Justine Larbalestier told me writing the last book her Magic of Reason trilogy nearly killed her. But it turned out great (I've read them all: they start with Magic or Madness, then Magic Lessons, then Magic's Child) and she's recovered enough to take the second ever Dramarama Musical Theater Interview, in which she reveals herself to have an inner Ella Fitzgerald, of a taste for tap dancing, and a fondness for fart jokes.
(She's also got one of the best blogs out there, and if you don't read it, you want to.)
The Dramarama Musical Theater Interview
questions by me, answers by Justine Larbalestier
1. You were in a play in high school, weren't you? Tell me all about it.
I was never in a school play. Nor did I want to be. I was one of the lucky few to escape the dread acting bug. I did write two plays when I was little though, but they were just so I could get into the Young Playwrights' Conference and muck around with like-minded writerly kids for a weekend.
2. Give me song lyric that makes you laugh. Preferably from a show, but I'll cut you some slack if whatever you quote is funny.
This is from the Gershwins' "Lorelei" which was one of the numbers in "Pardon My English". I love Ella Fitzgerald's rendition:
I'm treacherous, yeah-yeah
Oh, I just can't hold myself in check
I'm lecherous, yeah-yeah
I want to bite my initials on a sailor's neck
I'm also fond of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" from Kiss Me kate. Especially the Coriolanus bit. What can I say. Fart jokes make me laugh, too.
3. If you've seen a show on Broadway, what was your first one? Whom did you go with, who was the star, what did you think of it?
Never been. All my musicals knowledge comes from the movie musicals with which, I confess, I'm obsessed. My current favourite is Broadway Melody of 1940 with Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire. Best competitive tap dancing number of all time. Fabulous!
4. What's your showbiz fantasy?
I've never had a showbiz fantasy, unless fantasising about huge scads of option money for my books counts.
5. Which Broadway diva are you, deep inside? And why? Ethel Merman, Carol Burnett, Nell Carter, Kristin Chenoweth, Bernadette Peters, Julie Andrews, Bebe Neuwirth, Audra McDonald, Carol Channing, Mary Martin, Barbra Streisand? Or someone else?
This is going to sound blasphemous but I really hate the Broadway singing style. The whole even temperament thing is chalk down a blackboard to me. Shudder. Can't stand Ethel Merman or Mary Martin or any of that lot. Give me Sarah Vaughn or Ella Fitzgerald---now THAT'S singing!
6. Write me a nice little song lyric for the book you're promoting right now. Please.
Trilogies will hurt your brain,
Trilogies will cause you pain,
Trilogies give a writer nightmares
Yet answer many a reader's prayers
I see now why I write novels for a living . . .