Roberta Pereira ‘03 is the co-founder and managing editor of Dress Circle Publishing, whose mission is to provide its readers with a peek behind the curtain through theater-themed books. The company publishes fiction and nonfiction, which attracts a varied audience, and especially theater-lovers everywhere.
Dress Circle Publishing has just published The Untold Stories of Broadway, Volume 1, by musical theater historian and producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper, which records the stories of eight Broadway theaters and productions that have played there, as told by producers, actors, directors, writers, musicians, and the various other artists and workers involved. Pereira edited the book and says that even during the first read of the work she knew she had found something unique.
Pereira recently talked to us about her work and her Wesleyan experience.
How did Dress Circle Publishing come about?
I have always been an avid reader and a passionate theater lover. In fact, I am also a theater producer (with Bisno Productions) and have worked on shows such as Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, starring Tyne Daly and now playing on Broadway. One evening, I was having a post-show cocktail at Sardi’s with my friend and fellow producer Brisa Trinchero, and we were bemoaning the fact that there was a lack of great theater-themed books. As two enterprising women, we immediately wanted to do something about that, and thus Dress Circle Publishing was born.
Did you always have an interest in theater?
Yes! When I was six years old I was obsessed with a show called The Butterfly Garden in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I grew up. I asked my parents to take me back to see it every weekend for six weeks in a row. My favorite part was that The Wind was played by a dancer on roller skates.
Did you have a lot of publishing experience before founding the company? Was it difficult getting funding?
I had worked at Scholastic before embarking on my theater career and had further experience editing articles, programs, blogs, etc. Since both my co-founder and I are experts at raising money for theater, getting funding wasn’t too difficult. Besides, it is much easier when people are excited about your idea and our funders agreed with us that theater-themed books was an untapped market.
Would you talk about some of the favorite books you’ve published?
I love our Broadway Trilogy by Ruby Preston. Showbiz and Staged are out already and she is working on the last book right now. Those books are fun because they are inspired by real-life Broadway people and events, but tell a very engaging story of Scarlett Savoy, an up-and-coming producer who works for the less than nice “King of Broadway.” It is The Devil Wears Prada in the world of theater.
Do you rely on submissions or do you sometimes commission projects?
We have an open submission policy (info at dresscircepublishing.com) and so far we have been lucky that all our books have come to us through that. We are big proponents of first-time authors so we been able to support a lot of fresh new voices.