Johnny Starbucks wakes up to the sound of a cockroach skittering across his ear. His roommate walks past with nothing on but a dance belt and a tube of chapstick. This is because Johnny lives in deep Brooklyn in a railroad-style apartment, meaning Roomie HappyTap has to walk through Johnny’s room on the way to the bathroom (which doubles as the kitchen).
It’s 5am. Johnny is late to open at Starbucks. There’s no food in the house except a bag of coffee borrowed from work. Johnny pours rancid milk over his coffee beans and eats it like cereal.
Three hours into his shift, guess who walks in but Hal BigTalent, director of the much-anticipated Broadway show, The Girl in the Freudian Slip. Hal orders a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot latte with whip, which Johnny whips up masterfully. Hal is so impressed he offers Johnny a position as Assistant Director. It pays nothing, the work is humiliating, but suddenly Johnny has a Broadway gig.
On the two-block walk over to 42nd Street Studios, Hal comes down with a freak case of food poisoning. As he runs to the nearest bathroom, he yells to Johnny, “You must direct the play!” Often, freak accidents are how one moves up in the industry.
Johnny enters the rehearsal room and meets the stage manager, a busty woman named Spike.
Helen Von Crankybritches has a lot of questions about her character. And how her character feels about a lot of things. This is Johnny’s moment. He throws a chair and declares, “Your character feels like we’re writing your paycheck!” The cast exchanges sideways glances, generally acknowledging that, since he’s not afraid to be a jerk, he’ll make an excellent director. Which is good because now it’s time for blocking.
Johnny puts his drama education to good use with phrases like “downstage right” and “up left of center.”
“Helen,” Johnny sighs, “when you apply makeup downstage during the nude scene, you are completely upstaging the action.”
“How can I upstage the action when I am downstage?” Helen retaliates.
Before Johnny can respond, the phone rings. Spike answers, listens intently, then lowers the receiver as slowly as humanly possible. One could cut the dramatic tension with a knife.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Spike somberly announces, “That was the producer.”
A gasp erupts amongst the cast. “Oh no!” cries Helen, “We’re being shut down!”
“No,” assures Spike, “it seems Hal BigTalent has died from a freak flesh-eating bacteria.”
“Oh, thank God,” Helen says.
After the obligatory sorrow and tears, the team decides to break early for the day.