West Side Tsorys, the Purim Prequel

A skit based on the famous musical, with a Jewish twist

The following is one scene, plus an accompanying song, from a full-length Purim shpiel, a funny or satirical skit performed on the festival of Purim. It is reprinted with permission of the author, whose humor, poetry, and other work can be found on the website www.jordanmargolis.com.

Plotz Summary

Here Come the Zets! "West Side Tsorys" is the Purim Prequel because it re-writes the story of Esther before she was old enough to have a book agent. The characters of Purim are presented as teenagers, to uncover their psychological and sociological motivations. We finally learn what made Haman so mad at the Jews. (Hint: It’s always about a girl.) Child actors play the parents of the adult actors’ teenage characters. The Zets square off against Haman’s gang, the Shtoonks. Haman plans to desecrate the JCC and synagogue with graffiti, but his plot is foiled and he’s sent off to Triangle Military Academy.

The Scene

(Outside Doc’s store. Tony in sleeveless undershirt and tight jeans putting boxes away while Mordecai directs him where to work next.)

Mordecai: Come on, come on, you’re slowing down. You’re acting like an Alter kocker [old person] already, and you’re only 16. Look at me, I’m not even out of breath.

Tony: (In Italian accent) You. Out of breath? Never. I can hear you in my sleep. "APut-a da box-a here. Now move-a da box back over here. Make it look-a-nice. Tina Louise, why don’t-a you roll-a up a- your sleeves and help-a me some-a time."

M: Tony, you’ve rolled your sleeves up far enough for both of us. Look, my father is training me to take over this joint from him, so I’ve got to practice my management skills. Anyway, you’re a regular mezomorph. You ought to pay me for all this exercise. Look at you, you’re an Adonis. Chicks love you. You can’t get away from them–especially in those pants. If they were any tighter, you’d need paint remover to take them off. Am I right?

T: Sure, sure. Keep-a talking. Dat’s a what you’re good at. But I tell you. I’m a no interested in any of these Shushan Shetl girly-girls. I know there’s a special-a girl out there to be my numero uno–My First Lady.

M: Whose on first?

T: I dunno know.

M: No, I don’t know’s on third base.

T: What?

M: No, what’s on second.

T: What’s on second?

M: That’s not a very far drive. (T gives dirty look to M.) Hey, that reminds me, since I just got my chariot license, pops wants me to drive out to the ‘burbs to pick up my cousin, what’s her name. I don’t really know her, she’s a distant cousin. But I hear she’s grown into a knock-out and she’s comin’ to the dance tonight. You’ll love her. She’s real tough for a girl. She got kicked out of heder [Jewish school] for being a Reconstructionist, she put on tefillin–like a dominatrix. Maybe she’s who you’re looking for.

T: What’s her name?

M: Right.

T: Just what’s her name?

M: Sure, my cousin.

T: But who?

M: No, who’s on first.

T: But what’s her name?

M: What’s on second. I thought we went over this.

T: (Grabs his face.) Look at me. Look at me. This is important. Concentrate. Her name. Tell me her name.

M: I don’t know. (To the audience.) Both: Third base.

M: Just look at this picture. (Shows Tony, lightning effects and thunder sounds.)

T: Mama mia. She’s the Mona Lisa. I’ve just been-a hit wit the thunder bolt. I must-a meet her. You must-a introduce-a me today.

M: But I can’t remember her name. What’ll I say?

T: Ah, you think-a you’re so smart. Just-a point to her and say A-Look Tony, my wonderful friend, there’s the prettiest girl in all of Persia, and she’ll blush and say AWho, me-a? And I’ll say: A-Who else? I’m Tony. Whisper your name in my ear so nobody can steal you away from me.

M: You know, my friend, that just may work. (M exiting says to himself) What is her name? (Leaves Tony alone staring at picture. Kisses it).

Song: Who-me-a?

Tony (background voices), to the tune of "Maria."

The most wonderful name I’ve never heard
Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a
With all the names in the world, this is so absurd
(Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a)
Who me-a, I’ll soon meet a girl named Who me-a
And suddenly, that name will never be the same to me.
Who me-a, I can’t miss a girl named Who me-a,
And suddenly, I’ve found how lovely a pronoun can be.
Who me-a! Say it loud and there’s Klezmer playing
(To audience) Pardon me if it sounds like I’m dreying
Who me-a, I’ll never stop saying, Who me-a,
Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a,
Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a, Who me-a
Say it loud and there’s Klezmer playing
(To audience) Stop clucking your tongue and oy veying
Who me-a, I’ll never stop saying, Who me-a
The silliest name I’ve never heard: Who me-a


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