Drama Pan by Joe Cosentino

A big welcome to Joe Cosentino as part of his release of Drama Pan.

Drama Pan
by Joe Cosentino

Broadway musicals have always been my passion. I recall singing and dancing to Broadway show albums as a kid, acting out all the roles in my favorites like Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, Gypsy, Mame, My Fair Lady, and South Pacific. My wish came true as an actor when I got to play opposite Nathan Lane in a production of Roar of the Greasepaint and a clown in an Off-Broadway musical called Circus. It was thrilling to sit in the audience of a Broadway theatre and see every hit musical over the last few decades, including sitting next to Jerry Herman at the opening of his La Cage Aux Folles. As a college theatre professor, it tickled my fancy to direct musicals like Hair, A Night in the Ukraine, and Me and My Girl. So it was no wonder that some of my Nicky and Noah mystery novels featured the adorable gay couple and their pals “putting on a musical” in their Treemeadow College theatre. In Drama Detective it was a wacky musical version of Sherlock Holmes entitled, Is Holmes a Homo? In Drama Faerie the crew performed a hysterical musical rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring an ass who was a great Bottom. Call Me Carol! was the title of the madcap musical based on Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol in Nicky and Noah’s latest adventure, Drama Christmas.

Perhaps my favorite musical of all times is Mary Martin’s version of Peter Pan based on the original J.M. Barre play. Every Christmas my family I and would be riveted to our television screen to watch again and again the timeless classic about the boy who wouldn’t grow up. So after writing eleven popular Nicky and Noah cozy comedy mystery MM novels, it’s not a surprise that the twelfth novel in the series, Drama Pan, centers around the group producing their uproarious musical adaptation of Peter Pan called Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Hunky and hilarious Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Play Directing, does double duty as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. Nicky’s loving and loyal husband Noah gets the title role of Peter Pan. Their witty and wild best friends Martin Anderson, Theatre Department Chair, and his husband Ruben camp it up as a tiger of a Tiger Lily and swarmy Smee the pirate respectively. Nicky and Noah’s stagestruck son Taavi tries to steal the show as Michael Darling, and Martin and Ruben’s cocky son holds his own as John Darling. Martin’s sassy secretary Shayla (Try saying that three times fast near a whistle) plays Mrs. Darling, and Nicky’s longsuffering detective Manuello hits the ground as Nana and the Crocodile.

Nicky has his hook full as technical dress rehearsals for the show get off to a start more rocky than Captain Hook’s boat. Taavi and Ty fall unrequitedly in love with the same person. Graduate assistant and technical director Jax Jun insists the play violates his “religious freedom.” Santino Thirio, senior theatre major and stage manager, pumps his muscles while pumping others to invest in his dream to become a producer. Twink Tripp Taleb, the sophomore theatre major playing Tinker Bell, has his fairy dust aimed at Santino. Oscar Romero, tall and brawny sophomore theatre major with the loud singing voice playing the Merman, has his fins in the water over Tripp. All of the actors are exasperated over the avant-garde technical aspects of the show, none more than Tiara Moore, junior theatre major playing Wendy.

Enter the belligerent Couture family of avant-garde technical designers as guest artists. In no time the Coutures are hung out to dry by a mass murderer. For the twelfth time our thick as thieves thespians (Try saying that three times fast while eating peanut butter) Nicky and Noah use their drama skills, including playing outrageous characters, to catch the killer before they get thrown to the crocodiles.

For those of you who haven’t yet ventured to the land of Nicky and Noah (and you should!), it’s a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning (as Nicky would say) “faster than a call boy at a Republican convention.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective, Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with his husband Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s brother Tony, and Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi are also in the cast. Of course dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. In Drama Castle, Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Adding to the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the mote, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. In Drama Dance, during rehearsals of The Nutcracker ballet at Treemeadow, muscular dance students and faculty cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Nicky and Noah end up in the Christmas pudding. In Drama Faerie, Nicky and friends are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Treemeadow’s new Globe Theatre. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. In Drama Runway Nicky directs a runway show for the Fashion Department. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before Nicky and Noah end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer. In Drama Christmas Nicky, Noah, and crew don their gay apparel in a musical version of Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol, entitled Call Me Carol! More than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, our favorite thespians use their drama skills to catch the killer and make the yuletide gay before their Christmas balls get cracked.

As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, I know first-hand the hysterically funny antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them!

I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with an ending that will shock you more than a priest passing on an altar boy in the confessional.

