VOL. 23 - NO. 44
DEC 9 - 16, 2018
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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: "A Bronx Tale" - Fast, Funny, and Very Entertaining

Nov 30, 2018
by Kent Clancy
"A Bronx Tale," currently playing at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco through December 23, originally written without music, is based the early life of playwright Chazz Palminteri, who grew up in the Bronx. It is based on true events and characters in Palminteri’s life. This current musical version of the story has a cast of over twenty, and features a dozen or so songs and dance routines.

The time is the early 1960’s and the musical numbers reflect the music of that time but were written for this play. The setting is a tough Bronx neighborhood (hence the frequent use of the “F” word), where if you are not Italian you are not welcome there. The play is about growing up in that neighborhood.

As a youngster of 8 or so Calogero was witness to an argument between two men over a parking space. One of the men started beating the other with a baseball bat. Sunny, the local mafia guy arrived and shot and killed the man with the bat. In the play, as in real life, and Calogero tells the police he cannot identify the shooter.

The mafiosi understandably takes a liking to Calogero and influences him as he grows up, while the boy’s father is not comfortable with that friendship and keeps telling the youngster that the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

Based on the one-man show that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical centers around a young man caught between the ffather heloves and the mob boss he'd love to be. Featuring an original doo-wop score, this is a tale about respect, loyalty, love, and above all else: family.

Told with songs such as “Belmont Avenue” (occupied by Italians), “Webster Avenue” (occupied by African Americans), and “One of the Great Ones” (Sonny’s advice to Calogero when he wants to date an African American girl), the production is fast, funny, sad and very entertaining, as demonstrated by the full house and the audience response.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Giovanni DiGabriele, Sean Bell, Joseph Sammour, Frankie Leoni and Joshua Michael Burrage are featured in "A Bronx Tale." (Photo credit: Joan Marcus)


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