Broadway dancer-turned-author Tim Federle has a broad resume: He’s written middle-grade and YA novels (Better Nate Than Ever, The Great American Whatever), pun-tastic cocktail books (Tequila Mockingbird, Gone With the Gin), and even the book for the Broadway adaptation of Tuck Everlasting.
Now, he’s channeling his theater background into another book: Life is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star, a self-help book told through the lens of Federle’s Broadway experiences.
Below, Federle explains what readers can expect from his latest release, and EW exclusively reveals Life is Like a Musical‘s cover in advance of its Oct. 3 publication.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you describe this book — and why did you want to write it?
TIM FEDERLE: Everything I know about life I learned from doing theater, so it’s kind of like “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” with jazz hands. It isn’t necessarily for people who spontaneously break into dance routines in the middle of the street. It’s for anyone who wants to find their own song, whatever that means to them.
What kind of stories can readers expect?
Chapter titles like “Imagine Your Hero in the Audience” and “Value Courage over Confidence.” It’s inspiring, harrowing tales that involve me dancing five feet away from Bernadette Peters. More broadly, it’s a collection of 50 wry, motivational essays that take place backstage and in dressing rooms and at the front lines and footlights of the crazy, humbling business of musicals. I’ve worn just about every hat in the theater, at times literally (yes, that was me sporting a bejeweled catfish on my head for The Little Mermaid). Right around my third career transition, I recognized how many hard-won showbiz lessons applied to all walks of my life.
How was writing this book different from writing YA and middle-grade fiction or cheeky cocktail books?
Ha! It all comes from the same twisted brain, but it’s super different. Writing for kids is all about filtering humor through a certain nostalgic naïveté. Writing cocktail recipe books is all about being paid to be mildly drunk for three months. This book was somewhere in the middle — revisiting cringe-inducing audition stories (hello, Cats!) and coming out to tell the tale on the other side.