Jane Goldberg

Tapper | Historian | Comedian


Shoot Me While I’m Happy: About the book

Shoot Me While I'm Happy book coverThis is not a history of tap dancing. It is one determined woman’s highly personal account of falling in love with and living the tap life. One of the linchpins behind the Great Tap Revival of the 1970s and 80s, Jane Goldberg tracked down, studied with, and performed alongside some of the tap greats of the twentieth century. In the process, she came up with a genre all her own Rhythm & Schmooze.

A romantic, Goldberg thought tap dancing would provide the most direct route to finding a partner like Fred Astaire. It did not, she discovered quickly. What she did discover, however, were her happy feet. Those feet, combined with great tenacity and endless curiosity, led her to ferret out a generation of show biz hoofers who had involuntarily gone underground. Shoot Me While I’m Happy – the title comes from an old vaudeville expression – captures a wealth of memories both wacky and touching.

Print edition

Available for Purchase on Lulu.com

What people are saying

One of the people who had a tremendous impact (on tap) was Jane Goldberg. Sometimes I think she single-footedly brought tap back to the city . . . Jane Goldberg presents people actually showed up! And we in the community felt that someone was actually looking . . .

—The Late Gregory Hines

Jane Goldberg’s memoir is like one of her famous tap-dance performances. It is easy, breezy, fast-moving, exciting, funny. You will learn things about tap and Jane that you cannot get simply by watching her on-stage.

—Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University

Part memoir, part history, part anthology of absolutely indispensable interviews with the giants of tap, Jane Goldberg’s Shoot Me While I’m Happy accrued a nearly-legendary stature during its long gestation. Jane, an accomplished dancer in her own right, was a major figure in boosting the tap revival and she remains a living repository of much of its lore. Her unique book is funny, moving, candid, and always illuminating. It exceeds expectations–which were large.

—Gary Giddins, author of Natural Selection and Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams


Tap Dancing: A Love Story Reprised hosted by Liane Hansen

NPR’s Weekend Edition, November 30, 2008
Listen to the full interview on NPR’s website
See video of Jane and Liane talking and tapping

Tapperina’s tales by Marcia B. Siegel

The Boston Phoenix, August 13, 2009
Read the review on ThePhoenix.com

Dance Magazine Recommends by Valerie Gladstone

Dance Magazine, June 2009
Read the review (PDF)

Tapper’s Tale: She Had the Time-Step of Her Life by Claudia La Rocco

The New York Times, Arts section, January 4, 2009
Read the story on NYTimes.com

Tapped In by Mindy Aloff

NextBook.org, December 8, 2008
Read the interview on NextBook.org