Welcome to Heartsville High, set in a world where everyone is gay–well, almost everyone! The big-man-on-campus is the chess champion, and the captain of the football team is made cool by being cast as the lead in the school musical. The students write a controversial show called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” about straight people in the military, which becomes the catalyst for a young man and woman to fall in love. Enter Zanna, a magical, musical fairy who, with a wave of his wand, brings true love to one and all!
“It’s a sentimental story, but very humane and, maybe even more important, executed with talent, warmth and polish.” – New York Times
TRW UK presents “Do You Know What It’s Like” from ZANNA DON’T!
It’s the beginning of the school year at Heartsville High, and Zanna, the school’s magical matchmaker, is as determined as ever to make sure everyone in town is happily paired up (“Who’s Got Extra Love?”). When heart-throb chess champ Mike Singer confesses he has a crush on the new quarterback in town, Steve Bookman, Zanna snaps into action and, before you know it, Mike and Steve are scurrying off hand in hand (“I Think We Got Love”).
Meanwhile, over at the diner, Roberta is enraged to learn that her girlfriend has been cheating on her, and vehemently puts an end to the relationship (“I Ain’t Got Time”). Zanna once again shifts into high gear, plotting to match Roberta with over-achiever, Kate Aspero. As luck would have it, Kate just happens to be holding auditions for the Girls’ Intramural Mechanical Bull-Riding Team that very afternoon. So with a little dose of Zanna’s magic, Roberta successfully bucks her way into Kate’s heart (“Ride ‘Em”). Exhausted but triumphant after a hard day’s work, Zanna retires for the evening, content that all is right once again in Heartsville (“Zanna’s Song”)… or is it?
The next day at Drama Club meeting, the kids decide to put on a musical that addresses the controversial issue of whether or not heterosexuals should be allowed in the military. The play within the play includes “Be a Man”, a musical number that explores Heartsville’s gay only military policy, and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” an overly dramatic plea for tolerance that is reprised as a poignant ballad in which Kate and Steve secretly start to realize that they—gasp!—have feelings for one another. Kate and Steve try to pretend like nothing has happened, though it is obvious that they are quite shaken up.
When Mike proposes moving in with Steve after graduation, Steve gently tries to avoid the issue by asking Mike if maybe they should slow down. Mike reassures Steve that the speed with which two people fall in is a sure sign they were meant for each other, a sentiment echoed by a trio of locals (“Fast”). Scared and confused, Steve rushes out of the I’m OK, You’re OK Corral, leaving Mike perplexed as to Steve’s unpredictable mood swings and behavior (“I Could Write Books”). And to add to the bewilderment, Zanna has the alarming revelation that he himself is also in love…with Steve! Both mystified and frustrated by the inattentiveness of their respective mates, Mike and Roberta playfully fantasize about how much easier life would be if they could be in love (“Don’t You Wish We Could Be in Love?”). Alone in their own worlds, Kate, Steve, and Zanna all join in the song, determined to find a way to bury their feelings.
At the State Chess Finals, it is obvious that Kate has been working extra hard to be the perfect girlfriend to Roberta, and Steve has even gone so far as proclaim he is going ask Mike to exchange varsity rings with him after the tournament. To help Mike win the match, Roberta leads the crowd in a raucous chess cheer (“Whatcha Got?”). In the celebratory frenzy of Mike’s victory, Kate and Steve unwittingly end up locked in a deep kiss. The town is thrown into chaos, while Mike, Steve, Kate, and Roberta are left utterly devastated (“Do You Know What It’s Like?”). Later that night, in an effort to prevent the ostracized Kate and Steve from running away from home, Zanna digs through an old book of magic and finds a spell which will make the world safe for heterosexuals. Even though he may lose his magical powers in the process, Zanna decides it is a risk worth taking (“Tis a Far, Far Better Thing I Do/Blow Winds”).
When the thunder and smoke from the spell clear, we see Kate and Steve once again locked in a kiss, but this time as King and Queen of the Prom. To celebrate, Tank, the DJ of the school’s student-run radio station, leads everyone in a spirited rendition of the prom theme song (“Straight to Heaven”). Zanna arrives and is shocked to learn that something has gone terribly wrong with the spell; not only has the entire town become heterosexual, but they remember nothing of the previous world. When Zanna tries to correct things, the students tease him for being so different, breaking his wand and ostracizing him.
Alone and magic-less, Zanna reflects on the way life used to be (“Someday You Might Love Me”). Unbeknownst to Zanna, the students quietly return to listen to his song, and proceed to apologize for their appalling behavior (“Straight to Heaven” Reprise). As they sing and dance into the distance, they ask Zanna to join them in a post-prom celebration, but Zanna gently declines, preferring to be alone. Just as Zanna is about to go home, Tank rushes in to declare his secret long-standing crush on Zanna (“Sometime, Do You Think We Could Fall in Love?”). It seems not everyone has forgotten the way things used to be, and perhaps love is stronger than magic after all.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by TIM ACITO Additional Book and Lyrics by ALEXANDER DINELARIS
Originally produced Off-Broadway by Jack M. Dalgleish in association with Stephanie A. Joel New York Premiere presented by Amas Musical Theatre: Rosetta LeNoire, Founder; Donna Trinkoff, Producing Director Orchestrations and Arrangements by Edward G. Robinson
5 female and 3 male roles
NOTE: all are seniors in high school, and should be cast as multi-culturally as possible.
ZANNA (tenor/baritone to high G): the heart and soul of Heartsville; a hip, fun-loving matchmaker, driven to make the world better, even if he doesn’t always fully think through his choices
STEVE (baritone to E-flat above middle C): the new guy in town; All-American high school football hunk, but self-effacing and shy; hoping desperately to fit in, his dreams will be alternately fulfilled and shattered.
KATE (belt to C, plus a few other higher notes mixed in): sweet, innocent over-achiever who, like Steve, is not quite prepared to have her world thrown upside-down.
MIKE (tenor/baritone to high G): all-around cool guy; captain of the chess team, which makes him king of the school, but with a humble appreciation of the simple joys in life, like finding that one special guy to settle down with.
ROBERTA (belt to high F): tough as nails on the outside, a hopeless romantic on the inside; perennial unlucky in relationships, she heroically, and comically, never gives up her pursuit of true love.
TANK (tenor/baritone to high G): Zanna’s sidekick, and the school DJ; somewhere between nerdy and ultra-cool, he’s also hopelessly in love with Zanna; doubles as a DINER CUSTOMER and also TEX.
CANDI (belt to C, plus a few other higher notes mixed in): the school’s narrow-minded busy-body, the one you love to hate; doubles as a DINER CUSTOMER and LORETTA.
ARVIN (baritone to E-flat; should have a few low notes as well): Candi’s browbeaten sidekick; a nice guy who just sort of goes with the flow; doubles as DINER CUSTOMER and also BRONCO.
Guitar (Acoustic, Electric)
Percussion (Drum Set, Mark Tree, toms, Splash Cymbals, Ride, Crotales, Ride Bell, Tambourine, Cowbell, Woodblock, Shaker, Triangle)