Sixteen stories of performing are each paired with anecdotes about life behind the scenes and in front of the footlights.
Even a teen with only a pang of stage or screen hunger will be fascinated by this book, with its various accomplished contributors, from the introduction by Clay Aiken to stars from television shows such as Modern Family and Glee. The stories run a rich and varied emotional gamut. A handkerchief might be a worthy prop when reading Maryrose Wood’s story about a teenager who finds herself under the reluctant tutelage of an aged, renowned singer; she is stingy with compliments but has a tremendous heart and a tragic secret. Cynthia Hand’s “Stage Kiss” is a hilarious tale about a high school junior who seeks to change her never-been-kissed status by auditioning for a play in which the last scene ends with a kiss. Her plan goes comically awry, but readers will swoon at the ending that plays out at the final curtain. Each story is followed by a first-person anecdote by a noted performer, which is itself followed by a brief biography. Teens needn’t be star-struck to enjoy this collection, as under the hubbub of the theater world are themes that deal with common teenage issues such as insecurity, jealousy, the fear of coming out and young love.
Definitely worthy of applause. (Anthology. 12 & up)