Variety Show

Synopsis: Anthony Jacob Matthews has the uncanny, ambitious dream of hosting a variety show the likes hasn't been seen since Lawrence Welk, Dick Van Dyke's American Bandstand and Cornelius' Soul Train. In this modern day society, will anyone be willing to watch something new, different and fresh every week when there is so much choice availible on TV ?

~*~ CAST ~*~

Tony Matthews:

Gordon Luke Matthews: (his dad)

Francine Anne Matthews: (his mom)

Tom Clawson: (Tony's best friend)

Eudora Clawson: (Tom's wife)

Wendee Clawson: (their first child)

Caden Clawson: (their second child)

Ashley Tynsdale: (Tony's girlfriend)

Fabrizio Lee: (performer)

Mabel Hawthorne: (performer)

Nova: (Mabel's doggie)

Natasha Ivanov: (soprano of quartet)

Tina Green: (alto of quartet)

Misha Ivanov: (tenor of quartet and Nat's hubby)

Bartholomew Green: (bass of quartet and Tina's hubby)

Janet Welling: (dancing performer, wife of Lars)

Lars Welling: (dancing performer)

Scene 1-Tony's Big Idea

Tony: (narrating, and old video displays Tony and Tom performing a magic act in front of their small group of friends and their parents. Of course, as usual, the parents are the ones that provide the loudest plaudits, cheers and whistles for their children) When I was a little kid, my buddy, Tom and I, would perform these crazy magic shows. Everyone loved them. We wanted to go pro, but we knew entertainment was a rather rough business. Over the years, our dream started to fade away and we didn't have time to charm anyone with our gimmicks. Tom decided to work for the local radio station and I was stuck, it seemed, at a cubicle job. Granted, I adored every moment of it, but it became monotonous after a while. We wanted something more in our lives. Tom was already married to the sweetheart of his dreams, Eudora. They met in college and had two kids of their own, who kept them incredibly occupied. I never thought I would be hearing from my surrogate bro, he called me one night and gave me the pitch to end all pitches...

Tom: Hey, Ton. Was just wondering, how's life treating you ?

Tony: Can't complain really. Things are great, that I can't deny.

Tom: Listen, I have an idea.

Tony: What is it ?

Tom: Remember when we were kids we used to perform all those wacky magic shows for our friends and our parents ?

Tony: (chuckling) Man ! Those were some choice times, bro.

Tom: What if we created a show where people could showcase their talent, just for entertainment's sake. No one would be voting anyone off, and there wouldn't be any drama. Just a showcasing of pure, unbridled abilities for everyone to enjoy. And not only that but it would be acceptable family viewing.

Tony: That's quite a tall order, Tom. You know that 'family' TV programs aren't very popular with your usual venue of couch potatoes. Nowadays people want blood, guts, sex, violence...

Tom: Ton', I know. You're thinking it is impossible. If we were to work together just like we did in our heyday...

Tony: You're starting to sound delirious, Tom. It'll never take. TV viewers, heck, TV stations, I highly doubt they'll bite at your bait.

Tom: (disappointed) Not with that negative attitude they won't. (with gusto and passion) I've got connections, Tony. Just you wait and see. You and me, Ton', we're going to make a difference.

(The next sequence is a bit of a blast to the past and an homage to one of my favorite sitcoms of the two of them setting up the Variety Show set, lights, etc. 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' from Perfect Strangers plays as they set up their dream program and stand back to admire their work with bottled water as they toast to its success.)

Tom: Now all we have to do is find our performers and a willing audience.

Tony: I get the feeling you know where to get them, too.

Tom: Ton, you really know me all too well. For now, however, I think we both have deserved a well-needed rest.

Tony: (yawning and stretching) You aren't kidding.

(Tom also stretches and yawns after Tony has done so and they walk away from the TV set after turning the lights off in the back. Music very reminiscent of inspirational classics such as Invictus, Dead Poet's Society, Good Will Hunting, etc. is played in the backgrounad as they walk away from their masterpiece.)

Scene 2-Opening Night...So Soon ?

(Right as Tony is in the middle of his lunch hour, he recieves a call from Tom. The theme on his phone is an orchestrated version of Terra's theme from Final Fantasy VI.)

Tony: (nearly shrieking but calming down as he answers the phone. He recieves some odd looks from coworkers but they disregard it and go on with their luncheons) What are you doing calling me in the middle of lunch ? I nearly choked on my egg salad.

Tom: Ton'. It's HUGE. Let me tell you, it's bigger than Texas, this news !

Tony: Don't keep me in suspense. Just tell me.

Tom: I have the acts ready, I have an orchestra and they are volunteers.

Tony: How is that even possible ?

