Attack of the Theater People
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In praising “the witty high school romp” How I Paid for College, the New York Times Book Review said, it “makes you hope there’s a lot more where this came from.” There is. In this hilarious sequel Attack of the Theater People, Edward Zanni and his merry crew of high school musical-comedy miscreants move to the magical wonderland that is Manhattan.
It is 1986, and aspiring actor Edward Zanni has been kicked out of drama school for being “too jazz hands for Juilliard.” Mortified, Edward heads out into the urban jungle of eighties New York City and finally lands a job as a “party motivator” who gets thirteen-year-olds to dance at bar mitzvahs and charms businesspeople as a “stealth guest” at corporate events. When he accidentally gets caught up in insider trading with a handsome stockbroker named Chad, only the help of his crew from How I Paid for College can rescue him from a stretch in Club Fed.
Laced with the inspired zaniness of classic American musical comedy, Attack of the Theater People matches the big hair of the eighties with an even bigger heart.
Seventy-seventh Street to capture the light, bulging like a well-fed belly. It also has columns. I can’t believe I know someone with columns. It’s like something out of Edith Wharton. But instead of our being greeted by an ancient family retainer, Ziba opens the door wearing a bikini top and a sarong, her bottle-shaped body anointed with oil. She looks like a character from a South Seas epic who wandered onto the set of a drawing room comedy. “Boyzzz,” she says, tickling under our chins with
toilet paper off the roll to wipe my forehead. “Are you calling on a pay phone?” Chad asks. “Uh…yeah,” I say. Imitating Sandra’s adenoidal whine, I add, “Please deposit twenty-five cents,” then tap on the receiver a couple of times. “Sorry about that,” I say. “So, what did you tell Dagmar?” “The truth. That you work for La Vie de la Fête Productions and I bought you a suit.” “How’d you explain that?” “I didn’t. My personal life is my business.” Let’s pause for a moment to consider this
eight times a week in the original production of Candide. Candide. Of course. As we slip into a pair of seats on the aisle, I pull Doug’s postcard out of my pocket. It’s not like I carry it around with me everywhere; it just so happens that Doug got home last night and I’m going out to Jersey City tonight. I look at the card. P.S. Have you read? Made me think of you. That must be it. Candide‘s a perfect book for a cruise—short, funny, and full of traveling. And I’d like to think I’m a
Thirty-six The audience gasps. I’m hanging thirty feet above the stage by the tips of my fingers. Okay, this is my worst nightmare. I try to gain more of a grip but there’s nothing to grab onto. The surface is Plexiglas. My hands are sweating. And I’ve got shoulder pads the size of car batteries. Saint Jude, I think, if you save me, I’ll do whatever you want, I promise. I’ll go to Mass every day. I’ll become a priest. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Just don’t
Willow hesitates, flicking a panicked peek at me, the Internationally Recognized Signal for “Line…?” Having been arrested a couple of times, I know the rest, but I can’t think of any way to communicate through expression or gesture that Chad has the right to an attorney. Flop sweat dews Willow’s forehead. She glances down the street to see if help is on the way, but traffic is backed up because we’re blocking a lane. She turns to Chad again. “Did I mention you have the right to remain silent?”