A Bronx Tale
Filling the stage with more than a dozen characters, Palminteri has created a deeply personal and extremely moving show about growing up in the Bronx. Although the actor has been performing this play for decades, the performance I attended felt entirely fresh, as if he were performing it for the first time. Palminteri is currently touring the country in A Bronx Tale; when it comes to solo shows, this is one of the best.
Though also recommended, the movie doesn't begin to approximate how electric Chazz Palminteri is onstage. Without giving too much away, A Bronx Tale chronicles Palminteri's life from a child to a young adult, with two significant father figures: his actual father Lorenzo and the gangster Sonny, who ruled the neighborhood and took the boy under his wing as his personal protégé.
While it seems in the film that these people are just characters in a story, onstage, with Palminteri performing multiple roles, they all come to life as real people who shaped this man's life. When he speaks of his friend Sonny, the actor's every word and gesture allow the audience to see just how much Sonny meant to him. This transparency gives A Bronx Tale an immediacy and significance that is only be hinted at in the film.
Chazz Palminteri performs with a brio and electricity that makes the audience hang on his every word and, playing over a dozen people, he turns the show into a vivid and unforgettable evening of theatre. Jerry Zaks is the director, and he does a terrific job of bringing vitality and nuance to the play's every moment.
While Palminteri makes a reference late in the play that his story is just "another Bronx tale," he is wrong: by bringing such specificity of detail and emotion to this powerful and emotional work, Chazz Palminteri makes this story a one-of-a-kind. And, in that uniqueness, his story attains a transcendence that makes A Bronx Tale a treasured theatrical experience.
A Bronx Tale played the Foxwoods Resort Casino on September 6, 2014. For more information about the schedule of Chazz Palminteri's A Bronx Tale throughout the country, please visit www.chazzpalminteri.net. Also, visit www.foxwoods.com for a list of upcoming shows at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.