossed them in a blender and come up with a fantasy about a nerdy super-fan in the 1980s. As the book deepens, the focus gradually shifts to Mikey growing up and accepting himself and his life. He gets to be a witness to people in his family from the past, creating heartwarming events that he only wished could actually have happened. Mary & Ethel... and Mikey Who? is a document of Cole's real-life friendships with these two idols and he lets his imagination run wild, letting his alter-ego Mikey experience a wide range of events, some of which can be quite frightening and others that can break your heart. One hopes that the book will reach a wider audience than just show fans and lovers of Broadway musical history, for readers are bound to be thrilled and enticed by Mikey's adventures, with Mary & Ethel guiding him every step of the way. At the very heart of the book is a young man growing up and learning to come to terms with his life and to, ultimately, truly celebrate who he is and the people he loves so dearly.”


Zander Opper, Talkin’ Broadway

"Hello, much-missed mayhem and Merman .. and good ol' Musical Comedy—it's so nice to have you all back where you belong!  The rollicking score pulls off a welcome and crucial coup in finding its heart. Everything about this show clicks. Can a full production be far behind?"

    Rob Lester, Talkin' Broadway

"Cole’s lyrics are often hilarious and the gags come thick and fast. In fact several visits are required to this CD just to catch up with all the clever jokes. However Cole can also switch to more tender moments as in the melancholy Little Bit where Merman sings of her dead daughter."

    Mark Klegg, The Reviews Hub

"If you've ever uttered the phrase "they don't make 'em like they used to anymore," I would kindly direct your attention to MERMAN'S APPRENTICE. Like the best fables, it has plenty of heart. Evans has crafted a wholly original score full of memorable songs that tell the story without ever losing their essential song forms. Cole's lyrics have an economical cleverness, delivering story without sacrificing humor or technique. (Thank God for a score full of genuine rhymes!)"

   David Levy,

"MERMAN'S APPRENTICE-Jubilant, Warm, Funny. Numbers with lyric specificity shine. Music is appealing and often Mermanesque. Arrangements are terrific. Cole has succeeded in spades. A thoroughly entertaining musical"

Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town



hits the bull’s eye! Melodies that have the perfect period pizzazz to remind us of when Broadway really was Broadway. "

          Peter Filichia, theater critic, Star-Ledger emeritus

"Fasten your ear-plugs … here they come!A song-studded vehicle for a Merman and a mini-Merman (with the occasional interruption from other folk), set in a book (yes, I’ve read it) of showbiz in-jokes and ribbing that will set Broadway fans of all ages a-hootin’ and a-sniggerin’  Listen to the Trumpet Call’, is the hit of the night."

    Kurt Ganzl, International Theatre Critic

"A hilarious good time from start to finish as well as poignant and insightful."

    Marilyn Lester, Theatre Pizzazz

Click the CD cover to buy the CD on

"Cole and Evans are writing here in a golden age of Broadway style...witty and wonderful lyrics. The heart-tugging Little Bit, and the inspirational Taking the Veil are the standout songs in a wholly enjoyable score.  Hamilton may hip-hop its way through modern-day Broadway deservedly, but Broadway deserves a bit of old-fashioned charm, chuckles, and star charisma too"

   David Edward-Hughes, JetSpace Magazine

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"Hooray for 'Goin' Hollywood! A Brilliant New Musical."
Dallas Morning News July 2024

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Raves for Merman's

in Sonoma

“'Merman’s Apprentice' Delights! Part fable, part fairy tale, and all heart. A show that will delight theater fans of all varieties and ages. David Evans has cooked up a couple dozen tunes that evoke the glory days of big brash Broadway musicals. 'Merman’s Apprentice' is a huge unabashed exercise in nostalgia. The show and its stars are destined for much broader horizons, so catch it while you can.”

                     Barry Willis, President of the San Francisco

                                         Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. 


"A charming tale told in classic Broadway-style. A step back in time to the classic musicals of Merman’s heyday, which also makes it suitable for all ages. Just a sweet story with catchy tunes, gentle humor and the requisite happy finale. If you’re a lover of musicals you owe it to yourself to see this one now, while it’s still in’ll be bragging for months about your good fortune."

Jeanie K. Smith , San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Sonoma County Gazette


"Real Treat! Merman's Apprentice is a throw-back to the classic Broadway musical—a simple plot, larger-than-life characters, a little schmaltz and lots of songs to tell its story. Cole and Evans' score evokes the feel and sound of classic Broadway with lyrics that are often clever. A theatre-lover's treat, the exceedingly pleasant Merman's Apprentice is what All About Eve would have been in the hands of Walt Disney. It's a virtual Merman-palooza!"

Harry Duke, Bomemian. com

" Young wannabe actress/singer and Ethel Merman expert Muriel Plakenstein (yes, she knows she'll have to change it) becomes the great star's apprentice in this wonderful new musical, book and lyrics by Stephen Cole and music by David Evans. It sure leaves you wanting more! Don't miss your chance to see 'Merman's Apprentice''

Mitchell Field

Raves for Casper

in Cincinnati

"Casper: The Friendly Musical, a story about a friendly and fearless little spirit. The show is a must-see, with high-flying fun, spook-tacular special effects and a catchy soundtrack. The show is very of the moment, full of pop culture references and accessible humor. At its core, Casper is a musical about not judging a book by its cover. There are also themes about bullying and materialism that give this musical real substance. Casper: The Friendly Musical is the most wonderful way to celebrate Halloween with your family."

 Sarah McCosham,

Cincinnati Parent Magazine

"A Toe-Tapping Spook-tacular!  This Halloween-themed show is a wonderful way to get kids in the mood for the fall season. Excellent and luscious! A great experience for kids and families. Casper: The Friendly Musical” is a great first (or second or third) show to bring your ages 4+ kids to go see."

Christiana Molldrem Harkulich, League  of Cincinnati Theatres

"No booing here! ‘Casper the Friendly Musical’ does not disappoint . This delightful musical moves at a fast clip, interspersing tap dancing, slapstick, heartfelt musical theater and a lively storyline into a great entertainment experience for the whole family. In addition to lots of fun, the musical has an anti-bullying message, and children are likely to come away thinking about how they might be better friends. Come catch Casper before he floats away!"

Catlin Tracy-Miller, Arts Wave Guide


"What a phenomenal experience last night seeing AFTER THE FAIR at Urban Stages. What Stephen Cole and Matthew Martin Ward did with Thomas Hardy's story was NOTHING less than e-x-t-r-a-o-r-d-i-n-a-r-y. The nuance of character, the soaringly beautiful melodies, the impeccable craft reminded us all what a beautiful chamber musical could be."

                                                  Peter Filichia

"After 20 years, "After the Fair" returned for one night as part of Urban Stage's Winter rhythms. It was just as heart-wrenching as I remember it. I wish this would come back and get the proper run it deserves which the York did 20 years ago. It still takes my breath away."

                                              Eva Heinemann

After the Fair Concert Cast: Joshua Hinck, Tim Jerome, Mary Jo Dugaw and Jenn Gambatese

Stephen's books are available on Kindle for the first time. Click either book to buy.

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Last Season and Beyond (click poster to get to page)

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