Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Bronx Tale

photo: Joan Marcus

***1/2 (...out of five stars)
Walter Kerr

Would someone who is obsessed with Kiki and Herb and who listed Xanadu as his favorite musical of 2007 be able to connect to a one man play about growing up around gangsters in the Bronx? Well it IS Chazz Palminteri and he was in Bullets Over Broadway- which means he can do no wrong- so I was open to giving it a shot. About a boy dipping his toe in the water of organized crime and the father who intervenes, Chazz presented this mostly fictional story as though it were an intensely personal memoir. Though the synopsis touts that Mr. Palminteri plays eighteen people, it was really eighteen variations on one streetwise tough guy who says "whasssamaddawitchyou?!" a lot. It would have been fun to see him play the black teen girlfriend but I don't assume tough guys from the Bronx do that sort of thing. What I really connected to was the local color of the piece. Chazz is a Bronx native and his script and performance were loaded with nuance that gave us a three-dimensional tour of a specific place and time. I feel like a more seasoned New Yorker having seen this production. Any one person plays about Staten Island out there? Bring it.

Also blogged by: [Patrick]

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