Today’s guest post is by Beth Matthews, author of A Midsummer Night’s Fling.
Since my book A Midsummer Night’s Fling is about a pair of actors plying their trade I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my favorite stories that, like my book, use the theater as their setting.
One of my favorite character types in romance novels is the actor hero/heroine. I can never get enough of books that feature working actors, which is probably why I’m writing the Stage Kiss Series–a whole series of nothing but actor heroes/heroines! The first book A Midsummer Night’s Fling came out this summer, and tells the story of two reunited lovers trying to work out their issues amidst all the bedlam backstage at a theater company.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to find “actor books” set in the theater (most stories feature film actors), but the Jocelyn O’Roarke murder mystery series by Jane Dentinger does theater right. These are mysteries with a dash of romance, and the amateur sleuth is a take charge theater actress. The behind the scenes theater elements on this series are wonderful: putting on makeup, costume fittings, rehearsals, auditions. It’s all there, and it’s all so fun to read about.
Those are about the only fiction I’ve read with a theater actor as the lead that I really loved. But, fortunately, TV has tackled life upon the wicked stage a time or two. A few years ago the TV series Smash was on the air, and it was all about trying to produce a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. One of the things I loved about this show was the wide variety of characters it followed: actors, yes, but also directors, producers, writers. And a lot of the original music for the Marilyn and other fake musicals was really fantastic.
I have to say, though, probably my favorite theater story is Slings & Arrows, a hilarious Canadian TV show about a floundering classical theater festival; Shakespeare references, romance, and hilarity abound. The series is smart and really well done. The writers having been former theater actors themselves this show gets so much right and, again, the show features a wide variety of characters doing various things around the theater. It also has a TON of Shakespeare discussion, performance, and allusions. Me, being a former English major, just loved all of that.
So, what about you? Are any of you fans of live theater? Do you wish you could see more backstage stories like the ones described above?