Peggy Finds the Theater (Peggy Lane Theater Stories, Book 1) Hardcover – 1962 by Virginia Hughes (Author)
#1 Peggy Finds the Theater
As far back as she can remember, Peggy Lane - young, pretty, and talented - has wanted to become an actress. Ambitious but realistic, Peggy knows her name isn't going to be in lights immediately but finally persuades her cautious parents to let her spend a year in New York to try to gain a foothold in the fabled world of the theater.
Peggy's first big test is an audition at the New York Dramatic Academy, whose eccentric director will decide whether she shows sufficient promise to be accepted for professional training. Meanwhile, Peggy becomes friends with Randy Brewster, a young playwright, and Mal Seton, who will direct Randy's experimental play if and when they can find an off-Broadway theater in which to produce it. Peggy eagerly volunteers to help in their desperate search and, exploring the byways of the city for a forgotten theater, unwittingly stumbles into a mysterious and dangerous situation.
The launching of Peggy's career, her struggle to make her dreams become a reality, is a delightful and heartwarming story.
The Peggy Lane Theater Stories by Virginia Hughes
The Peggy Lane Theater Stories by Virginia Hughes were published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1962 to 1965 in the picture cover format. Virginia Hughes is a pseudonym for probably five different authors. The only known author is Geraldine Wallis, an actress who wrote volume 3, Peggy Goes Straw Hat. Geraldine Wallis is also known under the pseudonym Hope Campbell and contributed two Cherry Ames stories to the Cherry Ames Girls Annuals. All that is known about the other authors is that they were four men, all of whom Wallis met one time in a meeting in which they discussed the characters and plots for the series.
The origin of this series is rather unusual. In 1959, Simon and Schuster decided to enter the juvenile series market. A group of writers was used for the project, and those writers wrote the books for two series which were published by Simon and Schuster, the Sandy Steele Adventure Series and the Win Hadley Sports Series. The authors known to have been involved in this project include Jim Cox, Robert H. Leckie, John Stephen Doherty, John Ott, Jack Pearl, and Jack Zanger.John Ott's career began in theater as both an actor and a director. Ott's background in theater was a factor in the decision to create a third series as part of this project, the Peggy Lane Theater Stories. Several stories were written but were never published by Simon and Schuster. After a couple of years, the rights to the series were sold to Grosset and Dunlap, which did publish the series.
Peggy Lane is a teenage girl who moves to New York City in an attempt to break into the world of theater. Peggy faces a number of problems as she tries to succeed as an actress. While she does have some very fortunate breaks, she also has her share of setbacks. Peggy bears some similarity to Beverly Gray in that while is she considered very talented, she does make mistakes, some of them rather significant mistakes, and she does cry on occasion.
The books mainly focus on Peggy's struggles as she tries to succeed in the acting world, but each book does have a minor mystery for Peggy to solve or a conflict for her to resolve. In Peggy's London Debut, the focus is more on mystery but the backdrop is still the theater. The books have a hint of romance as Peggy has a number of admirers but not enough for the books to fit into the romance genre. This series is quite good, especially the early books which are richly descriptive, almost drawing a picture of what Peggy sees.
Most of the books can be acquired fairly easily through eBay. The last couple of titles are more scarce, but since few people collect this series, the prices are usually quite low when compared to the prices of scarce titles in other series. While a few complete sets have sold for around $120, it is possible to acquire the complete run of this series for well under $100.
Titles in the Peggy Lane Series:
1. Peggy Finds the Theater, 1962
2. Peggy Plays Off-Broadway, 1962
3. Peggy Goes Straw Hat, 1963
4. Peggy on the Road, 1963
5. Peggy Goes Hollywood, 1964
6. Peggy's London Debut, 1964
7. Peggy Plays Paris, 1965
8. Peggy's Roman Holiday, 1965