Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Staged by Ruby Preston (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes back Ruby Preston, author of Staged!

Author Guest Post

From The Page to The Stage
By: Ruby Preston

Adapting a book to the big screen is never simple, usually because appeasing diehard fans of the novel is not an easy task. However, writing a musical based on a book can be even more challenging! As a Broadway producer and avid reader there are certain criteria that I have found to be true when making a book “Broadway ready.”

First of all, when looking for the right book to make into a musical, it should be an epic novel. Music makes everything more intense, so the action onstage seems bigger and more heightened, which is why the story should be able to handle the music. For example, take Les Miserables. Based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo, the 1985 musical has become a worldwide phenomenon (and just this past year an Oscar nominated film), that has helped Hugo’s story live on for centuries. Set amidst the French revolution, the epic tide of the story is propelled by sweeping, unforgettable songs.

Second, it should have a good love story. Literature has told some of the best love stories ever from Romeo and Juliet to Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Watching those love stories play out in front of our eyes, we get to swoon as our romantic heroes confess their feelings through beautiful show stopping ballads. 

However, there are great pieces of literature that don’t have a love story, in which case there needs to be an arc of self-discovery in the book. Nothing rallies an audience behind a character like watching their transformation, whether it's Huck Fin growing up in the musical Big River or Oliver Twist finding his real family in Oliver!.

And last, give the audience a little bit of spectacle! When an author’s vision is adapted to the stage and you can see a character’s amazing adventures come to life, the bigger the better! In Wicked, Mary Poppins, and Peter Pan the protagonists literally take flight across the stage. In Les Miserables the cast marches to war on a rotating turntable. And in Phantom of the Opera we descend the depths of the opera house into the Phantom’s shadowy lair aboard his gondola. All of these stage effects transport an audience the same way a book does, bringing our imagination to life before our very eyes, and giving us the thrill that only the theatre can!

About The Author

Author Ruby Preston is an award-winning Broadway producer who has helped to bring many musicals to the stage. Her first novel Showbiz, described as The Devil Wears Prada meets NBC’s Smash, received widespread praise. Now a promising talent in the literary as well as the theater world, Preston’s newest release is the second book in her Broadway Trilogy.

Staged by Ruby Preston ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Staged - Book Trailer

Book Review

Staged by Ruby Preston
Book 2: Broadway Trilogy
Publisher: Dress Circle Publishing
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback - 320 pages / Kindle - 447 KB
ISBN: 0985471832
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction


BUY THE TRILOGY: Broadway Trilogy
Book 1: Showbiz
Book 2: Staged
Book 3: ???


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Aspiring Broadway producer Scarlett Savoy has almost everything she needs to make her first musical a huge success- millions in financial backing, a talented (not to mention handsome) young director, and a big-name Hollywood starlet as her female lead. But with none of the theater owners in town willing to back a novice, she’s missing one final piece of the puzzle: a Broadway theater. Just when Scarlett thinks her show might never see the footlights of day, an unexpected meeting with the young, eligible son in the Stewart theatrical empire changes Scarlett’s Broadway prospects forever.

Staged is the much anticipated follow up to Ruby Preston’s juicy Broadway novel, Showbiz.

Book Excerpt:

Scarlett rallied the Swan Song troops for an emergency meeting at the bar above Sardi’s restaurant. Her favorite theater hot spot always cheered her up. The hundreds of caricatures which lined the walls - portraying decades of showbiz glitterati - always gave her a healthy dose of rejuvenating perspective. She gazed out the window of the second floor bar in time to see the two Jeremys, Swan Song's composer and lyricist darting past yellow cabs, toward Sardi’s front door below.

“Hey guys,” Scarlett said. “Thanks for meeting up on such short notice.”

“Anything for you, Madame Producer,” Jersey Jeremy said, with a mock bow as he sat down across from her.

“What can I get for everyone?” Lawrence said, arriving just in time.

His question was greeted with a chorus of “white” and he headed to the bar to secure their late afternoon libations.

The four of them had become a tight knit group in the past several months while working hard to bring the musical Swan Song to Broadway. In fact, their journey together had provided career breakthroughs for all of them. Swan Song's off-Broadway success had given Scarlett and Lawrence the excuse they needed to open their own producing office. It had also made the Jeremys one of the hottest young musical theater writing teams in town.

“Cheers,” Lawrence said, when they all had a full glass in front of them. “To Team Swan Song. “Next stop Broadway!”

“So... about that...” began Scarlett, as three sets of eyes turned to look at her. “It seems we’ve hit a few snags. I’m having a hard time getting a theater. It seems that even though we have the funding and a great show, it’s not enough.”

