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Review: Life is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star by Tim Federle

Hey all, Dani here.

Today I am pleased to present a slightly early review. This book is not one I had even heard of until I saw it while walking the show floor at BookExpo, and all I had to do was see the title and the author’s name to know that I had to get myself a copy.



From the author of the hit cocktail books Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the Gin comes a guide to getting ahead in life, love, and leadership-Broadway style! Before Tim Federle became a beloved author (his award-winning novels include Better Nate Than Ever, which Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda declared as “highly recommended” in the New York Times), Tim worked in the showbiz trenches as a Christina Aguilera back-up dancer, Radio City Polar bear, and card-carrying chorus boy on Broadway. Along the way, he discovered that the hard-earned lessons he was learning onstage could be applied to his life, too. Life is Like a Musical features 50 tips and anecdotes, with chapters such as “Let Someone Else Take a Bow,” “Dance Like Everyone\\’s Watching,” and “Save the Drama for the Stage.” This charming and clever guide will appeal to all ages and inspire readers to remember that they\\’re the stars of their own life story.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This was a lovely little sort-of self-help book. The only other book I’ve read from Tim Federle is Tequila Mockingbird, which is primarily a recipe book for literary cocktails (Recently I learned that he has another literary cocktail book called Gone with the Gin). Basically that was all I needed to know before I got in line for this book at BookExpo. And I have a signed copy, which is awesome.

Most of this book is advice I would expect. I was not a theater kid, but I spent a very large portion of my life in band, and I had/have several friends who are theater people, so I’m familiar with a number of shows and show tunes, etc.

What I didn’t expect, but enjoyed nevertheless, is that this book is really part guide book and part memoir. Federle fills the pages with little anecdotes from his life, from some of the theater productions of his youth, to his time on Broadway, and even after he left that career to start being a writer. These were the parts that inspired me, made me smile, or made me nod my head in agreement. It shows that the advice he gives is stuff he has learned from his life and career.

Each chapter is nice and short as well, only two or three pages, so this is perfect if you want something in small doses. Also, I feel like you can jump around this book as needed. I read it straight through though, and it was a quick read (only 146 pages long).

It is also pretty clear from the title and the summary that there are numerous references to theater productions, from “Oliver!” to “Gypsy” to “Cats” and even “Hamilton.” So theater geeks are going to enjoy this book–Oh, and Federle likes to name drop several actors and actresses and producers he has worked with over his career, but he does not do this in any sort of obnoxious way.

There is a lightness and a sort of humor to how everything in the book is presented. It doesn’t really get too in depth on the topics, which can sometimes make for an enjoyable read.

I liked this book, and I think the advice can be helpful, whether you are on an artistic career path or not.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. This book will be on shelves tomorrow, October 3rd.

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