Giving an Indomitable Ballerina Her Moment in the Spotlight
When, back in 2007, I began to research the life of ballerina Margit Wolf, not a single archive or database mentioned her. Today, she is the protagonist of a novel, e-book, audiobook and Broadway-scale musical, all titled You, Fascinating You.
Next year will mark fully a decade devoted to this epic, real-life story in which Wolf, seeking her fortune in 1920s Italy, inspired a timeless love song, only to fade from history without a trace.
Margit was born in 1910 and began her ballet training at the Hungarian State Opera at the age of four. In 1928, a young ballerina of only 17, she set off—along with three other dancers, including the legendary Karola Szalai—for Italy, where she was promised an audition at La Scala.
The audition never materialized and the young ballerinas found themselves dancing in music halls alongside popular artists touring as part of Italy’s then vibrant musical theater scene. Margit soon met the up-and-coming Neapolitan conductor/composer Pasquale Frustaci, who would become her husband and father of her one child.
While the couple scrambled for a toehold in the increasingly fascist-regulated entertainment industry, Europe seethed beneath the surface with old enmities. As Mussolini and Hitler spun a twisted alliance, Italy’s racial policies became increasingly severe until, in 1938, all foreign Jews were given six months to leave the country.
Twenty-two years would pass before the ballerina and her maestro again met face-to-face.
In adversity Margit Wolf’s innate heroism rose to the fore, demonstrating the lengths to which a woman will go to protect and honor those she loves. Her example has buoyed me through the long, and often trying, journey from inspiration to first draft, from paperback to e-book, from audition to audiobook, and page to stage. Watching people’s faces when they speak of You, Fascinating You and how Wolf’s indomitable spirit has touched their lives, I know the effort has been worth it.
To order the Audiobook: http://goo.gl/U7Td2P
To order the Print or e-Book: http://palefirepress.com/you-fascinating-you-book/
Intro to the Audiobook: https://youtu.be/mNaPoOVLUFE
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/bUh9lk16KGA
Audio Excerpt: https://youtu.be/MK7xlVs9jhA
Website of Germaine Shames: http://germainewrites.com
Facebook page of You, Fascinating You: https://www.facebook.com/YFYMusical/
by Germaine Shames
Publisher: Pale Fire Press
Release Date: 2012
Synopsis: "People who love do the impossible all the time"-Margit Wolf
Behind every great love song is an unforgettable woman.
In the final weeks of 1938, in the shadow of Kristallnacht and imminent war, a heartsick Italian maestro wrote a love song called “Tu Solamente Tu.”
Its lyrics lamented his forced separation from his wife, the Hungarian ballerina Margit Wolf, in the wake of Mussolini’s edict banishing foreign Jews from Italy. The song, first recorded by Vittorio de Sica in 1939, catapulted to the top of the Hit Parade and earned the composer the moniker the “Italian Cole Porter.” The German version, “Du Immer Wieder Du,” would be performed by Zarah Leander, the foremost film star of the German Reich, and its English counterpart, “You, Fascinating You,” by the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band.
Twenty-two years would pass before the maestro and his ballerina again met face-to-face.
You, Fascinating You begins as a backstage romance and ends as an epic triumph of the human spirit.
Here is an excerpt from the audiobook, You, Fascinating You:
About the Author:
Germaine Shames scours the globe in search of compelling stories. Shames is author of Between Two Deserts, two earlier nonfiction books, and three feature screenplays. A former foreign correspondent and contributor to Hemispheres, More, and National Geographic Traveler, she has lived and worked in such diverse locations as the Australian outback, Swiss Alps, interior of Bulgaria, coast of Colombia, Fiji Islands, and Gaza Strip. With You, Fascinating You the author returns to her roots in the performing arts to reveal a hidden story painstakingly researched across three countries over the course of five years. For more information, visit her website.