Max Bialystock was once again The King of Broadway. He had the world at his chubby little fingertips, but everything he wanted was everything he had. Leopold Bloom and his wife Ulla were the best friends any man could ask for. He just signed on the dotted line for his dream apartment on Park Avenue in New York City, his beloved hometown. As he strode down 42nd Street, he passed the B & B Theatre, the finest theatre in the district, one that he owned with Leo. Tipping his fedora hat to a cute blonde who gave his exuberant air a bright smile, he pushed open the door to his office building. Gazing up the four flights of stairs he knew he'd have to climb, he sighed and hung his head.
"Who needs to go to the gym?" he grumbled. "I just gotta go to work to give myself a heart-attack."
Gripping the worn wooden banister, he went much to quickly up the first flight and a half, took the third very slowly and bounded up the last few before turning the key and moving into the small but functional space he loved. No longer an unkempt and shabbily furnished bachelor pad, the large windows let light in on a room that had seen a great transformation. The desk sat in the same spot, but was organized and polished. A new black telephone, a Tiffany Lamp and a big, comfortable red leather chair that served as his throne completed that area of the space. He'd repainted the bathroom and hung fresh monogrammed towels on chrome bars. An enormous red leather couch that matched the chair sat with it's back to the windows. The piano still sat against the wall. He tossed his favorite hat on the new hat-rack and hung his blazer in the closet instead of throwing it wherever it landed.
He had no idea how much time had passed before the door swung open. His head jerked up from his ledger to find Franz Liebkind stumbling over the threshold.
"Max, I have come to rescue you!" he declared, his voice thick with a German accent. He wore his traditional Lederhosen and clunky boots, but did not have a hat on today. His goofy friend always made him smile.
"Rescue me? From what?" Max asked, his own voice thick with the accent of the City and a chuckle. It was only then he realized it was lunch time. The whole morning had flown by. He tossed down his pen and ran his hand through his thick, jet-black hair.
"You und me, ve go eat. Den ve go to the auditions," the Nazi-sympathizer said proudly. "You did not forget zat, ya?"
"Nine, I deed not forget zat," he teased, faking a German accent before standing up and moving from behind the desk. He crossed the room, going behind the couch to close and lock the window.
"Ever since Mr. Leo and Ms. Ulla went to Rio for their anniversary, you have not been yourself. Ja vol?"
The middle-aged man paused mid action. Truth was he missed The Blooms. They were truly his only family. Sure Franz and Roger de Bris and Carmen Giya were like brothers to him, but he always felt incomplete without the younger lanky man and buxom Swedish blonde by his side.
"It's not like I don't have a life," he shrugged, turning from his finished task to his friend. "I have plenty of friends."
"Your life is dat book und dat stage... Ju should try to meet a voman... or at least meet oder peoples... Expand your army."
"Ya think?" he asked, almost to himself.
"Ja," Franz nodded, grinning.
Max furrowed his brow as he settled his hat on his head. "Maybe I'll do that," he nodded. He let Franz go out of the door first before closing and locking it behind them.
After hotdogs and sodas, they headed over to the theatre. The crowd of dancers and singers were excited and did their best, but no one stood out. An hour and a half later, it looked like they would need to set up more times and expand their search for the next big star when a petite brunette stepped out of the wings. Max's heart skipped a beat and then began to race. His eyes widened. Confident and at home on the large, empty stage, she swept to the apron. She let her eyes drift from Roger to Carmen to Franz as a smile grew across her lips. Then her eyes met Max's. She froze as her heart skipped a beat and than began to race.