All The World’s A Stage: Romance Novel Themes in Theater


By Lucy Parker, author of ACT LIKE IT

According to William Shakespeare, “Who ever lov’d that lov’d not at first sight?” And that sound you just heard was my West End starlet heroine from Act Like It almost dislocating her shoulder when her hand shot up. To the accompaniment of a derisive snort and cynical side-eye from her co-star hero.

Fall in love at first sight, they do not.

They would agree that “the course of true love never did run smooth”. The path to a HEA is never easy—on the page or on the stage.

Which got me to thinking about some of my favorite couples from theater, who actually represent many of the same tropes I love in romance novels.

Kathy and Don from Singin’ in the Rain

Love across the status divide. In historical romance, it’s the duke falling in love with the vicar’s daughter. In a contemporary, it’s an affair with the boss. In Singin’ in the Rain, it’s the fledgling actress capturing the heart of the famous film star. Lesson to be learned: nothing gets the hero’s attention like implying he has no talent and then hitting the Other Woman in the face with a cake.

Sandy and Danny from Grease

Ah, Young Adult love. Or: ah, twenty-somethings-masquerading-as-teenagers love. Remember those idyllic high school days when you hung out with your friends, did a bit of study, squeezed yourself into the tightest catsuit known to mankind to impress the popular bad boy? No?

Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing

Romeo and Juliet might be Shakespeare’s most iconic lovers, but for snappy banter and sparking chemistry, Beatrice and Benedick take center stage. They epitomize the enemies-to-lovers trope, moving from anger and hurt to becoming staunch allies, with one of the most unexpectedly romantic lines in theatre: “I do love nothing in the world so well as you: Is not that strange?”

Maria and Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music

It’s classic nanny/single father romance. With a little more singing and a lot more children than usual. But who doesn’t love a hero who’ll risk persecution to stand up for what he believes in, and a heroine who finds the courage to go after her heart’s desire? Plus, she can yodel and make clothes out of old curtains. That’s just handy.

Simba and Nala from The Lion King

Okay, so they’re not exactly human. But they’re also a stellar example of best friends-to-lovers. And as we all know from paranormal romance, true love comes in all forms—and sometimes it comes with claws.

Who are your favourite couples from musical theatre and drama?


ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker

This just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre’s Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham

Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city.

Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip.ÿFrom fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance.

Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?

Lucy Parker lives in gorgeous Central Otago, New Zealand. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and art galleries, and doodles unrecognizable flowers when she has writer’s block.



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