Excerpt from Staged by Ruby Preston

stagedFrom the pages of Staged by Ruby Preston:

Scarlett rallied the Swan Song troops for an emergency meeting at the bar above Sardi’s restaurant. Her favorite theater hot spot always cheered her up. The hundreds of caricatures which lined the walls – portraying decades of showbiz glitterati – always gave her a healthy dose of rejuvenating perspective. She gazed out the window of the second floor bar in time to see the two Jeremys, Swan Song’s composer and lyricist darting past yellow cabs, toward Sardi’s front door below.

“Hey guys,” Scarlett said. “Thanks for meeting up on such short notice.”

“Anything for you, Madame Producer,” Jersey Jeremy said, with a mock bow as he sat down across from her.

“What can I get for everyone?” Lawrence said, arriving just in time.

His question was greeted with a chorus of “white” and he headed to the bar to secure their late afternoon libations.

The four of them had become a tight knit group in the past several months while working hard to bring the musical Swan Song to Broadway. In fact, their journey together had provided career breakthroughs for all of them. Swan Song’s off-Broadway success had given Scarlett and Lawrence the excuse they needed to open their own producing office. It had also made the Jeremys one of the hottest young musical theater writing teams in town.

“Cheers,” Lawrence said, when they all had a full glass in front of them. “To Team Swan Song. “Next stop Broadway!”

“So… about that…” began Scarlett, as three sets of eyes turned to look at her. “It seems we’ve hit a few snags. I’m having a hard time getting a theater. It seems that even though we have the funding and a great show, it’s not enough.”

“How can that not be enough?” Jersey Jeremy asked.

Lawrence explained, “We need a green light from one of the theater owners.”

“So you can have an awesome show, but if it doesn’t float the boat of some…” Buff Jeremy sounded disgusted as he searched for the right word “… real estate exec at one of those three companies, you’re just S.O.L.?”

Scarlett shrugged. Though the system was frustrating, she knew that so much of Broadway came down to dollars and cents, and this was just more of the same.

Before Scarlett could answer, more bad news walked in the door.

“Fancy meeting you two here,” Reilly said. It took a second for Scarlett to register Reilly’s appearance. Her ex was the absolute last person she wanted to see.

Her brief but intense relationship with the celebrity theater columnist, Reilly Mitchell, had imploded several weeks earlier. There had been an undeniable and thrilling attraction between Scarlett and Reilly from the second they had met. But things had gotten too complicated. In the end, a Broadway producer dating a Broadway gossip columnist turned out to be a recipe for disaster.

“Hi Scarlett,” Reilly said with his signature cocky charm. Though it didn’t quite ring true as their eyes met. She wondered what was going through his head. Was as awkward for him as it was for her, she wondered.

“Reilly, hi,” she said, trying to get her wits about her. “Good to see you. Still keeping the theater world on its toes?”

“You know me,” he said. They both registered the awkward choice of words. “If you’ll excuse me.”

With that, Reilly turned away without another glance and headed back across the room to his usual table.

“You OK, Gorgeous?” Lawrence said, wrapping a protective arm around Scarlett.

“I’m fine. It’s just weird. First time since the break up and all,” Scarlett said, finishing off her glass of wine in one gulp.

Scarlett couldn’t help stealing a quick glance toward Reilly’s table, wondering how she’d feel if she had to see him already wooing another girl. Scarlett’s eyes widened. His drinking companion had just arrived.

She grabbed Lawrence’s arm and whispered in his ear. “Look who that is with Reilly. It’s Bobby Stewart.”

“Ah, yes. Just the very theater owner we were talking about. In the flesh,” Lawrence said, with a glint in his eye. “Who knew he and Reilly were friends?”

In that moment, Scarlett realized there was, in fact, one more thing she could do to try to get her Broadway plans for Swan Song back on track. She hadn’t been willing to even consider it, but it was beginning to look like the only option. This wasn’t going to be pretty.

All Rights Reserved



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