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Novel ‘Tender Thing’ Reminds Us Broadway Has Always Been Edgy – Variety



Assume traditional musicals are all corny frivolities? Author Emily Neuberger needs you to assume once more — and together with her new novel “A Tender Factor,” she units out to remind readers of simply how edgy Broadway musicals have at all times been.

Hearken to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast under:

“The musicals of the [Golden Age of Broadway] — just like the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, particularly, but additionally ‘West Aspect Story’ and Lerner and Loewe — they’ve this fame of being these very family-oriented, saccharine items of artwork,” Neuberger mentioned on “Stagecraft,” Selection‘s theater podcast. “I feel that’s a false impression made by the movie model of these musicals. I typically discover the true variations, the stage variations, have much more chew to them, and so they’re saying much more in regards to the social material, and so they had been taking loads of dangers.”

Set on Broadway within the 1950s, “A Tender Factor” follows the event of a fictional musical (additionally referred to as “A Tender Factor”) that pushes boundaries as a lot as “West Aspect Story” and “South Pacific” did of their day. On the most recent “Stagecraft,” Neuberger mentioned how her background as a performer helped her all through the writing means of her first novel.

“Performing in so many reveals places the pacing of a narrative in your physique another way than studying does,” she mentioned. “And I feel getting ready to put in writing a e-book, probably the most useful factor you are able to do is learn, however I feel being in all these musicals additionally helped me perceive pacing another way than a reader would possibly.”

The novel’s protagonist is Eleanor, a fresh-off-the-bus unknown who scores a lead position in a controversial new musical. Eleanor’s deepening friendship with the actor who performs her love curiosity is impressed by Neuberger’s personal expertise, the writer mentioned.

“One thing that I see quite a bit in theater, with individuals who play lovers … Once they’re offstage, they are often buddies in a means that you simply don’t essentially see in different professions,” she defined. “They’ve these actually intimate friendships by going by way of actually emotionally making an attempt issues on stage each evening collectively as companions, trusting one another, and taking these dangers and turning into weak collectively, after which on prime of it, by demonstrating romantic love collectively. They’ve this sturdy platonic friendship. … That’s impressed by friendships I’ve had in theater or seen in theater.”

With Broadway and theaters throughout the nation closed indefinitely as a result of coronavirus pandemic, “A Tender Factor” drops at simply the fitting time: If followers can’t go to the theater proper now, at the very least they will examine it.

New episodes of “Stagecraft” can be found each Tuesday. Obtain and subscribe to Stagecraft on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anyplace finer podcasts are allotted. Discover previous episodes right here and on Apple Podcasts.

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