Authors: Lisa Fiedler
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the authors' imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously.
Copyright Â© 2015 Lisa Fiedler
Copyright Â© 2015 Anya Wallach
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in an information retrieval system in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, and recording, without prior written permission from the publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Fiedler, Lisa, author.
Showstopper / written by Lisa Fiedler and Anya Wallach.
pages cm. -- (Stagestruck; book 2)
Summary: “After the successful first performance by the Random Farm Kids' Theater troupe, founder and director twelve-year-old Anya Wallach turns her attention to their second show. But trouble rears its head when their barn venue is jeopardized. Is the second show doomed before they even start rehearsal?”--Provided by the publisher.
ISBN 978-1-58536-925-6 (hard cover) -- ISBN 978-1-58536-926-3 (paperback)
[1. Theater--Fiction. 2. Musicals--Fiction. 3. Friendship--Fiction. 4. Community life--Fiction.] I. Wallach, Anya, author. II. Title.
ISBN 978-1-58536-925-6 (case)
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Cover design by Jeanine Henderson
Printed in the United States.
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To Dolores Fiedler, who always listens
For my sister, Susan
Doing something for the first time is in many ways easier than being able to follow up a success with a second act. When you accomplish something you've never done beforeâwhether it's composing a song, learning a gymnastics pass, or making your school's basketball teamâthat first attempt you have trying to make it happen comes with the exhilaration of doing something new, and is filled with novelty and anticipation.
But then you want to continue the momentum. And that can be frustratingâand scary. Suddenly there are all these expectations. Can I do it again? How can I make it better? Will I have the stamina and patience to overcome obstacles?
In real life, the second Random Farms musical almost didn't happen (but I won't go into any more detail so as not
to spoil the book!). Figuring out how to make modifications and adapt when there are complications are skills I developed quickly during my adventures running Random Farms. In live theater, you never know what will happen when the curtain goes up! I've had mics go out before an actor's big song, a costume piece (Belle's hoopskirt during
Beauty and the Beast
, to be exact!) fall off during a waltz, and a six-year-old Snow White who refused to go onstage right before the opening number.
Looking back, I think I learned more from the crash-and-burns than when everything went according to plan. I suppose it's those bumps in the road that make life interesting, right?
Nowâon with the show . . .
The day after the first Random Farms production was one of the most amazing days of my life.
Austin, Susan, and I had decided to give ourselves a much-needed day of relaxation, so we packed up our towels and sunglasses and went to the town pool, where we met up with Becky and Kenzie and a handful of other kids from the cast.
I was in heaven. All afternoon people kept congratulating us and asking about joining Random Farms. That wasn't even close to the reason I'd started the theater, of course, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't kind of a cool perk.
I was proud of my cast and proud of myself. But a producer's work is never done, which meant it was time to start preparing for our second show. So after our lazy, relaxing Sunday, Austin and I arranged to meet up late
Monday afternoon at the coffee shop to plan.
I got there first, toting my laptop. I bought lemonade and a swirly iced cupcake, and picked a table. Three minutes later the bell on the door jangled, and Austin walked in. Thanks to our day at the pool, his nose and cheeks were a little bit sunburned.
I was surprised at how good Austin looked with that sunny glow. For some reason my heart sped up a bit.
He waved and went to the counter for an iced tea and a giant macadamia nut cookie. When he sat down, we got right to work.
“First things first,” I said. “Finances.”
Austin bit into the cookie and nodded. I opened my laptop and showed him the document my sister had titled
“So, according to Susan, we made a pretty decent profit.” I pointed to the number at the bottom of the screen. “Not bad, right? We'll be able to cover our piano-tuning debt and still have plenty left over.”
“Excellent,” said Austin. “Add that to the next session's dues and potential ticket sales revenue following the second show, and we're definitely in good shape.”
“Yes, we are,” I said. “Moving on . . . Membership.” I clicked a few times and showed him the two e-mails I'd received that
morning. “Unfortunately, Sam isn't going to be able to be in the second show. He's got a lot of baseball stuff going on for the next few weeks. His team is heading for the pennant race or something like that.”
Austin frowned. “That's kind of a bummer. Sam's a great kid. And a good actor.”
“I know. I was pretty sad when I got the e-mail. But I understand baseball means a lot to him too.” Then I indicated the last line of the e-mail.
“ âI'll def be back for the third show,' ” Austin read aloud.
This resulted in a shiver of excitement along my spine. “Third show!” I repeated. “Sam's counting on there being a
show. That's encouraging.”
Austin beamed. “Yeah, it is.”
My excitement subsided as I clicked on the second e-mail. “Unfortunately, Sam's not the only one who's bowing out.”
“Please say Sophia's decided to quit.”
“We should be so lucky!” I rolled my eyes. “But no, as far as I know, Sophia the Diva will be back for the second show. It's Mia and Eddie who won't be able to do it. Family vacation. They'll be gone for two weeks.”
bummer,” grumbled Austin. “A double whammy! What are we gonna do without Mia's vocal talent and Eddie's comedic timing?”
“We'll just have to work around it,” I said with more confidence than I actually felt. “And remember, a lot of our cast has improved a ton since we started.”
“That's very true.”
“And don't forget the new recruits. Those three kids we met at the pool yesterdayâNora, Brady, and Joeyâthey've got great potential. And Susan's been fielding tweets and texts all morning from kids wanting to sign up.”
“So . . . you're saying our cast might actually increase?” Austin looked thoughtful. “That's going to be a huge factor in deciding on the next show. We're going to need something with lots of roles.”
It was on the tip of my tongue to ask him if he thought he might be able to finish his big musical (the work in progress that had given me the idea to start the theater in the first place) in time to start rehearsing it a week from now. But after the theme song disaster, I'd learned my lesson about messing with a writer's creative flow. So instead I said: “