When I saw my first musical on Broadway, the raw talent on stage won me over. I’ve returned several times and have become a big local theater goer. This new book by Broadway veteran Jenna Gavigan lets readers take a peek at what goes on backstage through the eyes of a mouse.
Yes, LuLu is a talking mouse who lives in the famed Shubert Theater with her parents and annoying brothers. The only people who communicate with the family of rodents are theater people. They all know LuLu has a dream to somehow have her own debut on the Broadway stage despite the fact it’s quite impossible.
Unless readers already have a passion for theater or been in the audience for a few musicals, this is going to be a hard sell. With a much too clogged up beginning (be prepared of 30+ page chapter three) and numerous references to names and plays, I’m afraid very few ten year olds will connect.
But the story begins to take flight about a third of the way when Jayne arrives, an understudy for a young girl part. LuLu befriends her and together they try and deal with Amanda, a diva in training. Will Jayne ever get a chance to take the stage or will she be like the last understudy who spent most of her time backstage?
It turns into a sweet story and one with many eye opening reveals to life behind the curtain. Save this one for yourself then wait to pass it along to a child after they have attended their first professional musical. The ending will make you smile.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 9, 2018 PAGE COUNT: 288
THE OFFICIAL STORY BLURB (From AMAZON) Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway’s Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn’t be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She’s a little girl mouse.
When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne’s guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently than we imagined; sometimes they come with terms and conditions (aka the company mean girl, Amanda). But sometimes, just when we’ve given up all hope, bigger and better dreams than we’d ever thought could come true, do.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
LULU THE BROADWAY MOUSE by Jenna Gavigan
- Whenever I see performers take their final bow hand-in-hand, they always look like one big happy family. This story confirms my observation. Actresses and actors in a Broadway musical along with the staff that supports them truly are family.
- The depiction of theater life from Lulu’s perspective will have you saying more than once, “I didn’t know that!”
- Lulu follows up in the back of the book with her recommendations for a visit to New York. Better than most travel books I’ve read.
- Follow your dream and it might just come true.
- There are many life lessons planted between the overture and final bow. Perfect for middle grade kids with an eye on the preforming arts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jenna Gavigan, a fourth generation New Yorker, grew up dreaming of Broadway. At age sixteen she made her Broadway debut in Gypsy, opposite Bernadette Peters. Since then she’s appeared in a half-dozen films, on more than a dozen television shows, and on east and west coast stages, most recently Off-Broadway in the world premiere of Straight. Jenna graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Creative Writing, where she focused on fiction, television, and screenwriting. She lives in a teeny tiny Manhattan apartment with her husband, Kevin. This is her first novel.
I was given a copy of the book for my honest review.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Too bad that this will be hard one for kids to connect with. And yes the actors and those backstage are one happy family after the time spent on a play.
Wow! I actually saw that Broadway play with Bernadette Peters so I must have seen Jenna Gavigan too. Wish I still had the Playbill. Fascinating review, Greg. I’m impressed that Lulu’s NYC recommendations are better than most travel books you’ve read.
Kids who love the arts and dream of being on stage will connect. I had a great love for the theater in junior and senior high. Even was involved in summer stock while in college. This would have appealed to me. But you make a good point — is it current? Kids attending performing arts schools would be interested. And, it may be in certain parts of the country, like NYC, Boston, Chicago, California etc. Love that Lulu’s recommendations are excellent. This book would pair nicely with a PB for older kids, “The Great American Mousical,” by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton. It was produced and performed, but didn’t make it to Broadway, sadly.
I love the theater and so do my kids. I’ll keep this one in mind!
I didn’t know you were a theatre junky. You know I am. This book sounds like something I would love. I will have to pick it up. Thanks for telling me about it.