In 1960, young Calogero Anello witnesses local mob boss Sonny LoSpecchio kill a man in defense of a friend. When he refuses to tell the police what he saw, Calogero’s silence wins the respect of Sonny, who takes an interest in him and offers his father a high-paying job. However, Calogero’s father, Lorenzo, is less than pleased. An honest bus driver who values hard work, Lorenzo wants his son to have nothing to do with mob activity and forbids him from spending time with Sonny.
Unbeknownst to his father, Calogero secretly continues to see the boss over the years and the two develop a close relationship. Though he is heavily involved in organized crime himself, Sonny encourages Calogero to focus on his studies and avoid the local gangs that are full of young men looking to make trouble.
Calogero’s life is changed one day when he meets Jane Williams, a beautiful African-American woman. Despite their feelings for each other, the relationship is stressed by racial tension, especially after Jane’s brother, Willie, is attacked by a group of young white men. Willie accuses Calogero of being one of the boys who attacked him and, in his anger, Calogero responds with a racial slur. Jane is devastated and leaves with her brother.
When Calogero is mixed up in a violent plot for vengeance after the African-American boys strike back against the white gang, Sonny may be the only one who can keep him alive. But how can Calogero choose between the father that raised him, and the father-figure that has shaped his adolescence?
A Bronx Tale’s path to Broadway has been a long one. The story originated as a one-man play by Chazz Palminteri, a semi-autobiographical production which premiered in Los Angeles before transferring to an Off-Broadway run in 1989. The sold-out production earned Palminteri an Outer Critics Circle Special Award.
The play was translated to the screen in a 1993 film of the same name directed by Robert De Niro, who also played the role of Lorenzo, and then was performed by Palminteri in its original format on Broadway in 2007.
Now, theater-goers can experience A Bronx Tale in a whole new form as a musical on Broadway, which began its run in fall 2016.
Cast and crew introduction
The cast and crew of A Bronx Tale is filled by a number of award-winning stars of the entertainment industry, both on the stage and behind the scenes. The show is co-directed by Hollywood icon Robert De Niro – who also directed the film version – and Jerry Zaks (Sister Act, Little Shop of Horrors). The music for the production was written by Disney legend Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies) with lyrics by Glenn Slater (School of Rock, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid) and Chazz Palminteri, author of the original play, wrote the book.
The cast is led by celebrated members of the theater community who have received rave reviews in previous productions. The complete cast list is as follows:
Richard H. Blake is Lorenzo
Nick Cordero is Sonny
Bobby Conte Thornton is Calogero
Ariana DeBose is Jane
Bradley Gibson is Tyrone
Lucia Giannetta is Rosina
Hudson Loverro is Young Calogero
After a successful trial run at the Paper Mill Playhouse, A Bronx Tale began previews on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on Nov. 3 and officially opens on Dec. 1.
The Longacre Theatre has a capacity of 1,091, with seats divided between orchestra, mezzanine and balcony levels.
A Bronx Tale received largely warm reviews from critics in its premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse prior to its Broadway run:
“… it’s [Nick] Cordero who steals the show. The lanky actor — playing a gangster character not far removed from his Tony-nominated turn in the Woody Allen musical Bullets Over Broadway (which, funnily enough, was also originated by Palminteri onscreen) — perfectly balances charm and menace in his compelling performance. He makes it easy to see why Calogero would be so irresistibly drawn to Sonny, giving this Bronx Tale a memorable emotional resonance.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“The creative team is packed with veteran talent, resulting in an exceptionally slick and skillfully assembled musical…
It’s a winning musical mix with proven appeal on Broadway, in hits like the jukebox musicals Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Jersey Boys. And while the ballads are sometimes stocked with clichés, the atmosphere of the bustling Italian-American neighborhood where the protagonist, Calogero, grows up is captured by Mr. Slater with lively humor.” – The New York Times
“Certainly music enters successfully in places. ‘I Like It’ is wonderful; the crap-game anthem ‘Roll ‘Em’ makes for great fun (Luck for these singing gangsters is young Calogero, not a Lady); and the funky ‘Hurt Someone’ nicely underscores the show’s most tense act-two moments while advancing the drama apace.” – NJ.com
“As C’s mother, Lucia Gianetta [sic] gets a song reprise, giving her thinly drawn character a little more weight and showing that it takes more than one parent to raise a bambino. A new plot reveal also adds a nice twist to Sonny’s relationship to the family. The ensemble of wiseguys manages to land laughs, too, not to mention the occasional baseball bat in the ribs.
It all makes for an entertaining, if restrained, coming-of-age tale — but it could use a few more killer numbers to make a lasting impression.” – Variety