Maestro Please (Script)


Based on a true story, “MAESTRO PLEASE” is the account of the exploits of Barry Meinster a young Jewish teacher in 1970s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Faced with the dismal option of going to the Vietnam War as a 2nd Lieutenant after graduating from Temple University’s ROTC program, Barry elects to become a teacher. With the façade of a man looking like he just got back from Woodstock and soon acting like a Marvel superhero, Barry lands his first teaching job at George Washington Elementary School in South Philly. In a short time, Barry endears himself to the students as a caring educator, peacemaker, and lover of Philadelphia R&B music. Soon he starts living in a housing project across from the school as we find out his mission moves way beyond teaching.

Although a tough as nails type, Maestro faces increasing danger such as snatching a loaded sawed-off shotgun from a teen moments before unloading it on an unaware police officer. Maestro gladly accepts the invitation to join BAPP, an Afro-American Muslim group patrolling Southwark Plaza and the juxtaposed gentrified neighborhood of Queen Village, for camaraderie and protection. At first Maestro is apprehensive about forming an alliance with what might be an antisemitic group, but he is welcomed without hesitation. In a movie highlight, Maestro and BAPP’s leader, Ricardo Rose, fight off members of the Philadelphia Black Mafia from expanding into Southwark.

The crux of the movie is not about some White guy saving a bunch of Black project kids; it’s about a South Philly guy putting his life on the line for a bunch of South Philly kids and how they saved him. Bragging about his City of Brotherly Love, Maestro personifies the South Philly adage that you treat all others like family because “our strength is in our numbers”. The backdrop includes R&B and Rock from the 70s and 80s.

T.H. was Patricia’s nick name in the projects and it stood for Tiny Heinie. Patricia is immediately attracted to Maestro when they meet at the HiHat, the neighborhood bar. The attraction was mutual, and the relation grows with T.H. deeply in love with Maestro and concerned for his well-being. Maestro is very fond of T.H. and finds comfort and support in their friendship. T.H. is dying from cancer and she calls off their relationship rather than having Maestro see her deteriorate. Maestro is heart broken but meets Amy.

Like the Philly movies Rocky and Invincible, this too has an inseparable love story. Maestro meets Amy, the beautiful and dedicated student teacher while working at the elementary school. Against the backdrop of sweet soul music, serene hand- held walks and Maestro’s oft- wild antics the two fall in love. Their union is threatened by her wealthy family’s superficial, perception of Maestro based on his current net worth as well as their overt preference for Amy’s ex-boyfriend who is a well-to-do real estate developer.

The name “Maestro” was given to him by the residents of the housing project, who often mispronounced his name Meinster. However, the moniker could also be attributed to his ability to orchestrate the calamitous outcomes and discord in the name of unifying members of the community. Maestro’s well- meaning efficacy is maligned by his brash, unfiltered outbursts of heartfelt truths aimed at local politicians and people of influence. Publicly, Maestro berates and challenges officials to create equitable opportunities for the youth of Southwark Plaza.







Steve Bradshaw