Friday, January 15, 2016

"Playing Juliet" - a bookwrap

Quotes from the play...

Bringing it up to the 21st century quotes...


Authored by Joanne Stewart Wetzel
Ages 8-12

About the book...

Beth, the main character in the story is 12 1/2 years old with an obsessive compassion for drama and theatre life.  To date she has had small, minor roles on stage but yearns to one day play Juliet to a grand audience.  She has been acting at the Oakfield Children's Theatre all her life and her plans are to move forward and become a famous actress although her parent's plans for her are quite different.   

She overhears a discussion one day that turns her world upside down.  She discovers the new owner is planning to sell off the 50-year-old theatre and bring in an adult troupe to replace the children who now use and perform regularly in the facility.  She is  heartbroken and takes it upon herself to revoke that decision and have the theatre remain where it rightfully belongs...with the kids.

She, together with her best friend Zandy and 14-year-old stage manager Austin, try to find a way to prevent this decision from happening.  In so doing Beth finds she will be excluded from the final performance when she is caught by her parents.  They are very displeased with her actions and they decide to ground her.  Her punishment is harsher because she decides to take all the blame on herself as she does not want to indict her friends in their daring actions and therefore she alone is doomed to face the punishment.

But is that the end of the story?  Will things right themselves and Beth get her dream to play Juliet?  Will the theatre close its doors forever to the children who want desperately to keep it alive and keep on performing? 

The book is full of theater history, the characters are real and appealing to that age group, mystery and intrigue engage the reader, great role models are included, diversified family units appear and a positive message that with a little faith and the help of your friends anything is possible.  It is a fun book to read and I highly recommend it.

About the author...

JoAnne Stewart Wetzel is a self-proclaimed theater geek, and she recently completed a twenty-year quest to see at least one production of every play written by Shakespeare. She is also a published author of two previous books for children, including a nonfiction theater book, Onstage/Backstage (Carolrhoda). Her picture book, The Christmas Box (Knopf), was named a Noteworthy Book for Children by Bank Street College of Education. She resides in Palo Alto, California.

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It's a wrap.
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