By Jessica Verdi
Theater is a huge part of Lucy’s world and saturates the book in every way (the chapter titles are song titles from musicals). Jessica discusses how she believes the musical theme ties the chapters together, and her own love affair with musical theater!
To say I love musical theater is an understatement. I blast show tunes at all hours of the day and night, singing along at the top of my lungs—my neighbors must hate me. The bulk of my pre-writing years were spent on stage (and in NYC audition rooms). I’d always been into music (I sang and danced and played the violin from a pretty young age), but the moment I joined my high school drama club, I don’t know, something just clicked for me. Musical theater isn’t just about singing and dancing. It’s about emotion. It’s about telling a story that’s so big, so real, that words alone can’t contain it. No matter if it’s a drama or a comedy, the songs, belted out by a thirty-person chorus or a single actor under a spotlight, bring it all to another level.
When I set out to write My Life After Now, I knew I didn’t want my main character, Lucy, to be just a walking statistic. Like, she has HIV so that’s all we need to know about her. No, she needed to be a real person, with a very full life. And I also wanted to make sure I balanced out the darker moments of the story with lightness and joy. What better way to do that than to submerge Lucy in the world of theater? Throughout the book, Lucy is on stage, at auditions, studying her script, listening to show tunes, quoting plays, and so much more. The chapter titles are all titles of songs from musicals (“What I Did for Love, “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” and so on) because I felt like if Lucy were describing the chapters in her life, well, that’s how she would do it.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!