I’m more excited than an evangelical judge taking away LGBT rights to share this twelfth novel in the series with you. So take your seats and throw the fairy dust. The stage lights are coming up in Never Land on a lad who won’t grow up without Viagra, a pirate with a huge hook, a twink called Tink, a Lily who’s a tiger, a Merman perplexed at what’s between his legs, and murder!

And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line. I’ll share it with Nicky and Noah!

DRAMA PAN (the 12th Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

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It’s spring break at Treemeadow College, and Theatre professors and spouses Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, their best friends Martin and Ruben, and their sons Taavi and Ty are sprinkling on the fairy dust in an original musical extravaganza of Peter Pan entitled Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Pirates shout more than “Yo, ho!” when a family of visiting technical designers, the Coutures, drop like yesterday’s fashions. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get the hook. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining twelfth novel in this delightful series. So take your seats and believe in fairies. The stage lights are coming up in Never Land on a lad who won’t grow up without Viagra, a pirate with quite the hook, a twink called Tink, a Lily who’s a tiger, a Merman surprised at what’s between his legs, and murder!

Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his plot-lines will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine

“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…
Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews

“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews

“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing – and laughing – until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” Edge Media Network

“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance

“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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Excerpt of Drama Pan, the 12th Nicky and Noah mystery novel, by Joe Cosentino:

I felt a warm, soft, comforting arm around my shoulders. Though I was contemplating jumping off the white steeple of our local Open and Affirming church, I couldn’t resist smiling at my husband’s handsome face so full of love. “The captain always steers the ship out of turbulent waters, Nicky.”

“Tell that to the captain of the Titanic who by the way had nothing over me.”

My husband Noah, my Watson, though thirty-seven (seven years younger than me, but who’s counting) appeared as the spirit of youth in his Peter Pan moss tunic. Glancing down at Noah’s matching tights gave my little Nicky (or not so little Nicky) a stir. “Nicky, we’ve had worse tech dress rehearsals than this.”

“What could be worse?”

“Nobody’s been killed.” Noah adjusted the triangular cap over his blond curly locks, and the scent of strawberry shampoo enveloped me.

“True, but the run-through just began, and I already have five pages of notes.”

“Only five?” Noah’s crystal blue eyes sparkled. “By the way, you look delectably darling in your Mr. Darling tuxedo.”

“And you are the most fetching Peter I know.”

He patted my growing bulge. “I’ll take second place.”

“Don’t take it too hard.” No pun intended.

We shared a delicious kiss.

“Can you two get a room?”

Thanks to my younger (but who’s counting) brother Tony, Noah was in an Abbondanza sandwich. Since Tony has my dark hair, Roman nose, emerald eyes, and Abbondanza abundance, I felt as if looking into a mirror—connected to a time tunnel.
Noah gave Tony a hug. “Have I told you how much I love your choreography in this show?”

“Only three times—tonight.”

Noah grinned. “I’m glad you’re visiting with us, Tony.”

“Me too.” Tony scratched his long sideburns (another Abbondanza trait). “I don’t think I could have gotten through this without you two guys and Taavi.”

“We’re you’re family.”

I reached over Noah and placed my hand on Tony’s shoulder. “Thank you for choreographing.” I added quickly, “But I have a number of notes for you.”

Tony groaned. “Of course you do.” Then noticing our son in the row behind us, Tony mussed Taavi’s dark locks. “How’s my nephew, the star of plays and movies?”

Taavi cocked his head. “You forgot the ballet and the modeling show.”

Noah, Tony, and I said in unison, “He’s an Abbondanza.”

Taavi leaned toward me. “Pop, can I talk to you?”

“No, you can’t get billing over the title, or a solo in the show as Michael.”

Taavi turned to Noah. “Dad, can’t I even get an autograph station at the stage door?”

“Your Pop said no.”

Taavi sighed. “My fans on social media will be disappointed.”

“Leave them wanting more,” Tony said.

Taavi offered my brother a theatrical smile. “Uncle Tony, it’s so cool when you visit. I wish you could live with us all the time.”

Catching on to Taavi’s manipulation, Tony replied, “I can’t get anything for you from your pop.” Then he rose, his muscles filling his white T-shirt and black jeans. “Except dance notes.”

Taavi offered him the hang loose sign from Taavi’s native Hawaii.

Tony said, “Speaking of choreography, since we’re on a technical break, (or breakdown) I can use the time to run the dances with the pirates and the Lost Boys.”

I glanced at Taavi. “Meaning my students in the ensemble who would each burn their dormmate at the stake to play the role of Michael. So stop complaining.”

“Listen to your pop.” My younger brother sighed. “I’ve had to do it all my life.”

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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