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The Month Ahead

What to see, read and listen to in September

Tony Danza makes the switch from sitcoms to high school Shakespeare

Tony Danza is not being funny. Even if you’re of the opinion that he was never that funny to begin with, you’d have to say he’s being especially not funny right now. “The media,” he says passionately, “are telling kids that education is not important.”

In fairness, the occasion doesn’t call for hilarity. This month sees the publication of the actor’s I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High, a memoir chronicling his stint teaching 10th-grade English at a Philadelphia public school (which was also the subject of a short-lived reality show on A&E).

Danza hit on the idea of becoming a teacher in the throes of a midlife crisis: He’d separated from his wife, and his daytime talk show had been canceled. “Plus, I could smell 60,” he writes, adding, “My dad only lived to be 62.” He says he was gripped by the urge to do something good with his life. “I really did have high hopes for it.”

While some have suggested that Danza became a teacher to kick-start a stalled acting career, he insists that wasn’t the case. “From the first moment I tried to do this, I was worried about just one thing,” he says. “This was their only shot at 10th grade, and they weren’t going to get another if I messed it up. I was scared that I’d bitten off more than I could chew.”

So how does Danza think he measured up in the end? A mixed bag, as it happens. “The kids who were real smart and came in with high grades did a little worse,” he says. “The kids with low grades did a little better.” —CHRIS WRIGHT

Making the Grade
How Tony Danza performed in his book

• Creativity: “I wrote my own creation-myth rap: ‘In the beginning before there even was time / the world was so quiet without even a rhyme … ‘” B

• Authority: “[On the first day of class] I look down and realize I’ve sweated through the front, back and both sides of my pressed light blue dress shirt.” C

• Inspiration: “I stop walking back and forth and implore them, ‘Do your best!'” A

• Discipline: “If some of the tough kids act up, I can always call my camera crew for backup.” D

• Heart: “The sobs come in great choking waves, the tears worse than ever. How can I not return to these kids next year? What’s wrong with me?” A+


THEATER Chaplin (as in, Charlie) gets the musical treatment on Broadway

MOVIES House at the End of the Street: slashy thrills and fancy cinematography, with Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) // Trouble With the Curve, starring Clint
Eastwood as an aging baseball scout

BOOKS Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, in which U.N. go-to guy Kofi Annan ponders human conflict // The Other Woman, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (“You can choose your sin, but you cannot choose your consequences”)

TV “Homeland,” featuring more CIA antics from Claire Danes // “Dexter”—a beloved serial killer returns

MUSIC The electro-pop legends Pet Shop Boys try for the L.A. sound with their 11th studio album, Elysium

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