(Sally comes in as Louie goes out. She wears a black-spangled tap costume and grins.)

Sally: Hi, Slip. I'm ready for my audition.

Slip: Yeah, Sally...yer audition...

Sally: Of course I'm going to audition! I'm the best dancer in the Bowery, and you've heard me perform. I did the school play at PS 120 for three years running.

Slip: I know that!

Sally: So, would you like to see me dance, or hear my piece first?

Slip: Surprise me?

Sally: Always. (She dances first, to an instrumental "Puttin' on the Ritz." Sach can't help it. Sally's short costume is showing off her trim legs rather well. His rubber lips go.)

*Slip is too distracted watching Sally that he doesn't notice that Sach is noticing Sally.*

Sally: (As she finished) What did you think, boys?

Sach: (Claps) Bravo! Brava! Bravice! You were great!

*Slip is patting his forehead with his handkerchief.*

Sach: I think he liked you, Sally.

Sally: Well, do you want to hear my piece?

*Slip nods.*

Sally: Slip, are you even listening? Your eyes have a glazed look.

*Slip just nods again.

Sach: Sal, you're in the production.

Sally: I am?

Sach: Of course! You're the best actress in the Bowery, an' everyone knows it. Right, Chief?

Sally: (Hugs Slip) Thank you, honey! Do you know what part I'm gonna get yet?

*This brings Slip back to earth...and his eyes to the ground.*

Slip: Sally...

Sally: Yeah, Slip? Do you think I could get the leadin' lady role?

Slip: *Mutters* Someone else already got it.

Sally: Who? Rachel? Jane?

Sach: Uh, Chief, maybe you shouldn't tell her...

Slip: No...

Sally: Well? Is it anyone I know?

Slip: I don't think so.

Sally: (Sighs) All right. Just give me a good role, ok?

Slip: I'll give ya the best one... that they'll let me give ya.

Sally: All right. (She kisses him.) I love you, Mr. Director. No matter what part I get. (She waves at him and heads out.)

Sach: (Grins) She's crazy about 'ya.

Slip: *Sighs* I'm lucky I'm still alive.

Sach: She can't kill you at the performance, Chief! Not in front of all those people! Besides, if we give her a good role that isn't a leading role, it might not matter so much.

Slip: That's what I'm hopin'.

Chuck: *Joins them* Can I audition next?

Slip: Why? You guys're all gonna have parts in this.

Chuck: I don't wanna be an extra, Slip.

Sach: We wouldn't do that to you, Chuck! You're my pal and the Chief's brother. You should be in front of the background!

Chuck: I don't wanna be in the background at all. I want a real part in this.

Slip: *Folds his arms* What's yer audition, then?

Chuck: I wanna sing.

Sach: You can sing?

Chuck: *Shrugs* Yeah, I can.

Sach: Sing then, Sinatra.

Chuck: *Grins* Not quite, Sinatra, but...

*Chuck does a quick version of "Leaning On The Lamp Post."*

Sach: Hey, he's pretty good. Maybe he shoulda sung at the Bowery Palace, 'steada me!

Slip: *His eyes are wide* I didn't even know he could sing!

Chuck: *Shrugs* You never asked.

Sach: We could probably find him a really good spot in the play, right Chief?

Slip: Yeah, we could.

Chuck: Thanks, guys!

Sach: (Pats Chuck on the back) Anytime, Chuckie. Anytime.

(As Chuck goes out, two familiar small men go in. Buddy and Junior wear rented tuxes and carry top hats and canes.)

Buddy: Hey there, Cecil B DeMile. We thought we'd audition as a group act.

Slip: Doin' what?

Buddy: We're dancin' fools, of course!

Buddy: We have a really great vaudeville dance routine, don't we, Junior?

Junior: You bet we do!

(The two launch into "Anything You Can Do," from the musical "Annie Get Your Gun," a challenge dance. The boys keep trying to out-do each other with fancy moves. It ends with both of them on their knees in front of Slip...and out of breath.)

Sach: (He claps) Wonderful! You're both great!

Buddy: (Catching his breath) Well...Chief?

Sach: I thought they were terrific, Chief! Didn't you think they were terrific?

Buddy: We worked on that routine for hours!

Slip: *Nods* That was pretty good, fellas. Yer in.

Buddy: (High-fives Junior) All right! We're in!

Sach: Ok, Chief. Who do we call in next?

