NEW YORK (AP) — It happened — as good ideas often do — over a round of cocktails.
Roberta Pereira and Brisa Trinchero, two rising Broadway producers, had just met and hit it off, bonding over their mutual love of the stage and books.
Over cosmos one night, Trinchero bemoaned the lack of fun, behind-the-scenes novels about their own industry.
"I was about to head out on a vacation and I was saying, 'Why isn't there "The Devil Wears Prada" for theater?'" she said.
A lightbulb went on over Pereira's head. "I was like, 'Why don't we do that?'" she recalled. "As a producer, I was like, 'Oh, it doesn't exist? We can make it happen.'"
And that's how Dress Circle Publishing was born. One of only a few book lines specifically dedicated to theater, it publishes fiction and nonfiction, often intriguing stories about what happens backstage and offstage.
"Our whole goal is to provide access behind the curtain," said Trinchero. "We're putting things out into the world that we would have wanted to have read from afar so you can feel like an insider even if you're not."
Dress Circle has put out a trilogy of novels about a young female Broadway producer, as well as collections of stories by Broadway insiders Seth Rudetsky and Jennifer Ashley Tepper.
Pereira edits the books and Trinchero handles the business side. While they won't reveal sale figures, the company is profitable and they say they decline more submissions than they approve. "We can afford to be picky," says Pereira.
Pereira, a Brazilian-born graduate of Yale School of Drama, recently became producing director at the off-Broadway theater company The Playwrights Realm.
She previously produced such work as the Tony-nominated play "Mothers and Sons" by Terrence McNally and the Olivier award-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" on the West End.
Trinchero, who grew up in Oregon and has an MBA from the University of Portland, has a string of Broadway hits, including "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," ''Pippin," ''The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" and "Peter and the Starcatcher."
They credit their Broadway connections — as well as strong business backgrounds — for allowing them to create their publishing company.
"We come from the inside. Broadway can be very insular and closed," Pereira says. "That's why we could crack it in this different way."
For their first book, the pair commissioned Ruby Preston to write "Showbiz," the fictional story of Scarlett Savoy, a Broadway producer. Pereira and Trinchero fed the writer plenty of their own behind-the-scenes stories.
"We found that the more specific and real and authentic we got with these books — really targeting theater fans everywhere — that we could really speak to them in ways that traditional publishers can't," says Trinchero.
Preston went on to write "Staged" and "Starstruck" — completing the trilogy — and a TV production company in Sweden is developing a series around it, featuring a young Swedish woman who comes to Broadway to produce.
While Dress Circle Publishing may still be a side business to Pereira and Trinchero — it has no main office or other full-time staff — it is a labor of love.
"On Broadway, we don't have a lot of control. It's this big Goliath that's moving," says Trinchero. "So this is a way for us to fuel our passion for theater and something we can do ourselves."