May 30th, 2018
Chazz Palminteri, you know that guy - he's been in over 55 movies, he's friends with Robert De Niro, taken a stab at directing some top TV shows. Yes Chazz - the guy who looks like a God Father replica but you'd still want to hang out with him all day and eat cannoli. Well, that guy has an extraordinary story! It all starts in the Bronx when he was just a little boy and witnessed a murder that ultimately lead to him becoming BFFs with the local mobster. Yes, you read that correctly.
A Bronx Tale came to life when Chazz wrote a monologue in 1989 about his upbringing on the streets in the Bronx (he was a struggling actor at the time), the monologue lead to the Off-Broadway play and then on to a movie, which Robert De Niro starred in as the father and made his directorial debut. Chazz wrote the screenplay and insisted he play Sunny, the mobster with a heart of gold who took young Chazz under his wing much to the dislike of his dad. Fast forward to Chazz writing the book and starring in the Broadway musical rendition of A Bronx Tale. Yep, he is the first in Broadway history to write and star in the Broadway play, feature film and musical. De Niro, being a good friend, stepped in and co-directed the production with the esteemed Jerry Zaks (who is an inductee to the Theatre Hall of Fame). I guess Chazz still has the ability to draw in powerful players!
As we follow the life of this young boy becoming a man, we see just how a neighborhood, the people, and your family mould you. When Calogero realizes that Jane is one of the great ones, he says; "You're perfect...But wait, can you make sauce." It's hilarious and sums up the leaping nature of love, and the little voice from our past which we can chose to listen to and be haunted by or ignore it and have some fun.
A Bronx Tale has it all! The writing is honest, comical and nostalgic, the music by Alen Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater capture this unique Italian-American culture during the 1960s and bring to life the prejudices between white and black, and necessary changes that lead us here today. It is not often you see such a diverse audience on Broadway but there was a mix of ages, cultures and races - and it all contributed to the overall experience of the show. I can only hope this soon becomes the norm!
We repeatedly hear the message from Calogero's father Lorenzo, that the saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever. Chazz Palminteri has clearly lived by that advice. This is not just any old tale, this is A Bronx Tale, and it is wonderful!
View our show pages for more information about A Bronx Tale, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
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