*Slip lets rip one of his loud two finger whistles.*

Sach: (Wiggles a finger in his ear) Oop! If you lost your whistle, Chief, it's in my ear.

Butch: (Pokes his head in) You whistled, oh Master Chief?

Slip: Even of this auditioning stuff. Everyone's hired.

Butch: (Looks over his shoulder and yells into the room) Did ya hear that, everyone? (There are collective cheers from around Louie's main room)

Sach: So, when do we give everyone their parts?

Slip: At the rehearsal.

Butch: (Over his shoulder) Everyone will get their parts at the rehearsal at the Delacorte Theater on Tuesday!

Sach: (Turns to Slip) And we'd better get some rest, too. We don't wanna be sleepy when we give out parts! (Grins) By the way, what part am I gonna get?

Slip: *Smirks* The donkey.

Sach: I can do that! I've always wanted to be an animal! (He brays all the way out the door.)

*Slip rolls his eyes and follows him.*

(Cut to the Delacorte Theater on Tuesday. Zelda and Sheila are already in the empty house seats when Sally, Louie, and the Boys troop in. There's already a crowd of people on the stage. Sheila smirks as Gabe Moreno passes her, notebook in hand.)

Sheila: (Grabs Gabe's arm and purrs) Why Mr. Moreno, I didn't expect you to be here! If I'd have known you auditioned, I would have tried out for a part myself.

Gabe: No, I didn't audition. I'm a TV reporter. I was asked to report on this production.

Sheila: Oh. (Smiles seductively) Well, I certainly hope you give us lots of coverage! This is going to a good cause, you know.

Gabe: Yes, it certainly is. I plan on covering this fairly.

Sheila: You know, it is rather disappointing that you didn't go out for a part. I'd love to see you onstage.

Gabe: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

Sheila: I'd like to appreciate you a little more. Say, at my place, after the rehearsal?

Gabe: Uh, gee, that's very nice, but I'm gonna be busy putting my report together later.

Sheila: Maybe tomorrow?

Gabe: We'll see.

Sheila: (Nods) Ok. (She pulls away as he heads for the stage and sighs to Zelda) Isn't he just lovely?

Zelda: *Shrugs* Eh.

Sally: (Cut to the stage; goes to Slip) Well, we're all here, honey. We're ready for our scripts.

Sach: Wait! We need our leadin' lady!

Zelda: I'm here! *comes running over*

Sally: (Eyes widen) HER? She's your leading lady?

Slip: She ain't mine! I wanted you!

Zelda: *Hugs Slip* I'm ready, Mr. Director! Direct me!

Sally: (She pulls Zelda off of Slip) He may direct you, sister, but he don't handle you!

Zelda: *Smirks* He can handle me all he wants.

Slip: I don't wanna.

Sach: Maybe we should give out the parts now.

Butch: (He pries Zelda off of Slip) He can't hand out parts if you're hanging off of him, ma'am.

Zelda: Later.

Slip: *Ignores Zelda* Alright, we got parts and scripts for everyone.

Sach: Hey Slip, what's your part?

Slip: *Looks at his own script and gulps* The leading man.

Zelda: My leading man!

Sally: WHAT!?

Chuck: Uh oh.

Sach: (Grins) I'm the butler. (Bobs before Slip) I butle, sir.

Sally: (Squawks) I'm the MAID?

Slip: Sal...

Sally: Is that what you think of me? A MAID?

Slip: No! Sally, it wasn't my...

Sach: It's a pretty good role, Sally! You have some of the best lines in the show!

Bobby: (He looks at his and grins) I'm a famous military flying ace. I like that.

Whitey: I'm an inventor.

Butch: (Shakes his head) No parts for me! I'm a behind-the-scenes man. The last acting I did was a toothbrush in our second grade play on dental hygiene, and I couldn't remember my lines.

Chuck: What kinda lines does a toothbrush have, anyway?

Butch: How should I know? I couldn't remember 'em then, much less now!

Chuck: And I fell asleep in that toothpaste tube costume.

Butch: I still haven't figured out how you did that.

Chuck: Even I haven't figured that out.

Buddy: (Grins at Junior) We're an old dance act!

Louie: (He looks at his script...and makes a face) How come I always gotta be a cook? I'm the cook in real life, much less on the stage!

Scruno: I'll work the mechanical stuff backstage.

Butch: (Grins) And I'll do the incidental music.

Rachel: (Looks at her script; grins) Ahh, the mysterious dark widow.

