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BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I

 Well, here we are at last.  The Summer Reading List has turned into Fall's "Back-To-School" Book Report and having the extra time allowed me to read even MORE books!

My name is Naomi Plume and I'm proud to join BroadwayWorld.com's editorial staff as their book reporter because I love to read and I love theatre, actors, singers and the performing arts.

I will be be filing semi-regularly, when groups of books get released that we feel might be of interest to you. Some may get the benefits of broad marketing and others not, which allows "us" to help you find them. We'll try to look at everything and anything in our world of entertainment and give you an idea of why you might want to pick it up … or not.

Books will get a "star" rating. 5 stars - being excellent, 4 - good, 3 - of some interest, 2 - not very interesting or not particularly well written or researched and, finally, 1 - don't bother.

Happy Reading!

BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I'til the fat girl sings
(From an Overweight Nobody to a Broadway Somebody – A Memoir)

by Sharon Wheatley
Adams Media
BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I four stars (out of 5)

This book kept a smile on my face from beginning to end. Even the faux PLAYBILL cover is clever. My only fear is that people won't be able to find it, as the publisher doesn't exactly know where to have it catalogued in bookstores. Therefore, I suggest you get it online, where you'll easily find it at your favorite online book source.

Sharon Wheatley, the author, has appeared in some of the most popular musicals of our time: Les Miserables, Cats and Avenue Q. Her story is a bit of a "coming of age" story, as an overweight youth who yearns to become a performer and work on Broadway. She tells her tale with humor and warmth and, I must say, it had me turning the pages quite quickly, often moved to tears.

Sharon tells her story in a very straightforward fashion, and not only finds success … but happiness. It's almost a fairy tale. The only thing she doesn't quite ever acknowledge is that, clearly, she always had the talent. It's a bit of Dorothy with the Ruby Red Slippers, who always had the power to get home.

The book is delightful and should be in every school library in America. With so many young girls attracted to musicals like WICKED, based on the well known book, this is a wonderful memoir and can be quite character building. Parents with daughters, who also find the lure of the theatre attractive, will also find it an interesting tale.

I don't want to give away her story … so read it and "pass it on" when your finished. And, if you're lucky, you might see Sharon, as she speaks to young people across the country – promoting this book.

BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BARBRA
by Tom Santopietro
Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin's Press
BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I one star (out of 5)

I honestly wish I could say I liked this book more than I did, as I am certainly a fan of Ms. Streisand and her career. The truth of the matter is that, after all the books that have been written (or assembled) to date, this one brings nothing new to the party.

It would appear that the only way we're going to find out, in any depth, the truth of Barbara Joan Streisand (birth name & spelling) is if Barbra writes it herself. Everything we've been reading, for years now, is always either "hearsay" or sketched together by "six degrees of separation." We also know that she rarely gives interviews, yet those in print, whether Playboy or the upcoming O Magazine (Oprah) interview, are always welcome and devoured by fans.

Mr. Santopietro's book is a bit on the "stingy" side, with smallish pictures and much career listing. It's also thin and costs $22.95! Nothing new here. Even more mystifying is that with his background as a theater manager and his training and education as a lawyer …. Why a book about STREISAND?

Sorry.

BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I FEMALE BRANDO: The Legend of Kim Stanley
by Jon Krampner
Backstage Books
BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I four and a half stars (out of 5)

Never heard of Kim Stanley? Get thee to a video store and try to get your hands on a 1958 film called The Goddess. I promise you … you will thank me. Anyone who is interested in acting should see this performance.

Kim Stanley is NOT to be confused with Kim Hunter of A Streetcar Named Desire. She is one of the most defining actors of the "method" and burst onto the scene in the stage production of William Inge's Bus Stop."

Although this book is not perfect, it is the first devoted to Ms. Stanley and a seriously delicious read. It makes you wish you saw her onstage as Masha in Chekhov's The Three Sisters and you feel danger everywhere. I was always grateful that Jessica Lange sought her out as an acting coach and brought her back to appear in the film Frances. You might even have seen her in a 1985 television production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof as Big Mama, for which she won an Emmy Award.

Kim Stanley died in 2001.

This book is a must for anyone interested in acting.

BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I TIME STEPS – My Musical Comedy Life
By Donna McKechnie (with Greg Lawrence)
Simon & Schuster
BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I four stars (out of 5)

Donna McKechnie is the REAL DEAL!

This book is NO fairy tale and she's a real-life Charity Hope Valentine, with her heart on her sleeve. She's a testament to "show business" and it's all as "normal" and "complex" as you could imagine.

The release of TIME STEPS and her story couldn't be better timed, with the revival of A CHORUS LINE just around the corner (or Shubert Alley!)

Everyone knows the Cassie part of her story and other story contributions she made to the musical A CHORUS LINE, via Michael Bennett's innovative original workshop, which yielded the successful show. But the rest of it … you couldn't make this up!

This is a GREAT read!

BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I without you: a memoir of love, loss, and the musical RENT
by Anthony Rapp
Simon & Schuster
BroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part IBroadwayWorld.com BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK REPORT Part I five stars (out of 5)

Anthony Rapp is a spectacular human being.

I LOVE this book!

And the reason I love it is because it wasn't at all what I was expecting. It's been out there for awhile now … but find it. You won't be sorry. It's that simple.

And what a testament to his Mom.  

 

 

See you next Friday for the BroadwayWorld.com "Back to School" Book Report - Part II where I'll be telling you about Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre by Jared Brown, Raising a Star by Nancy Carson, Ethel Merman: The Biggest Star on Broadway by Geoffrey Mark, Second Act Trouble by Steven Suskin, A Fine Romance: Hollywood/Broadway (The Magic. The Mayhem. The Musicals.) by Darcie Denkert, On the Line - The Story of A Chorus Line  by Robert Viagas, Baayork Lee, and Thommie Walsh and I Could Have Sung All Night: My Story by Marni Nixon.

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