Anthony and Manny assist customers at the newsstand. A ‘For Sale’ sign hangs from the second floor window. Jimmy walks down the street, admiring the funky stores and galleries.  He turns a corner and sees them.

JIMMY:  So this is where you work!

ANTHONY:  Jim, meet my friend Manny, he owns the place.
They shake hands.

JIMMY:  Nice building.

MANNY:  Thanks, you like it?

JIMMY:  Yeah. It’s a little run down, but the location is great! You could really do something with this place. 

MANNY:  I always wanted to fix it up, but I never had the pesos, so I’m trying to sell it.

JIMMY:  Really?  Maybe I can help.

Jimmy steps back and admires the building.

Back at his apartment, Anthony rushes in. Tony is talking on his phone.

TONY:  Hold on, Johnny.  (to Anthony)  Where’s the fire?

ANTHONY:  I don’t want to be late for rehearsal. Can you drive me, so I can study in the car?

TONY:  (into phone) Johnny, I’ll call you in the morning.

Tony drives as Anthony studies his script.

TONY:  This car is a real piece of junk!

ANTHONY:  It’s a classic. And with my paycheck I’m lucky I even have a car.

TONY:  I was just on the phone with Johnny Suede and he told me he offered you a car, but you turned him down.

ANTHONY:  I don’t want to be in debt to anybody.

TONY:  So, you’d rather drive this “classic” right?

ANTHONY:  Why do you care?

TONY:  I’m your father, that’s why I care!  And Suede’s your Godfather for Christ sake.  We grew up together. He’s practically your uncle!

ANTHONY:  I guess it’s Mom coming out of me. She never wanted that way of life for me. She never wanted me to be like–

TONY:  Like your father?

ANTHONY:  Well, yeah. You know how she is.

TONY:  I was married to her, I know exactly how she is!

ANTHONY:  I know she can be difficult.

TONY:  Listen Anthony, we always knew deep down that the marriage wouldn’t last. I was just hoping that we could’ve stayed together until you graduated high school. I grew up without a father, and I never wanted that for you.

ANTHONY:  Then why weren’t you around more?

TONY:  Your mother. She hates my guts.  And I’m not too fond of her either.

Tony pulls in front of the theater.

TONY:  Anthony, I was the one telling Suede to give you a car. He’s been keeping an eye on you since you moved out here.

Anthony looks Tony straight in the eyes.

ANTHONY:  You want to tell me the real reason you’re out here?

TONY:  What do you mean? I’m here to see your show.

ANTHONY:  Dad, I work at a newsstand. I read the Philly papers. I know about the mob hit.

TONY:  They wanted to question me about the murder, but I don’t want to talk to any cops until I know exactly what happened.

ANTHONY:  But if you didn’t do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about?

TONY:  That’s not always how it works, Anthony. Besides, I know how important this show is for you and I didn’t want to miss it.

ANTHONY:  Shit! I’m gonna be late.

Anthony opens the car door.

TONY:  Can I come in and watch?

ANTHONY:  I guess it’ll be okay, but stay in the back and keep quiet. The teacher is very strict.

TONY:  Like a mouse.

They go into the theater.

The theater is dark and quiet as Anthony come in and rushes backstage. Maria sees him.

MARIA:  Look who is on time! Good, we get started.

Tony slips in the back, unnoticed as Anthony walks on stage.

MARIA:  Quiet in the theater! Silence! Anthony, on your mark!
The theater is silent. Anthony is stage front and center.

MARIA:  Lights!

Lights go down and a solo spotlight finds Anthony.

MARIA:  Start from soliloquy, and… Action!

ANTHONY:  To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune–

MARIA cuts him off.

MARIA:  Wait! Wait!

She mocks Anthony’s delivery.

MARIA:  To be or not to be? What is that?  Anthony, you must feel his pain. If you do not feel it, the audience will not feel it! Again!

Anthony sees Manny in the wings, shaking his head.  It makes Anthony more nervous.

ANTHONY:  To be or not to be–

MARIA:  Stop! This is a travesty! How can you–

She is interrupted by Tony, who is standing in the back of the theater.

TONY:  (yells) Anthony, what the hell are you doing?!

Tony steps out of the darkness. Maria is immediately taken by his forceful presence. But this is her theater…

MARIA:  Who are you?

TONY:  I’m Hamlet’s father. Who are you?

MARIA:  (over dramatic) I am Maria Minsk, the owner and theater director.  (forcefully) You should not be here.  Leave the premises immediately!

Tony ignores her and walks past her, down to the stage.  The other actors watch in silence.

TONY:  Anthony, what did we talk about last night? You know this guy. Think like him. Be him!

MARIA:  Oh! Do we have a new teacher? How do you know how to think like Hamlet?

Tony gives her a blank stare.

TONY:  I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve done a little acting.

MARIA:  A little acting? You think Hamlet is a little acting? Then, why don’t you show us, Hamlet’s father?

Tony eyes the other actors. They are terrified of Maria. He wants to prove her wrong. Tony walks on stage and clears his throat.

TONY:  (perfectly) To be or not to be…

Tony turns to Anthony and stares intensely into his eyes.

TONY:  That is the question! Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…

Anthony is galvanized by Tony’s energy. Anthony picks up the soliloquy and Tony steps aside, into the shadows.

ANTHONY:  Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them!  To die, to sleep no more. And by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to!…  …With this regard, their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.  Soft you now, the fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered.

Anthony finishes.

The theater is silent, then erupts in applause. Steph beams at Anthony from the wings. Jessica looks at him seductively. Manny gives him the thums up.  Maria is mesmerized.

MARIA:  That is how it is done! Magnifizent!

TONY:  (proudly) Great job, son.

ANTHONY:  Thanks, Dad.

Tony walks off stage.

MARIA:  Everyone, take five. 

Maria catches up to Tony before he leaves the theater.

MARIA:  Excuse me, Anthony’s father. May I speak with you for a moment?

TONY:  Sure, I’m Tony.

MARIA:  Tony, that was spectacular. Where did you learn to act like that?

TONY:  I did a little in high school, some local theaters. It always came easy to me.

MARIA:  The fire, the passion. You have it all. Why are you no big star?

TONY:  Thanks. I was young, got married, you know, life goes on. Speaking of life goes on, how about a drink after the Showcase Friday night?

Tony smiles devilishly at her.

TONY:  Maybe we could discuss Romeo and Juliet.

MARIA:  (shyly)  Tony, you make me blush…


STEPH: Anthony, that was amazing, do you wanna come to my place and re–Jessica bursts in.

JESSICA: Anthony, you were fantastic!
STEPH: –hearse some more.
But Anthony is immersed with Jessica.

ANTHONY: You really think so? 

JESSICA: Wanna come over to my place to run lines?

She smiles sexually. He can’t resist.

ANTHONY: Sure.Steph walks out.


Anthony and Jessica are on the couch. Anthony examines a pair of sparkling diamond ear rings.

JESSICA: Are you sure you only want the earrings?

ANTHONY: Yes, I’m a little nervous to carry all of it at once.

JESSICA: Let me calm those nerves. She moves closer to him. They kiss.