Lulu the Broadway Mouse: The Show Must Go On by Jenna Gavigan

Hello, Jenna Gavigan! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Erwin Madrid's cover illustration and Frances J. Soo Ping Chow's cover design for Lulu the Broadway Mouse: The Show Must Go On.  

Jenna Gavigan: Thank you, Mr. Schu! I absolutely love both of Lulu’s covers. They’re certainly different from each other, especially as far as color schemes are concerned, but they both capture the excitement and timeless beauty of Broadway and The Shubert Theatre. The interior artwork on both books is equally stunning, so buy the books, dear reader, and enjoy the beautiful interior art!

What inspired you to tell Lulu’s story?

Jenna: The idea of a mouse who dreams of performing on Broadway has been dancing around my brain since I performed at the Shubert (in Gypsy from 2003-2004). We would see mice from time to time (because it’s an old New York City building!) and they seemed to have such big personalities. You’d half expect one to stop, put a hand on its hip and say, “Your pirouettes could use some work.” I was living my dream at the Shubert, maybe those mice had big dreams too!

During my final semester at Columbia (which happened right before my twenty-eighth birthday—it’s a long story, which includes living and working in Los Angeles for six years), I took a children’s book writing class. I wrote Lulu as a picture book and it was fine… It was boring. It lacked Lulu-esque sass. But it was a start.

I finally sat down to write Lulu as a middle-grade novel in the late spring of 2016. I had just finished an off-Broadway run in a really wonderful play, and I was sad it was over. So, I wrote Lulu so I could be in the theatre in my mind. Almost exactly a year to the day after starting to write it, Running Press Kids acquired Lulu, and a little over a year after that she was in stores.

If you opened up the Spotify app on my phone, you would discover I have been listening to the cast recordings of Hadestown, The Prom, Waitress, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on repeat for weeks. What have you and Lulu been listening to on repeat?

Jenna: I have yet to see or listen to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, but I absolutely love the other three shows you mentioned! I was lucky enough to see all three on Broadway. I’ve actually seen Hadestown three times! 

John Schu: I have seen Hadestown twice. I'm ready to see it for a third time. Actually, I am listening to the cast recording while scheduling this blog post. 

Jenna: I am almost always listening to musicals, or classics by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday… I love listening to actual records. Some of my favorite original Broadway cast recordings are: Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Light in the Piazza & Into the Woods. Oh, and Les Miserables, The Producers, Hamilton… Also, Gypsy, of course. Theatre world-wise, I’m obsessed with Ilana Levine’s Little Known Facts podcast. It’s joyful and inspiring. There’s an episode that features the young actresses from the Broadway production of The Ferryman, that I think aspiring performers would enjoy.

Please finish these sentence starters:

Lulu and Jayne are characters named after people I love, and are inspired by bits of my own personality and emotions as a child. 

The Shubert Theatre is my favorite building in New York City.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me… What’s the best thing about being a children’s book author? And it’s a two-part answer: Being able to work while wearing my glasses and comfy clothes, and visiting readers at school! I absolutely love school visits. (Hint, hint. Wink, wink.)

Look for Lulu the Broadway Mouse: The Show Must Go On March 31, 2020.  

Lulu's show has just received its closing notice. Lulu and the rest of the company are devastated. Lulu takes readers back in time to just after she made her onstage debut and of Lulu and Jayne rising in popularity and esteem. However, there is one critic who is determined to break Lulu's career. With additional casting drama happening with Jayne, Amanda, and new girl Olivia, the news about the show closing comes as a real blow to everyone. When Benji, Lulu's brother, comes up with an idea on how to boost ticket sales, the company members hit the streets, desperate to save the show from closing. But will Lulu and Stella be able to stop the nasty critic from completely ruining Lulu's dreams and those of the rest of the cast?


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