Part Two of Theater Reads Tied to Smith Center Shows

As Southern Nevada moves forward with its initial reopening phase, community members still await the day they can gather again for live performances.

This at least provides more time for reading.

That’s why The Smith Center curated the latest list below of books that tie directly into performances that visit the center’s theaters.

These include gripping novels that inspired Broadway musicals, as well as works penned by a Tony Award winner and a former Beatle.

Until the curtain rises again at The Smith Center, enjoy the reads below as a literary connection to the stage.

For Passionate Escapism:

My Love, My Love – Rosa Guy

Readers of this renowned novel won’t feel surprise that it inspired the emotional Broadway musical Once on This Island, included in The Smith Center’s 2019/2020 season.
French author Guy took the storyline of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and elevated it with compelling themes of race, class and mythology. This book will offer surprises to all readers, even those who have seen the production, as it provides details not included in the sung-through musical.

To Get the Full, Personal Story:

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel

Five-time Tony winning musical Fun Home — part of The Smith Center’s 2016/2017 Broadway season — applied nuance, humor and an earnest approach to adapting this graphic memoir by celebrated cartoonist Alison Bechdel. While the musical delivered this complex story with poignant and infectious tunes, the graphic memoir itself allows for a deeper dive into the personal reflections of Bechdel — a true intellectual who offers witty and striking insights on every page.

While few might directly relate to all of Bechdel’s experiences, many can appreciate the overarching themes of grief, first love and a yearning to connect with family.

For Emotional Catharsis:

The Color Purple – Alice Walker

Many people might need an emotional release right now, and this book can certainly provide. Musical adaptations of this Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel have twice graced The Smith Center’s stage, the second time in a boldly stripped-down production that placed its focus on the powerful storyline.

Reading this novel will open fans’ eyes to the wisdom of that production’s approach. The novel’s characters endure grievous trials, coming through all of it stronger and more full of love. Readers might find themselves changed, as well.

To See Through a Pop Icon’s Eyes:

Another Day in the Life – Ringo Starr

Southern Nevadans enjoyed this music legend performing at The Smith Center with his All-Starr band in 2016, when he shared the stage with other rock idols such as Richard Page and Todd Rundgren. If this show made anyone curious about what daily life is like for one of history’s greatest pop icons, they can take a peek with Starr’s latest photo-driven book.

This book includes 500 photos from across Ringo’s life and entertainment career, including rare images from The Beatles’ archive. Starr shares corresponding memories with each of these, through amusing notes in the margins.

He prefers to portray his experiences through images, he says, “because if I were to write a memoir, there’d be five volumes before I got to The Beatles.”

To Share with the Kids:

Stella Is a Star – Bernadette Peters

Sizzling stage-and-screen star Bernadette Peters has built her glittering career performing in Broadway musicals — including recently starring in “Hello, Dolly!” — as well as costarring in hit films and television series. When Peters performed at The Smith Center in 2019, she belted and crooned her favorite tunes from across this decades-long career.

But in case that wasn’t enough, families can curl up with Peters’ star power at home.

Her children’s book chronicles an unpopular dog aspiring to become a ballerina. The characters stem from her love of animals, as Peters cofounded an animal charity with Mary Tyler Moore. Peters also authored this charming tale to introduce children to the arts, and help young generations find self-acceptance.

As a bonus for Peters’ fans, the book includes a CD of an original song she wrote and recorded.

Her children’s book chronicles an unpopular dog aspiring to become a ballerina. The characters stem from her love of animals, as Peters cofounded an animal charity with Mary Tyler Moore. Peters also authored this charming tale to introduce children to the arts, and help young generations find self-acceptance.

As a bonus for Peters’ fans, the book includes a CD of an original song she wrote and recorded.

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