“How can that not be enough?” Jersey Jeremy asked.

Lawrence explained, “We need a green light from one of the theater owners.”

“So you can have an awesome show, but if it doesn’t float the boat of some...” Buff Jeremy sounded disgusted as he searched for the right word “... real estate exec at one of those three companies, you’re just S.O.L.?”

Scarlett shrugged. Though the system was frustrating, she knew that so much of Broadway came down to dollars and cents, and this was just more of the same.

Before Scarlett could answer, more bad news walked in the door.

“Fancy meeting you two here,” Reilly said. It took a second for Scarlett to register Reilly’s appearance. Her ex was the absolute last person she wanted to see.

Her brief but intense relationship with the celebrity theater columnist, Reilly Mitchell, had imploded several weeks earlier. There had been an undeniable and thrilling attraction between Scarlett and Reilly from the second they had met. But things had gotten too complicated. In the end, a Broadway producer dating a Broadway gossip columnist turned out to be a recipe for disaster.

“Hi Scarlett,” Reilly said with his signature cocky charm. Though it didn’t quite ring true as their eyes met. She wondered what was going through his head. Was as awkward for him as it was for her, she wondered. 

“Reilly, hi,” she said, trying to get her wits about her. “Good to see you. Still keeping the theater world on its toes?” 

“You know me,” he said. They both registered the awkward choice of words. “If you’ll excuse me.”

With that, Reilly turned away without another glance and headed back across the room to his usual table. 

“You OK, Gorgeous?” Lawrence said, wrapping a protective arm around Scarlett.

“I’m fine. It’s just weird. First time since the break up and all,” Scarlett said, finishing off her glass of wine in one gulp.

Scarlett couldn’t help stealing a quick glance toward Reilly’s table, wondering how she’d feel if she had to see him already wooing another girl. Scarlett’s eyes widened. His drinking companion had just arrived.

She grabbed Lawrence’s arm and whispered in his ear. “Look who that is with Reilly. It’s Bobby Stewart.” 

“Ah, yes. Just the very theater owner we were talking about. In the flesh,” Lawrence said, with a glint in his eye. “Who knew he and Reilly were friends?”

In that moment, Scarlett realized there was, in fact, one more thing she could do to try to get her Broadway plans for Swan Song back on track. She hadn’t been willing to even consider it, but it was beginning to look like the only option. This wasn’t going to be pretty.

All Rights Reserved

My Book Review:

Welcome back to the bright lights and lively musicals that is Broadway! When we last saw aspiring Broadway producer Scarlett Savoy in Showbiz, the first book of the Broadway Trilogy, she was spreading her wings and learning the ropes. Now in the second installment of the trilogy, Staged, Scarlett has wrangled funding for her pet project, a new musical called Swan Song. With the funding secured, a talented young director hired, and a Hollywood star for the female lead, all Scarlett needs to do to get the musical in production is a Broadway theater. And there lies the problem, because the theater owners aren't willing to take a chance on a novice producer, what's a tenacious girl to do? Why kick up her heels and attract the attention of the eligible son and heir apparent to the Stewart theatrical empire!

When I read Showbiz, I couldn't imagine author Ruby Preston being able to recapture the magic and mystique that is Broadway in another story. Well, I stand corrected, because Staged transports the reader back to the magical Great White Way in a seamless and entertaining style. Once again author Ruby Preston pulls out all the stops and sprinkles fairy dust on another fascinating tale of the inner workings of NY's famed musical theater industry.

Written in the third person narrative, the reader follows sassy and persistent Scarlett Savoy as she tries to get her first big musical, Swan Song in the big lights and on the stage of a famed Broadway theater. Even with the trials and tribulations that she endures along the way, there's no stopping this Broadway baby from getting her way! And if that isn't enough, the author mixes in a delicious romance to keep our hearts fluttering!

With an exciting cast of characters who are realistic, have flamboyant personalities and larger than life egos; humorous dialogues and interactions; and a masterful style of creating a storyline with chapters that are set as scenes, and plenty of show tunes spread throughout the story to keep you humming along, Staged pulls out all the stops and provides excitement and entertainment that is simply Broadway!

Author Ruby Preston stays true to the musical theater that is part of her real life profession. She provides the reader with a fascinating story rich in detail and vivid descriptions of the inner workings of the production of the musical theater industry with a touch of romance that keeps the reader engaged and wanting more! I look forward to seeing what the third book in the trilogy has in store for us! Bravo, Ruby!

RATING: 5 STARS ***** 


  1. Replies
    1. I can't wait for the 3rd book either! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.