The Wrong Side of the Room

A Life in Music Theater

Bronze medal winner of the Readers’ Favorite 2019 Book-Award Contest in the category of non-fiction—Music entertainment.

Norman Mathews was born in the wrong town, the wrong era, and with the wrong name. What’s a boy to do? He conjured up a more enticing, imaginary world to better navigate the perils of childhood. Dreams of a life in the theater and of passionate romance were stymied by lack of self-assurance. Psychological abuse by a priest led to absurdly comic psychotherapy over his sexuality.

At age 20, a failed suicide nearly shattered a promising future. From the ashes of this calamity rose a staggering resolve to build a meaningful life. Byzantine twists paved the way to a career as an editor, and eventually, a life as a Broadway dancer. As a performer, he worked with Barbra Streisand, Dorothy Lamour, and Gene Kelly. After an untimely injury, he reinvented himself as a pianist, composer, and playwright, for which he created award-winning works for top Broadway and concert-stage performers.

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