Michael Tester, an ex-cop who grew up on Long Island, has been wary of police since he started his second career in theater. The Drama Police, that is.
Tester, author of such spoofs as "Hollywood Exposed!" and "Amoebas on Parade" and co-author of "The Awesome '80s Prom," has turned again to high school teens with "Most Likely To: The Senior Superlative Musical," premiering Saturday in Greenwich Village.
But it's not just any high school and these are not just any teens. Looking to create an alternative to such overexposed titles as "Grease" and "High School Musical," Tester cast 12 talented teenagers he has directed and taught at Syosset's Long Island High School for the Arts. All are now in their first or second year as college theater majors. "That's why we're doing it in January," Tester says. "They're on semester break."
Arts high schools, which have been Tester's offstage gig for 20 years, require students to prepare age-appropriate material. Yet school administrators are leery of controversy. "That leaves kids caught between the First Amendment and the Drama Police," Tester says. "But this show almost wrote itself. I didn't have to guess what kids are saying; I just listened. I think we struck a balance between David Mamet and Disney. Everybody's been to high school, so we relate to shows like 'Glee' " - and now, he hopes, "Most Likely To."
The musical runs through Jan. 24 at the Players Theater, 115 MacDougal St., where then-preteen Britney Spears made her stage debut in "Ruthless" with Long Islander Natalie Portman. For tickets ($25, $15 with a student ID), try theatermania.com or 212-352-3101.