Tom: (mysteriously) Oh, I know people, who know people. (singing) And they're the luckiest people of them all.

Tony: (unamused, drolly) Ha, ha. You're not pulling my leg are you ?

Tom: Moi ? Oh, I would never. I never lie. You know that.

Tony: (becoming more interested) When are we starting ?

Tom: Tonight.

(He can see Tony and Tom singing a version of 'Tonight, Tonight' in his mind...)

Tonight, tonight

Come join our show tonight

Among the lights and music and stars...

Tom: Tony...TONY ! Earth to Ton ! Come in major Ton.

Tony: (shaking head back and forth) I had a flitting daydream...sorry.

Tom: I figured. Don't zone out like that on me, alright ?

Tony: It just seemed too good to be true.

Tom: The thing is, it's not. I have a lineup for tonight. He's giving us a couple of weeks to really give Variety Show a start.

Tony: Wait. You're calling a variety show 'Variety Show' ? Isn't that...rather...uninventive and uninspired ?

Tom: (laughs) I thought of calling it Tom and Tony's Variety Show. Or TTVS for short. Everyone's abbreviating everything these days. It'll make it more hip and chic. Accessibility. We have to think of the younger crowds too and keep 'em hooked.

Tony: (very amazed) Sheesh, you thought of just about every angle you could, didn't you ?

(A transition is shown to the show's first running...)

Tony: (nervous) Man, I can't...fathom any of this ! How did you talk me into this, Tom ? (shaking him a little while he says this)

Tom: Snap out of it. We're both lookin' smokin' and we're gonna rock this town tonight.

Tony: (nearly exits stage right) While you do that I think I need time to sit down and think.

Tom: (pats his shoulder) I know you're petrified. So am I.

Tony: Let's just give it our all.

(They walk out to the bright lights and thousands of people cheering and introduce themselves, as well as the acts.)

Tom: So, without further ado, let us introduce our juggler from France, Fabrizio Lee. He's going to dazzle us with his unique style. Take it away, Fabrizio.

Fabrizio: Bonjour, everyone. You may think I'm going to be your typical juggler...well, think again. (juggling to 'Tribal Dance' on a unicycle, and performing flips while he does so, puts juggling pins down momentarily and takes sticks out of his back pocket, he juggles those in a very flamboyant way, and the crowd goes wild)

(There are many other acts following his that are applauded. Fairly soon, there is a commercial break and the remaining acts wait behind the scenes to refresh themselves.)

(Scene fade)

Scene 3-Love At First Sight

Tom: (knocking on Tony's dressing room door as he drinks some bottled water) Tony !

Tony: Come on in, Tom. Tell me some good news. Please, I've been sweating bullets since we first started airing.

Tom: Not only that, but it seems that the Variety Show has some serious followers...AND backers !

Tony: So quickly ? So they like us ? I mean...really like us !

Tom: Exactly ! (comes to give him a celebratory hug)

Tony: We have to celebrate with the cast later tonight. They deserve this victory as much as we do.

Tom: Do we even have enough money to do that ? We just started. Isn't that pushing the enveleope slightly ?

Tony: Don't worry. You're going to give yourself a heart attack if you keep fretting all of the time. That's what took my old man, remember.

Tom: (a bit sadly, feeling slightly morose for a moment) Right...(inhales and exhales) Now we must go out there and make the latter part of our debut as good or even better than the first.

(The two introduce the next acts. The quartet goes out and sings an accapella version of Breathe. After they recieve a standing ovation, a nervous young woman is nudged out on stage with her dog, Nova.)

Maybel: Hi, everyone. I'm Maybel. This is Nova. We're going to perform some tricks with you. But don't be fooled...These aren't your normal 'pet tricks.' I'll show you what Nova can do.

Tony: (seeing Maggie dancing to 'Cobrastyle' along with Nova) She's...really sensational.

Tom: (nudging him in the ribcage) Did someone get struck by Cupid's bow ?

Tony: I've never seen anyone like her before. The dog is incredible too.

Tom: Ask her out after the show. The worst she can do is turn you down.

Tony: Tom, you know I haven't felt like this in...well, I don't know when.

Tom: (grasps his shoulders) Ton'. Listen. You have to seize this auspicious opportunity. You'll never know when you'll get another. (pats his shoulder, reassuringly) Just be yourself, and go get 'er.

Tony: (narrating) My whole being was buzzing. I knew that Ms. Maybel Hawthorne was rare. I felt I had known her before from somewhere and we were simply reuniting. It was a strange, yet comforting knowing that she was a familiar soul. I just had to remain calm and try not to bust a gasket doing my best to impress her. I took Tom's advice. I would simply be myself.