Marsha: (Giggles) The bubbly blonde actress all the guys think is really cute.

Jane: The reserved business woman.

(Another person comes onstage. It's a tall fellow with large, dark eyes and huge, round glasses. He wears a slightly rumpled suit.)

Man: Hello, everyone! (He leans over Sheila) I want to thank you for this glorious opportunity, Miss Saunders! It's not everyday that a first-time playwright gets a chance to see his work produced at a major theater!

Sheila: Yes. (Makes a face, but turns to the cast) Hello, everyone. Meet Alabama O'Malley, the man who wrote the play you'll be staring in.

Alabama: Splendid! (He joins the others on the stage) Now, who's the director? I want to see who'll be making sure all the actors speak my glorious words just the right way?

Slip: That'd be me.

Alabama: Marvelous! (He shakes Slip's hand so hard, he makes Slip jump up and down.) I can't wait to see what you do with my fabulous play! I've worked on this play for three years, you know. It's my masterpiece! My child!

Slip: *Tries to make himself stop jumping* Yer kid? Arkansas, I think ya need a new hobby.

Alabama: It's Alabama, my boy. And writing is my hobby! It's my life's work!

Slip: *Shrugs* Whatever ya say, Alaska.

Sheila: Mr. Director, why don't we set up the first scene and get a general idea of what everyone is supposed to do?

Butch: (Grins at Scruno) I know what we're supposed to do - hit the piano and levers backstage.

Scruno: You got that right.

Slip: Alright, guys, places...and don't screw this up!

Sally: (Mutters and glares at Zelda) I'd like to screw up a few people's noses.

*Zelda returns the glare.*

Sach: (Mutters back) Not now, Sally. We'll never get blood out of the stage.

Alabama: Ok, I want to see everyone enter the room dramatically!

Whitey: I didn't know there was a room called dramatically.

Marsha: Must be around the hall.

Bobby: I think he means we're going to enter with a lot of noise.

Sally: (Looks at her script) I start out. I'm dusting the room, getting ready for the guests. (She pretends to dust the room as Slip and Sach come up to the other side. She looks up) Oh, the guests are here! (She frowns and says, louder) THE GUESTS ARE HERE! (Peers backstage) SACH! YOUR CUE!

Sach: (Hurries onstage, a sandwich in one hand) Oop! Sorry! Lunch called me. (He pretends to open the "door" for Slip and Chuck) Hello, gentlemen. Are you the private detectives the Master hired?

Slip: That's us.

Chuck: We're the private detectives.

Sach: Very well, gentlemen. Won't you come in?

Chuck: Thank you, sir.

*Slip and Chuck enter through the "door."*

Sally: You must be here on that mystery the Master was talking about. He's afraid someone's out to steal his newest invention...and maybe that (makes a face) little ward of his, too.

Sach: Yes. Our little Cynthia has been receiving strange letters. They came around the same time someone made the first attempt on the Master's life.

Slip: Can we see the letters?

Sally: Yes, of course. (She leans over and pretends to rummage through something...then hands him the script) Here they are.

Slip: Thank you.

Sally: They all claim that he stole his idea for his newest Invention. (Gulps) And that someone may try to kill Cynthia.

Sach: (Sniffles loudly) Poor girl!

Chuck: That's awful.

Sally: (She makes a face again) We're having this party tonight to find out which of the Master's friends sent those letters. It just has to be one of them! They're all pretty odd characters.

Sach: (Suddenly, we hear a loud noise) Oop! Chief, my stomach rumbled! I think it's lunch time again.

Alabama: (Looks at his watch) Mr. Director, why don't we take a half-hour break for lunch, then resume rehearsals?

Slip: *Yells* LUNCH!

Sheila: (She goes up to Zelda, smirking) This is all perfect. They don't suspect a thing.

(What they don't know is Butch and Scruno are standing at the piano...and hear every word.)

Sheila: And you'll be sensational. You're far better than any of the idiots on that stage.

Zelda: Thank you.

Sheila: I knew I'd found the perfect patsy when O'Malley showed up on my doorstep with that ridiculous play of his.

Zelda: He's too perfect.

Sheila: I already have my advertising department working on publicity. We're going to get tons of people to come in to see this...and leave. And we'll leave with the money.

Zelda: Excellent.

Sheila: Why don't we go celebrate with lunch at Sardi's? I've already reserved the best table.

(The two head off, laughing evilly. Butch and Scruno exchange worried looks and head after Slip as we fade out.)