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Exuberant tweens flock to Zac Efron screening

Zac Efron (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Poor Zac Efron. The "High School Musical" star came to D.C. on Tuesday to lobby for the arts and a private screening of his first grown-up movie, "Me and Orson Welles." But he couldn't escape his tween idol past: A mob of adoring preteens in the audience (guests of their parents) went nuts when the actor, 22, appeared onstage at the Loews Georgetown theater for a panel discussion with co-star Claire Danes, director Richard Linklater and Americans for the Arts' Robert Lynch.

"You have to calm down," Linklater told the front row filled with girls -- some weeping, some squealing, others Twittering like crazy.

Efron, to his credit, did a masterly job of keeping the teen madness at bay. "He sweetly ignored it," reports our colleague Valerie Strauss, who moderated the panel. "He handled it well."

By The Reliable Source  |  November 12, 2009; 1:01 AM ET
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