Coming soon: Blowing the Horn: The Horn Book Musical!

April Fools'! Sad to say, there's no Horn Book musical in our future (YET 😉). But just imagine the possibilities for a showstopping tap-shoes-and-bow-ties dance number! Thanks as usual to resident prankster/punster Shoshana Flax.

Musicals are everywhere these days, and we’re thrilled to announce that the Horn Book is getting in on the fun. Blowing the Horn: The Horn Book Musical will premiere this fall at Boston’s Heins Theater. We’ve plumbed the Virtual History Exhibit, perused the bound volumes, and penned a musical spanning the publication’s colorful ninety-five-year history.

Controversies and kerfuffles — from criticism of Walt Disney to the time an SLJ editor threatened to hit a Horn Book editor over the head with a chair — provided much of our inspiration for Act I. “Anything you review, we review better” is among the musical's catchiest refrains. But the show does winkingly acknowledge an exception or two to that rule. A “Singin’ in the Rain”–esque solo, for instance, pans Charlotte’s Web:

What barn has such allure?
Fern lingers by manure!
It’s not recommended.
Signed, Anne Carroll Moore

Act II opens with “Love and Respect the Guide,” a brassy ballad that should appeal to fans of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” paying tribute to the reviews, in inestimable numbers, published by the Horn Book Guide since 1989.

“What Hath Harry Wrought? (Wizard Boy)” has a '90s rock-opera vibe (think “How we gonna pay...last year’s rent?”), and a modern-day scene set in the Horn Book’s current office space pays homage to Hamilton: “In the (Very Tiny) Room Where It Happens.”

But we think the real showstopper is "Blowing the Horn." Reminiscent of “Seventy-Six Trombones,” it opens the show with Bertha Mahony Miller's mission:

Blowing the horn for fine books for boys and girls.
Whoever you are, whatever you read,
We’re surrounded by shelves and shelves.
You should choose them for yourselves,
but we’ll share the wisdom you need...

The rousing reprise at the show's finale renews that mission and adds a call for more inclusivity in both publishing and reviewing.

Details about an open casting call will be posted soon.
Horn Book
Horn Book

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