A Bronx Tale musical travels the mean streets of the Bronx

A Bronx Tale musical travels the mean streets of the Bronx

Choices. We all have to make them everyday. But imagine that you are a nine-year-old Italian boy.  Your father is a bus driver, he is a good man, an honest man but not a rich man.

You live in a tough neighborhood in the Bronx. You witness a cold-blooded murder from your Belmont Avenue front stoop. You see it all. You know who did it. You are brought in to identify the killer but you’ve learned not to be a stool pigeon. 

So you do not tell.

Forever grateful, Mafia boss and hit man Sonny takes you under his wing, teaching you the ways of the street where you see more money than you’ve seen in your whole life.

Torn between the temptations of organized crime and big money and the values of an honest, hardworking father, you must make a choice.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Photo: Joan Marcus

Set this to music, dance, smoke, haze, gun-fire, molotov cocktails and forbidden love played out on the mean streets of the 1960’s Bronx. That in a nutshell is A Bronx Tale–the musical adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s one-man play that premiered at the Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse to critical and popular acclaim in Spring 2016.

Based on the show that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical, with an original doo-wop score, is a beautifully told tale about respect, loyalty, love, and family.

A Bronx Tale has expanded from the original performed by a single actor into a cast of two dozen. 

Bronx Tale. Photo: Joan Marcus

Bronx Tale. Photo: Joan Marcus

The talented cast features Sonny (Joe Barbara) the mafia boss who has a soft spot in his heart for the boy young Calogero (Frankie Leoni) who he calls” C.” Sonny brings “C” into his gang of colorful characters, typical of the times that includes: Jojo The Whale, Eddie Mush, Rudy the Voice, Tony ten to-two, Handsome Nick, Crazy Mario and Frankie Coffeecake. 

As the boy grows older (now played by the narrator and older “C” Joey Barreiro) Sonny even schools him on love bringing to life one of the musical’s many catchy tunes, “One of the Great Ones”–as “C” struggles with his passion for a very special African-American girl named Jane (Brianna-Marie Bell)–in a Bronx neighborhood that doesn’t tolerate, black and white relationships.

Jane and "C" Photo: Joan Marcus

Jane and “C” Photo: Joan Marcus

In the meantime, Calogero’s dad Lorenzo (Richard H. Blake, from the original Broadway cast) tries to save him from life on the mean streets  as the boy walks a tightrope between right and wrong and his love for both his real father and Sonny, who is like a father to him.

A Bronx Tale features music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken, and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater. It is directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo.

Rating: 3 stars
What: A Bronx Tale
Where: James James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph
When: Through March 24
Tickets:  $27-$98 with a select number of premium seats available at Broadway in Chicago
Running Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Performance schedule: Tuesdays at 7:30PM Wednesdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM Thursdays at 7:30PM Fridays at 7:30PM Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8:00PM Sundays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM (no evening performance on March 24).

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Filed under: Theater in Chicago

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