BWW Exclusive: John Robert Allman and Peter Emmerich Give Sneak Peek of New Book, A IS FOR AUDRA
Coming on November 12, Penguin Random House will release A Is For Audra: Broadway's Leading Ladies from A to Z - the new children's picture book written by John Robert Allman and illustrated by Peter Emmerich.
Step into the spotlight and celebrate a cavalcade of Broadway's legendary leading ladies. Start with "A" for six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, then sing and dance your way through the alphabet with beloved entertainers like Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, and Liza Minnelli!
With their signature voices and iconic roles, these talented women have created some of the greatest moments in musical theater history. Broadway fans and theater lovers everywhere will give a standing ovation to this one-of-a-kind tribute full of toe-tapping rhymes, with illustrations as bright and beautiful as the shining lights on any marquee.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
JRA: It actually started as a tongue-in-cheek way to educate adult friends about Broadway divas. Later, at a baby shower, I realized how perfect a gift it'd make for theatre lovers' friends' kids and how wonderful a celebration of these women could be for fans of all ages.
Were any of the letters particularly difficult to decide on?
JRA: No one letter was trickier than solving the puzzle of the alphabet as a whole. I tried to find creative ways to work in as many leading ladies as possible, so even though there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, we were ultimately able to squeeze nearly 70 divas into the book!
How did you go about deciding on which if the actress's characters you would illustrate?
PE: I had the privilege of following John's clever text which dictated the women I should illustrate. Suggestions were made to me as to which shows we should consider depicting them in and then my extensive research began. I worked very hard to illustrate everyone with the utmost respect and detail to showcase the actresses in the best way possible.
Did you find any of the leading ladies particularly difficult/easy to capture?
PE: A bit more work went into some ladies to find the most flattering expressions. Some poses and costumes that are iconic were a bit more challenging, such as Patti LuPone in Evita or Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and all of the 'Dollys'. Likenesses and costumes like that had to be given more care because they are so well known, and I wanted to do them justice.
If you could choose one of the leading ladies featured in your book as your favorite, who is it and why?
PE: My favorite images in the book would have to be a tie between A is for Audra and P is for Patti. I had something particular that I wanted to capture in these images and I was very satisfied when they were done. As far as my favorite leading lady? All of them of course! Who could possibly choose?!
JRA: I could never choose a single favorite, but without spoiling anything, I will say that the few spreads we worked multiple ladies into are among my favorites. There are some fun combinations of women who were never actually onstage together, but that Peter has brought together beautifully in his illustrations and, to me, those are especially magical.
Are there any plans to continue the series with leading men?
JRA: I don't know how we'd ever decide between "A is for Alfred [Drake]" and "A is for Alan [Cumming]," but let me know and I'll write it.
For more information, or to purchase the book, visit http://rhcbooks.com/books/576506/a-is-for-audra:-broadway.
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