School Library Journal - Stagestruck: Curtain Up!
School Library Journal (May 2015)
Twelve-year-old Anya is a self-professed theater geek, but there isn’t much opportunity for middle schoolers in suburban Chappaqua to flex their drama muscles. So Anya decides to start her own theater in the neighborhood clubhouse. With the help of her little sister Susan and Austin, a cute and talented aspiring composer/playwright, the Random Farms Kids’ Theater (RFKT) is born. Anya learns about theater, as well as friendship, as she leads her all-kids cast and crew through auditions, rehearsals, and, finally, to opening night. This fun romp, based on a concept by Wallach, founder of the actual RFKT in 1995, is a modern day “let’s-put-on-a-show” story updated to include social media and texting. Although the plot is formulaic and the characters only broadly developed, the story is full of heart, making it appealing to High School Musical fans. The text is riddled with musical theater references, and aspiring actors will enjoy the theater tips and lingo, even if they sound unbelievably mature when delivered by middle schoolers. First in a series, this book ends with Anya and Austin planning their next show. VERDICT This realistic title is recommended for general purchase by public and school libraries, especially those with a thriving theater geek scene.