Born in the wrong town, the wrong era, and with the wrong name, Norman Mathews was forced to conjure a more enticing, if imaginary, the world to better navigate the perils of childhood. In this world, he didn’t suffer from a lack of self-assurance that dashed his dreams of romance and fame. He wasn’t psychologically abused by a priest nor did he endure ludicrously funny psychotherapy over his sexuality. And he didn’t attempt suicide, nearly shattering his promising future. But in the real world, he survived all of this and more, and in his autobiography details with stark honesty and humor how Mathews’ resolve to build a meaningful life led him to the life of his dreams. From the ashes of near-calamity rose the existence Norman Mathews always dreamed of. Beginning as a magazine editor and eventually becoming a Broadway and film dancer he worked with Barbra Streisand, Gene Kelly, Dorothy Lamour, and Michael Bennett. His star was on a consistent upward trajectory. But an injury cut short his career as a performer and forced him to seek creative fulfillment elsewhere. He reinvented himself as a pianist, composer, and playwright and as such created award-winning works for the concert stage, Tony-Award winners, and opera luminaries. This passionate and inspirational autobiography is steeped in dark humor, celebrity gossip, and backstage intrigue. It not only shines a light onto musical theater, but it also goes so far as to recount the grisly murder of a Broadway conductor, provides an inside look at the embezzlement of a famed Broadway producer, and details a never-reported rehearsal row involving a famous choreographer. Mathews brings his colorful Sicilian-American family, his triumphs and heartbreaks, and his mine-strewn path to love vividly to life. This riveting drama is a paean to all late-bloomers – proof that no matter how many wrong cards you are dealt, it’s possible, with hope and tenacity, to come up with a winning hand.