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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"

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 Candi) 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.


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 permanently flips their world into our world, meaning that heterosexuality is the norm, football is popular, and magical powers like Zanna's don't exist.


Zanna hurries to the prom, but now that everyone is straight, he's the odd one out. Kate and Steve are together like Zanna wished they could be, and are even crowned the king and queen of the prom, but everyone is homophobic and in a heterosexual relationship. His friends, who now have no memory of what life was like before the spell, ostracize and mock him for his flamboyant outfit and mannerisms. However, when they remember they used to be Zanna's friends, everyone comes back to join him in a dance, learning to get along in the end. Steve and Kate invite Zanna to an after party, but Zanna declines in favor of going home, leaving a shoe behind as he does so. True to fairy tales, Tank picks it up to return it to him, confessing his love for Zanna. They slow dance together, doing which Tank reveals that he still remembers the other world. Zanna is incredulous at how Tank's memories remained intact, while Tank tells him to just enjoy the music. The two share a tender kiss.

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...
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Fridge Logic: "Two by Two, just like Noah had to do..." if everyone's gay, how does that work?
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Though due to the gay Alternate Universe of the musical, the Lovable Jock is actually closeted straight, and Chess is cooler than Football in any case.
  • Has Two Mommies: Or two daddies.
  • High-School Dance: The scene for Zanna to discover that everyone is now straight.
  • High School Radio: Tank is resident DJ.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Mike, captain of the chess club goes out with Steve, quarterback of the football team. They even say this line.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Kate with Roberta, Steve with Mike, Zanna with Steve
  • 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.
  • Magical Queer: Literally!
  • 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: Kate and Steve, while playing a heterosexual couple in the Army suffering under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, discover that they have feelings for each other.
  • 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!
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Oh, Zanna...


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