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Theatre / Zanna, Don't!

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"I'm a one-woman woman
And you're wastin' my time."
"I Ain't Got Time"
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Zanna, Don't! is an Off-Broadway musical by Tim Acito. It was written in 2002 and ran its Off-Broadway run 2003. It was to get a run on Broadway, but talk of that has largely tapered off. It takes place in an Alternate Universe where chess is cool, football is weird, and everybody is gay.

The show revolves around the character Zanna, resident matchmaker, magic practitioner and student at Heartsville High. In the course of the story, he hooks up Mike (Heartsville's star chess player) and Steve (a lonely quarterback who's the new kid in school), and Roberta (whose girlfriends all seem to "dump her the next day," her most recent girfriend being a girl named Carla) and Kate (an overachiever who dreams of getting a medical degree). The students decide to write and perform a controversial musical about a heterosexual couple in the army as a social critique of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law, with Kate and Steve cast as the leads. One thing leads to another, and Steve and Kate realize that they aren't just acting. However, they agree that they could never be together, as Heartsville is notoriously heterophobic. Meanwhile, Zanna struggles with his feelings for Steve, thinking that Steve and Mike still love each other.

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Disaster strikes when Steve and Kate kiss in celebration after Mike wins his chess tournament, causing them to be ostracized. They run to Zanna, the only one in town who hasn't shunned them yet. Zanna suggests that they show up to prom as a couple anyway, only for Candi to call him and say that mixed-sex couples aren't allowed at prom. Kate and Steve sadly try to leave town, only for Zanna to stop them and send them to prom anyway. He flips through his spellbook to find a way to help his friends, but the only spell that would be an option would cause Zanna to lose his powers for good. Proclaiming that "Nothing done out of love can ever do us harm," he takes up his wand. In an attempt to make everything better, Zanna casts one final spell that will turn the world completely upside down.


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Includes examples of:

  • Alternate Universe: But everything is pretty normal except for three things. Chess is cooler than football, mechanical-bull riding is a intramural sport, and everybody is gay.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Everyone in Heartsville (and the rest of America) are gay.
  • Cupid's Arrow: Discussed in "Don't You Wish We Could Be In Love?"
  • Exact Words: Desperate to help Kate and Steve, Zanna looks through his spellbook and finds a spell that will “make the world safe for heterosexuals.” It never said how the world would be made safe...
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Said verbatim when Mike and Steve get a chance to talk to each other, thanks to Zanna’s schemes.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Kate with Roberta, Steve with Mike, Zanna with Steve.
  • Keep Away: What Steve does to Zanna at the school dance, taking his wand and snapping it.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Let’s see, Kate and Steve love each other, Roberta loves Kate, Mike loves Steve, Zanna loves Steve, and Tank loves Zanna.
  • Magic Wand: Zanna uses a literal magic wand, pretty star on the end and all.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Zanna hooks up Mike and Steve, and then realizes that he likes Steve too.
  • The Power of Love: "Nothing done out of love can ever do us harm..."
  • Romance on the Set: invokedKate and Steve are cast as a heterosexual couple in the military who are forced into hiding their relationship due to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. One thing leads to another, and they fall in love, forcing them to hide their love just like the characters they played had to do.
  • Shipping Goggles: If there’s a sign someone’s crushing on another person, Zanna will help them get together. Wether or not the relationship will last is another story.
  • Shipper on Deck: Zanna, with pretty much everyone. He’s put on the receiving end of this by his wand when others find out about his crush on Steve.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism : Far on the side of idealism. Steve and Kate are briefly ostracized for their relationship, but Zanna saves them by turning the world upside-down. When Zanna is briefly ostracized at the prom, his friends return to include him and accept all kinds of love.
  • Tempting Fate: This is referencing Kate and Steve pretending to be in love. Bet you he regrets it four songs later.
    Mike: You looked perfect!
  • Wham Line: Tank's "I think I like the other world better."
  • Whole Costume Reference: Barring his pink lightning bolt T-shirt, at least one production has Zanna don an acid-washed denim ensemble (jeans and a matching jacket) reminiscent of *NSYNC’s music video for “It’s Gonna Be Me.”
  • Zany Scheme: Zanna’s go-to strategy for nudging people together, if they don’t want to address their feelings.

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