(Scene shift)
Maybel: (after the show she's walking Nova, actually, Nova is leading her to the car) Ready to go home, Nova girl ? I know ! You love to go on rides, yes you do !

Tony: Um, hi. You're Maybel, right ?

Maybel: (raises eyebrow) Depends on who's asking. (wriggles eyebrows in a funny way)

Tony: (laughing) How do you squiggle your eyebrows like that ?

Maybel: It's in my family. It's apparently a very rare trait. I thought I'd use it for entertainment. Who thought it'd come in so handy. This alone has impressed more people than any other talent I possess.

Tony: I still think you're awe-inspiring. Especially those handstands, flips and cartwheels. Nova was keeping pace right with you. How old is she ?

Maybel: Oh, she's still just a pup. Only 2. Fox Terrier. Terriers never grow old, you know.

Tony: Can I go for a walk with you ?

Maybel: (beaming) I actually have a better idea. Wanna go dancing ?

Tony: (narrating) Although I was pretty certain I had two left feet and typical 'white guy lack of rhythm, I decided, 'What the heck !'

Maybel: My friend Ramona next door won't mind watching Nova while I'm gone. Come on, the night's still young !

(scene change)

(Tony and Maybel are dancing to 'Safe and Sound' and then 'We Found Love in a Hopeless Place')

Maybel: Hey, look at you. Didn't think a producer could move like you do.

Tony: You're the one with the mad dancing skills. But then again you've had more practice.

Maybel: I'm starving...how about you ? I was thinking we could try that new seafood place down the block.

Tony: Seafood ? You really know how to charm a guy !

(They laugh and eat lunch together while 'Something' and the two walk back home, where Maybel gives him an unexpected kiss. He practically floats home.)

Scene 4-Growing Fonder of Each Other

Tony: (narrating) The Reality Show improved day after day. Before we knew it we were a permanent fixture on evening television. We may not have been big like Johnny Carson back in his salad days, but we were introducing morals and family values back into the mainstream. We didn't shove them down people's throats, but we knew that we were changing the world bit by bit and society was beginning to notice. Other things had begun to change, too. After a year of concecutively dating Maybel, I asked her for her hand in marriage. The show had been given word of this and we were about to have a spectacular send off. I wasn't expecting this, though. I have never been this euphoric in my entire existence...

(Fade in to the Variety Show)

Tom: Everyone's come together to give you a big present before the wedding later on tonight. We're all supporting you.

Gordon: I had to come just to see what happens behind the scenes. You know how I've been following Variety Show since its inception.

Tom: (hugging his dad, and Francine joins Gordon) I'm glad you could take time out of your busy schedule just to encourage us on our big day !

Francine: We wouldn't miss it for the world. Besides, Maybel's quite the catch ! We love her immensely.

Maybel: Come on, you guys. You're making me blush.

Ramona: Does Tony have any brothers I should know about ? Help a sister out !

Maybel: No, but I hear that he may have some single cousins.

Ramona: (singing) I'm comin' out. I want the world to know, gotta let it show ! I'm coming !

Maybel: You are nuttier than Nutella spread, girlfriend.

Ramona: (joyfully) Why thank you, Maybel dearie.

Tom: Is everyone ready ? How about our first act ?

Lars: We're prepared. We've got just the song for you both.

Janet: Hope you like what we've dedicated to you and your lovely wife-to-be.

(Tom and Tony introduce the acts for the night...)

Tom: Now without further ado, Lars and Janet Welling.

(They dance to 'Eternal Flame' and everyone stands up and cheers.)

Maybel: (trying to keep her tears back) This is the most beautiful surprise anyone could have ever given us. Thank you, thank you, thank you !

Tony: (narrating) It was a wedding that was unlike any other. I even sang a song I had written for Maybel (and we can see him singing to her at the reception 'You Turn My Head') which she loved immensely.

Maybel: (kissing him) This will be our song forever. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding gift. Tony, you rock !

(They do a little something different and dance the Electric Slide)

Tony: (narrating) I didn't know what to expect in the future, and honestly, I didn't care. I had Maybel on my side and a plethora of people who loved me dearly. They bouyed me up when I felt like I should've sank or drowned. Yet they kept me optimistic and I owe them for the success of the Show as a whole. Where we go from here I haven't a clue. What matters is that we're truly living life, experiencing it, and bringing a bit more joy into the world despite its hardships. If we can make just one life better, isn't it worth it ?

I think so.

(As they dance away, 'Change the World' plays in the credits. Dedications and such are mentioned as well as a blooper reel played for the 'true blue' fans that stick around long enough to see if anything 'pops up' in the credits themselves. Finally, everyone is treated to a famous quote from Mohandas Ghandi: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world.")

THE END