Attack of the Theater People

It's 1986, and twenty-year-old Edward Zanni has been kicked out of drama school for being "too jazz hands for Juilliard." Mortified, Edward heads out into the wonderland of 80s New York City, bumbling through a series of disastrous day jobs before finally finding one that suits his limited abilities. Working as a "party motivator," Edward excels at getting thirteen-year-olds to dance at Bar Mitzvahs and charming business people as a "stealth guest" at corporate events. Eventually, he attracts the attention of Chad Severson, a devastatingly charismatic and unscrupulous young stockbroker who befriends Edward in order to obtain insider trading information.

Unaware he's breaking the law, Edward is soon in a heap of trouble. Not only are the feds after him, but he's being stalked by an obsessive thirteen-year-old Bat Mitzvah groupie, and facing the revenge of his spiteful ex-stepmother, Dagmar.        

Only the help of his crew from How I Paid for College can rescue Edward from a stretch in Club Fed, tumbling him into an adventure involving roller-skating actors, jet-setting Persians, guerilla theater, and a Springsteen tribute band called Almost Bruce. Together, they must give the performance of their lives.

Laced with the inspired zaniness of classic American musical comedy, Attack of the Theater People matches the big hair of the eighties with an even bigger heart.


"Attack of the Theater People is as sweet and nutty and irresistible as a bag of M & M's. Acito's deft hand with dialogue lends a curious believability to even his most preposterous scenarios."--Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City

"Sort of an east coast Tales of the City, this over-the-top yet scarily accurate burlesque of theatre folk rampaging through ‘80s Manhattan caused me gasps of appalled recognition and frequent laughing out loud. It's the kind of book where you read passages to friends and they laugh too." —Stephen Schwartz, composer & lyricist of Godspell, Pippin and Wicked

“Reading this book was like being invited to the most riotous high-school reunion ever and it was a pleasure to revisit the characters and the hair, fashion and moral failings of the 1980s. Jazz hands down, the funniest thing I've read this year.”—Jennifer Weiner, author of In Her Shoes

“Attack of the Theater People is the book I'd write if I weren't so busy watching TV and depositing checks.”—Jeff Marx, co-creator of Avenue Q