Curtain Up: Teen Books about Musicals

When regular words aren’t enough, it’s time to belt out your feelings in a song! I bet you "Cain’t Say No" to these "Popular" teen books about musical theatre. 

Mazie dreams of becoming a Broadway star, so at 18 she leaves her Nebraskan home for New York City. Unfortunately, the NYC casting directors hold a narrow-minded view of what a leading lady looks like. Should Mazie change herself into their image? Or should she embrace her look and risk getting passed over?

Randy has always enjoyed performing in the yearly musical at Camp Outland, a summer camp for queer teens. But this year, Randy decides to become more “masculine” in order to impress his camp crush Hudson. That means no more painted nails, no more colorful wardrobe and no auditioning for Bye Bye Birdie (even though he really wants to). Camp tackles the way toxic masculinity can seep into even the safest of queer havens.   

Got an upcoming audition? 21st Century Musical Theatre contains 50 vocal selections from contemporary musicals including Hamilton, Hairspray and Spring Awakening. Though there are separate editions for men and women, I think you should choose whichever version has the songs you want to sing regardless of its stated gender.

Lastly, if you’re interested in Chicago’s theatrical history, we’ve got a digital archive of theater memorabilia that includes over 2,000 playbills!

I hope these books leave you “Satisfied” after reading them “Some Enchanted Evening” at home “On the Street Where You Live!" What are some of your favorite musicals? "Sing out, Louise," in the comments below.