Arts & Entertainment

World Premiere of A Bronx Tale: The Musical At Paper Mill Playhouse

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Nick Cordero (Sonny) and Chazz Palminteri Credits: Jonathan Sym
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The Palminteri Family: Gabriella Rose, Chazz, Gianna Ranaudo Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Curtain Call Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Curtain II Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Final bows Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Nora Menken and Alan Menken (Music) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Jerry Zaks (Co-Director) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Sergio Trujillo (Choreographer) and Jack Noseworthy Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Glenn Slater (Lyrics) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Kirstin Tucker, Joey Sorge, Brittany Conigatti and Kaleigh Cronin Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director, Paper Mill) and Rick Davis Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Shanice Williams and Shayne Miller (Dir. of Public Relations, Paper Mill) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Faye Fisher and Jerry Zaks Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Joshua Colley, Isaiah Tyrelle Boyd, Vincenzo Faruolo Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Joey Sorge, Ted Brunetti, Michael Barra, Jonathan Brody and Paul Salvatoriello Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Heather Jenquine and Rick Davis Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Kaleigh Cronin (Ensemble) and John De Simini (Professional musician, played sax with the orchestra) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Deborah Gilbert Smith, Samuel Dantowitz, Fred Smith and Agnes Sym Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Lucia Giannetta (Rosina), Joshua Colley (Young Calogero), Jason Gotay (Calogero) and Richard H. Blake (Lorenzo) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Richard H. Blake (Lorenzo), Chazz Palminteri and Lucia Giannetta (Rosina) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Kim Dodson and Eean Sherrod Cochran Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Ted Brunetti and Kaleigh Cronin Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Nick Cordero (Sonny), Ted Brunetti and Joey Sorge Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Jason Gotay (Calogero) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Chazz Palminteri and Agnes Sym Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Jess LeProtto, Dominic Nolfi, Corey Mosello and Keith White Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Chazz Palminteri Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Aisha Jackson, Kirsten Tucker, Chazz Palminteri, Brittany Conigatti, Kim Dodson and Trista Dollison Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Coco Jones (Jane) and Jason Gotay (Calogero) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Samuel Dantowitz, Chazz Palminteri, Lana Picciano and John Zeitoun (Publicity Coordinator, Paper Mill) Credits: Jonathan Sym
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MILLBURN, NJ – Paper Mill Playhouse took us back in time to the 1960s with its performance of "A Bronx Tale: The Musical"--to a summer evening on the corner of 187th Street and Belmont Avenue in the Bronx, where you could hear doo-wop harmonies on nearly every corner, muffling at least temporarily the turbulent times and racial tensions of the era.

This semi-autobiographical story of Chazz Palminteri’s childhood takes place in a working class Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, where loyalties to family and friends are taken seriously and sometimes in conflict. A Bronx Tale is a universal story of a young boy, Calogero, as he grows into his teenage years caught between the love of a kind, working class father and his fascination with a sophisticated local mobster and father figure.  

Palminteri's birth name is Calogero.

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The musical, which was adapted by Palminteri’s 1989 one-man show and later made into a film in 1993 by Robert De Niro, premiered at the beloved Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ to a sold out theatre.   The iconic De Niro directed and starred in the film version of A Bronx Tale and co-directs the musical with Tony-winning Broadway veteran Jerry Zaks.  With Alan Menken composing the music, lyrics by Glenn Slater and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, this is the Ivy League of Broadway talent in a single show.

The marquee names don’t stop there.  Performing on stage were some of Broadway’s currently leading and best-known thespians of popular shows like Jersey Boys, Les Miserable, Spiderman and Wicked

Jason Gotay plays the older Calogero and our narrator as the story unfolds to a shooting over a parking spot in the street.  Joshua Colley plays the younger Calogero and doesn’t give up Sonny, played by Nick Cordero, for the murder.

Young Calogero is torn between his father Lorenzo played by Richard H. Blake and his loyalty to Sonny.  As the older Calogero later starts having feelings for Jane, a black girl from a different neighborhood played by Coco Jones, he then feels the pressure from his friends and struggles with advice from his father and new father figure.

The performance was absolutely fantastic and the Paper Mill has certainly outdone itself by attracting such talent to Millburn.  Gotay, Cordero, Blake and the ensemble balance humor, tragedy and affection with memorable songs and wonderful choreography. 

The entire production is extremely well done. The scenery moves with a seamless flow, the costumes impeccable to the era and the music and songs are wonderfully expressive.  Strong voices and fun choreography make for a persuasive reason to catch this show before it ends. 

There’s no definitive decision whether A Bronx Tale: The Musical will head to Broadway after its run in Millburn.   If the reviews thus far are any indication of its potential commercial success, it certainly should be Broadway bound.

Note:  Click images for 4X viewing.

 

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