Tim Federle’s theater lesson from Boston

Tim Federle
Tim Federle

Librettist, author, screenwriter, former performer, and hilarious-person-on-Twitter Tim Federle offers universal life lessons in his new release, “Life Is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star.”

The book, which came out last week, includes chapters such as “Dance Like Everyone’s Watching,” “Don’t Review a Show On-Site,” and “Clap Loudest for the Understudies.”

Federle, who also wrote the Broadway-inspired children’s book “Better Nate Than Ever,” said his latest project was inevitable; he’d been collecting lessons from his theater work for years.


“The actual writing of the book came much faster than I expected, because I learned so much doing theater and had so many different types of jobs,” he said. “I always kept diaries and I always sort of journaled, especially through my high school years, which were so angsty. They would later become a kind of guidebook.”

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Federle co-wrote the libretto for “Tuck Everlasting,” coached child performers in “Billy Elliott,” and danced during the 2000 Super Bowl halftime show (the one with Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, and Enrique Iglesias).

But one of the most important lessons in the book comes straight out of Boston. It’s featured in the chapter “Remember: The Show Must Go On.”

“There was the first national tour of ‘Spamalot’ where I, as an offstage dance cover, got thrown onstage for our very first preview in Boston, because one of the regular dancers had fallen off a table and twisted his ankle on a break,” Federle explains in the book. “The show went on. (And I gave him hell for, like, a week.)”

Federle told the Globe, “Boston will forever be seared in my memory for that reason — and also for really good beer, which is another thing that dancers and writers share. We absolutely, at various times, love a good drink.”