Photo: Helen Tansey
Broadway Singer Louise Pitre’s Must-Read Books Lean to Memoirs
The Mamma Mia! star takes the Shelf Life quiz and fills us in on the best book she's read this year and the novel that broke her heart. / BY Shinan Govani / December 5th, 2023
Louise Pitre, also known as Canada’s first lady of musical theatre, edges back into the spotlight in December for the Canadian debut of the 12-time Tony-nominated musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. A Tony nominee in her own right – for her Broadway debut in the smash hit Mamma Mia! – she is a key part of the ensemble in this contemporary take on Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece, War and Peace.
It is no surprise that big emotions and audacious storytelling inform her reading life, too. Pitre recently took Zoomer’s Shelf Life quiz, and tells us all about what books she has her nose in when she is not out there singing up a storm!
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by American surgeon Atul Gawande. I have seen the long, dreadful end of a life, with endless treatments that basically rob you of any quality of life, with no hope of a cure. This book fights for a human and dignified end to one’s life. It changed my attitude towards medicine and palliative care.
What book can’t you wait to dive into?
Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman. I adored Alan Rickman!!!!!!!! The movie Truly, Madly, Deeply is one of my favourites! I saw him do Private Lives on Broadway and fell in love with him all over again. I look forward to his words about the business, with all of his knowledge, insight and dry wit!
What’s your favourite book of all time?
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This book absolutely shattered me. To this day, I cannot understand how in the world Sebold managed to balance a heavenly, tender, soulful narrative about a horrendous subject. It absolutely destroyed me.
What book completely changed your perspective?
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. I admit that during COVID I experienced a rather difficult time. I basically mourned my professional life. I had no idea what a toll it was taking on me until a friend suggested I read this book. The very first few paragraphs gave me hope and made me realize I was not alone! It also prompted me to seek a good psychotherapist, and my 16 weeks with him brought me back to my more positive, childish self.
If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would it be?
Roald Dahl. I still think about The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl, which I read while I was at university. His mind fascinates and frightens me. He is a rare breed of human who manages to keep the abandon and wonder of childhood while injecting wisdom, wry comedy and sarcasm. It would make for raucous conversation, I think.