Interview: Bravo’s Book Nook

David & Laura at Bravo’s Book Nook last month

We were very excited last month, when we heard that a new theater bookstore had opened up in New York City. Bravo’s Book Nook is based in the Off-Broadway Player’s Theatre in Greenwich Village. They carry books on theatre, music and dance, sheet music, plays, children’s books and books on Greenwich Village History. We are honored that they have decided to carry our book, “Mastering College Musical Theatre Audtions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher & Parent.”

Book shop owners Brenda Bell and Michael Sgouros started this venture as a compliment to their theater. The bookshop is nestled cozily into the theater’s small lobby, with deep burgundy walls and well lit floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

David and Laura hand delivered the first book order to Bravo’s Book Nook to get a chance to chat with Brenda and Michael and find out more about them and their shop.

CMT: You are both musical theatre writers as well as producers. What made you want to add “book shop owners” to that the list?

BBN: As theatermakers, the majority of our shows are based on classic literature, so it felt like a natural progression to have an intimate bookshop in the lobby of our theatre.

CMT: What made you decide to put the bookstore in the lobby of the Player’s Theatre?

BBN: The lobby of the Players Theatre was an under-utilized street-level space on one of the busiest streets in Greenwich Village. Opening a bookstore in the lobby offered us a way to connect with the local community and fill a void in the performing arts bookstore genre. Bookstore patrons can learn about the Off-Broadway shows offered at the theatre while theatre patrons have an opportunity to purchase books that enhance their experience. The Players Theatre also has an Off-Off- Broadway theatre and four rehearsal rooms. Now actors who are auditioning and taking classes with one of our resident schools have access to audition materials and books in the same building.

The Players Theatre has a residency program where self-producing artist are able to put their show on its feet.  We are proud to carry the scripts and music scores of these talented artists in Bravo’s Book Nook.

CMT: You write musicals for children and families. Can you tell us how you see these two things interconnect?

BBN: Literally Alive Family Theatre is in its 20th season and we have been producing family musicals at the Players Theatre since 2007.  All 12 of our original musicals are based on classic literature or folktales.  Our shows not only allow families with young children the ability to experience live theatre in an intimate, comfortable environment, but they also encourage the families to explore the original source material.  We feature hand-picked selections in Bravo’s Book Nook that extend their experience and promote further exploration.

CMT: You have said you hope to expand the store to include performances and readings. Can you tell us a little about these plans (and anything else you’re up to)?

BBN: Bravo’s Book Nook enjoys a unique situation; while our bookstore is petite, we have access to the Players Theatre 200-seat Off-Broadway Theatre which is adjacent to the store. We can offer large author events by expanding into our theatre space.  Our first author event will be March 10th at 7:00pm when we welcome the authors of “How to Raise a Reader” into our store for a conversation and book signing.

In keeping with the street-performer tradition of Greenwich Village, the Book Nook will be offering 5 minutes of fame performances on a regular basis.  Scheduled several times throughout the day, local performers will apply to perform material they are working on such as a song, monologue, poetry or anything artistic they’d like to submit.

Brenda Bell, Michael Sgouros, and Bravo 

CMT: The bookshop is named for someone very special to you both. Can you tell us a little bit about Bravo?

BBN: Bravo is really the heart of the Players Theatre and is definitely the hardest working dog Off-Broadway. He has the title of Guest Relations Manager at the Players Theatre, greeting everyone who enters the building with a wagging tail and charging them the toll of a belly rub to gain access to their rehearsal or audition. Bravo embodies the feeling we want customer to have when they enter the bookstore – warm, friendly and cozy.  Bravo will be holding story times this year and we are currently working on a Bravo the Theatre Dog picture book series.

CMT: What else would you like us to know about the shop?

BBN: In addition to new books on theatre, music, dance, Village history and children’s books, we are always looking for gently used books in those genres.  We are actively seeking authors and artist to participate in our events. They can go to: www.BravosBookNook.com for more information.

Bravo’s Book Nook is located at The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012. 212-475-1449. Store hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm.

Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 600+ songs by 180+ writers, all searchable by voice and song type. Annual, Monthly, 3-Day and institutional memberships are available.

We are proud to have our updated edition of “Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher, and Parent” available for purchase at Bravo’s Book Nook!

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