Last weekend, I was invited to come and see A Bronx Tale in New York City. What a treat! I was privileged to have the opportunity to see the autobiographical one-man show written and starring Chazz Palminteri a few years ago and I loved it. I was really interested to see how it would translate to a musical on Broadway.
The show reflects the story of Calogero (Chazz Palminteri in real life), a young boy growing up in the Bronx in the 1960s. Living in a predominantly Italian neighborhood with his working class parents, he witnesses a murder at nine years old. Being the only identifiable witness, he is pulled in by the cops to point out the suspect, who is actually a mob-boss, Sonny. He does not turn him in, however, and shortly thereafter, the mafia leader befriends Calogero, aka “C”, despite his father’s wishes.
As he grows up, we see the inner conflict of which path to take–the hardworking example his father sets for him or for the flashy lifestyle of the mafia. I really enjoyed the exploration of the relationships between “C” and both his father and Sonny. Both men truly love him and want what is best for him. “C” must discover for himself what that road looks like. To add to the strife, he also falls in love with a girl who is black. At that time, segregation and discrimination were very much alive and well within the Bronx. We see Calogero learn about who he is and what he is willing to fight for all on stage before our eyes.
The tale is portrayed through great acting, song and dance on stage. The sets are really simple, yet creative, and you easily find yourself transplanted to an era long ago in a small little Italian-American neighborhood. The music is written by Alan Menkin with lyrics by Glenn Slater. We, of course, recognize music from Menkin from the likes of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, so you know you are in for a treat. I liked how the music really reflected the time period and was very catchy. The actors were really amiable, charming, and well cast.
The show was quick-paced and a nice mash up of West Side Story meets The Godfather. It was an excellent way to spend an evening and I highly recommend it to you. A Bronx Tale is playing now at the Longacre Theatre in New York City and you can learn more about it and pick up tickets for yourself by visiting A Bronx Tale online.
*we were invited to see the show to facilitate a feature. All opinions are my own.