Below the bright lights of Broadway, there sits a long-forgotten architect's model of the great Sovereign Theater. In this secret space, a troupe of theater mice busily rehearse their own show, "Broadway Airs." Suddenly, the Sovereign is threatened by demolition, and Adelaide, the leading lady mouse, disappears. Will the little theater survive? And will the star return in time for opening night?
About the Author
Julie Andrews Edwards is one of the most recognized figures in the world of entertainment. She is perhaps best known for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and The Princess Diaries. Ms. Edwards is the author of many favorite children's books, including Mandy and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.
Read an Excerpt
The Great American Mousical
By Julie Edwards
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Julie Edwards
All right reserved.
If you could stand upon a faraway star and look down at planet Earth on a cloudless evening, you might just notice a glowing pool of light . . . and chances are, that glow would be New York City. If you could leap from your star and fly down, down, down into the heart of that great metropolis, you would land in the most twinkling, sparkling place of all -- Times Square. And, if you walked down any street in that area, you would be in the center of the theater district -- Broadway, a place where magic happens every single night, and sometimes twice in a day.
The theater where our story takes place was once very special and quite exquisite, which is why it was named the Sovereign. If you entered the lobby and passed through the swinging doors into the chandeliered auditorium, you would feel a sense of wonder at all that had been contained therein: the thrilling music and dances, the words that expressed a thousand ideas, the costumes that rustled, the glowing lights that shone on the evocative scenery. . . . You would understand that many lives had been touched here throughout the years.
If you walked down one of the carpeted aisles, out from under the gilt-edged balcony, past the tiers of red velvet seats and theboxed sections on either side of them, you would see the orchestra pit ahead of you, the square of the proscenium, and the gently curving apron of the stage. If by chance your eyes glanced to the right, and if you were really paying attention, you would spot a very small and carefully camouflaged door in the baseboard of the beaded wainscot.
On a night in late December, just after Christmas, when our tale begins, this little door was wide open. Leaning against the frame was a portly mouse dressed in corduroy knickerbockers, a faded waistcoat, and spotted bow tie. The little hair that remained on his head was long and wispy, but in spite of his shabby appearance there was a charisma about him -- a certain grandeur, a slight pomposity, but the whole somehow compelling attention. His name was Harold. Behind him, peering around his considerable frame, was another mouse, Pippin -- a youngster, clad in jeans, a faded T-shirt, and a baseball cap turned backward on his head. Around his neck was a thin piece of ribbon, to which was attached a small flashlight.
Harold was saying, "The last night. I hate last nights . . . 'parting is such sweet sorrow.' But this show had a good long run."
Pippin watched the dancing, tapping feet of the human performers, their shoes sparkling with sequins and bows, the chiffon skirts of the ladies swirling as their male partners twirled them around. The heads of the members of the orchestra were bobbing in rhythm, their shoulders leaning into the task of bringing the final song to a rousing finish. The music swelled, the voices onstage rose to a high note, and with a whoosh! the magnificent red velvet curtain swung down, the chains weighting its hem chinking and thudding on the stage, billowing and creating such a breeze that Pippin had to cling tightly to the back of Harold's trousers so as not to be blown away.
The applause from the audience was thunderous and, as he always did, Pippin thrilled to this moment -- the music; the lights; the dry, warm smell of dust and makeup and paint -- and he thought himself the luckiest mouse in the world to be a small part of it all.
"What happens now, Harold -- now that this show has closed?" he asked. "What's coming in next?"
Harold rubbed his chin. "It's odd, but I haven't heard," he replied. "I've seen so many come and go, and usually someone tells me what the next production will be -- "
He was interrupted as an anxious, bespectacled young mouse dressed in black work clothes came skidding to a halt beside him.
"We've been looking for you everywhere!" he gasped breathlessly. "Enoch says you have to come right away! Adelaide is at it again. Rehearsals are at a standstill, and you're the only one who can calm her down. . . ."
The mice quickly closed the little pass door tightly behind them and scurried down a long, sloping corridor.
"Sorry, Fritz!" Pippin whispered as they followed Harold's ample frame.
"Really, Pippin! As an intern you should know you can't just run off to the human theater anytime you feel like it. We open in just a few days! We need all paws on deck!"
They rounded a sharp corner and continued on down, into the bowels of the theater, past the basement and the sub-basement, with its steaming pipes and electrical wires, and down again into the cavernous crawlspaces of the ancient building's very foundation. Nestled there, almost hidden between two towering pillars and long forgotten, was an exquisite miniature replica of the Sovereign Theater as it once was.
The actual building above had suffered many changes and many colors of paint. Windows had been blocked or boarded up, and its plaster was crumbling, but this little architect's model was pristine in appearance, albeit a trifle dusty -- white, and resplendent with gilt trim, curlicued moldings, pillars, and balconies on its elegant facade. Beneath the classic line of the roof, carved cherubs smiled down to welcome all who entered. Large, colorful posters either side of the grand entrance read:
A Tribute to the Great American Mousical
One Performance Only -- New Year's Eve!
Harold, Pippin, and Fritz hurried through the stage door.
Enoch, the stage manager, was pacing impatiently by the entrance to the wardrobe department. "Where have you two been!" he exclaimed. "Of all the times to disappear . . ."
"Sorry, sorry," Harold puffed. "Couldn't resist a peek at the closing night upstairs. Furthering Pippin's education, you know. Now what's up, dear boy?"
Enoch gestured helplessly toward the dressing room area. A colossal argument could be heard emanating from behind the door marked with a gold star.
Excerpted from The Great American Mousical by Julie Edwards Copyright © 2006 by Julie Edwards. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just couldn't put this book down! The Great American Mousical is about a little theatre of mice and they are performing the musical of the century! Theres just one problem... the building is getting knocked down! As soon as the productions starts, the star of the sow gets captured and is taken far away from Broadway. Will Adelaide get back in time? Or will Wendy have to take her place? I recommend this book for any age. It is funny, heartwarming and it will make your heart leap with joy.
In a hidden room in the Sovereign theater in New York City is a model of that very theater in miniature! The mice that live in the theater use the model to have their own shows. Although the mini Sovereign is doing well, the human sized one is old, the paint is peeling and the walls are crumbling. What makes things worse is the human sized Sovereign is going to be DEMOLISHED, meaning that the mini Sovereign will be crushed too! If that isn’t bad enough, the star of the show is missing. The little troop of mice decide the show must go on! The story in this book is very cute. I like the idea of a mini theater hidden in the real-sized one. The mouse characters are really great. The sketchy illustrations throughout the book are very nice and add to the story. What is really nice about this book is that you get a nice story and it also teaches you about the theater. There is a glossary in the back of the book with theater terms and that helps a lot. The length and plot of the story makes it great for younger kids, but there are a lot of characters to keep straight (much like a real theater show) that may make it a bit confusing for some kids. I think it is a great book for any kid who is interested in plays or the theater. **NOTE I received this book as a gift from a friend.
You can feel the music and dances of the mice just like on TV!
As a theater goer...I loved this book!! its a children's book yes, i know, but i read it for a class of mine and adored it. there are referances to classic plays and shakespear. The story plot is adorable and you really can see NYC in the discriptions!