A Musical Fairy Tale: Musical with book. Music & lyrics by Tim Acito; additional book and lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris.
Jack Houseman Theatre, Off-Broadway - Opened, 20th March, 2003. Closed 29th June, 2003 (112 perfs)
The musical is set in Heartsville, U.S.A, once upon a time.
The exact time period is not specified, but the play takes place across a school year, beginning on the first day and ending at prom. This is a fairy tale America, where the majority of the world is homosexual, with heterosexuals subject to heterophobia. Despite the fairy tale aspect, the world is essentially equivalent to ours, with references to Star Trek, the internet, Wayne Gretzky, and many other recognisable people, things or ideas. The majority of the play is set at Heartsville High, where the main characters are students.
As the school year begins, DJ and student Tank reminds the world that Zanna is on the look-out for any extra love that needs to be shared. Zanna finds new kid Steve Buckman (a quarterback) lonely. Zanna sets him up with Mike Singer, a chess champion and idol of school. (Chess players are sex symbols, and football players nobodies.) Their love blooms quickly.
Meanwhile, Kate Aspero, all-around overachiever, finds love with Roberta, a part-time waitress. Kate had long resisted Zanna's efforts to find love for her, citing "SATs, ACTs, APs, and GPAs" as being more worthy of her time, while Roberta seemed destined to a life of cheating girlfriends. She laments this in song much to the chagrin of the diner's customers. Spurred by Zanna's magic, Roberta impresses Kate so strongly that they become a couple.
Zanna, pleased with his success, settles down for the night, as he says goodnight to his magic wand and goodbye to his feathered friend Cindy, who migrates to Fort Lauderdale.
The next day, the kids decides to create a musical addressing the controversy over heterosexuals in the military. Their play includes the song "Be A Man," touting the impressive homosexual leaders of history (including Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander the Great, and the ancient Spartans), and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," an overly dramatic ballad about a heterosexual couple forced to hide their love from the Army.
Kate and Steve realise they have feelings for each other, a fact they try quickly to forget, as their town is extremely heterophobic.
Some amount of time passes. At the OK Corrall club Mike proposes moving in with Steve after graduation, but Steve, trying to avoid the issue, believes they should slow down. Three Corral regulars, Tex, Bronco, and Loretta, insist that love should go "Fast." Steve, scared and confused runs from Mike, who describes Steve's unpredictable behaviour. Later, and much to the amusement of Tex, Bronco, and Loretta, it is also revealed that Zanna has feelings for Steve.
Kate and Steve's perplexing behaviour leads Mike and Roberta playfully to suggest to each other "Don't You Wish We Could Be In Love?", but the light-hearted song turns serious as Kate, Steve, and Zanna all join in, reflecting on their relationships.
The focus shifts to the State Chess Finals. Steve promises to exchange varsity rings with Mike after the match, while Kate puts all her effort into being a perfect girlfriend to Roberta. Mike's hesistation in the final match causes Roberta to lead a raucous cheer — a successful cheer indeed, causing Mike to win the tournament.
But in the resulting celebration, Kate and Steve kiss, throwing the town into chaos. Mike, Steve, Kate, and Roberta are devastated. Kate and Steve run into classmates Candi and Buck, who have suddenly distanced themselves from the heterosexual couple. Unable to handle living in a heterophobic environment, Kate and Steve plan to run away from Heartsville.
Zanna, desperate to make the world safe for them, finds a spell that, while likely to cost him his powers (and a possible deterioration of taste and style), will make everything better, or so he hopes. Deciding that nothing done for love can ever hurt us, Zanna performs the spell.
Zanna's spell is a success, in a way. Kate and Steve are King and Queen of the Prom. But Zanna finds that everyone is now heterosexual, and that no one can remember what life was like before the spell, to the point that Zanna himself is ostracised. He reflects on his life. The students, overhearing him, realise that they were mistaken in abandoning their friend and Zanna is invited to a post-prom party, but he chooses to stay behind and think for awhile. On his way home, he drops a shoe, and true to fairy tales, Tank rushes to return it to him, revealing not just his memories of before the spell but his love of Zanna.
The happy couple is joined by the ensemble as the curtain call.
Unless otherwise noted, each character is a student at Heartsville High.
- Zanna - The magical matchmaker himself, Zanna has devoted his life to creating couples, while ignoring his own lovelife. His best friends are a bird and his magic wand.
- Tank - A kind and caring DJ, who describes himself as "a sort of charming, somewhat handsome, not too princely guy," who cares for Zanna deeply but goes unnoticed for most of the show.
Kate - A notorious overachiever with plans for a medical degree, she mistakes her own heterosexuality for ambition but tries with Roberta anyway. She is the captain of the Girls' Intramural Mechanical Bull-Riding Team.
- Roberta - A waitress at a diner in her spare time, she has found no luck in love - each new girlfriend seems to "dump her the next day." Her best friend is Mike.
- Steve - New to Heartsville, Steve's two dads are five-star generals. As a result, Steve has spent much of his life moving around and never making deep connections, but Zanna is sure he'll find a place in Heartsville. He's the quarterback of the football team.
- Mike - A champion chess player and school sex symbol, Mike is a modest and caring teen, and best friends with Roberta.
- Candi - A domineering girl, she is involved in the Drama Club and knows all the latest gossip.
- Buck - Candi's friend, his opinions are overshadowed by her own ideas.
- Bronco, Tex, and Loretta - Played by the same actors as Buck, Tank, and Candi (respectively), these local adults sing the song "Fast," describing why falling in love fast is the best way to do it.
In addition, the ensemble plays various townspeople and the Girls' Intramural Mechanical Bull-Riding Team.
- Who's Got Extra Love?
- I Think We Got Love
- I Ain't Got Time
- Ride 'Em
- Zanna's Song
- Be a Man
- Don't Ask, Don't Tell
- I Could Write Books
- Don't You Wish We Could Be In Love?
- Whatcha Got?
- Do You Know What It's Like?
- 'Tis a Far, Far Better Thing I Do
- Blow Winds
- Straight To Heaven
- Someday You Might Love Me
- Straight to Heaven (Reprise)
- Sometime, Do You Think We Could Fall in Love?