Ralph Macchio & Mario Cantone to Star in Reading of Charles Messina's New Comedy A ROOM OF MY OWN, 3/17

Ralph Macchio & Mario Cantone to Star in Reading of Charles Messina's New Comedy A ROOM OF MY OWN, 3/17

Ralph Macchio and Mario Cantone will headline the cast of a special industry reading of A Room of My Own, the anticipated new comedy written and directed by Charles Messina. Mr. Macchio and Mr. Cantone will be joined by a cast that includes Colin Critchley, Gina Ferranti, Kendra Jain, and Johnny Tammaro. The invitation only reading is set for Monday, March 17, 2014 on the Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street).

Charles Messina's hilarious semi-autobiographical comedy, A Room of My Own, revolves around a writer's story of growing up in his wacky Italian-American family living in a small tenement apartment in late 1970s Greenwich Village. Following in the grand tradition of playwrights like Neil Simon, who used their own early family lives as inspiration to create indelible and uniquely American Broadway hits, Messina has crafted a feel-good, warm-hearted adult comedy with huge laughs and a big heart.

A Room of My Own is presented by two-time Tony Award-winning producers Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman who have assembled a team creative team that includes Michael Hotopp (Set), Amy Jacobs (General Manager, Bespoke Theatricals) and Michael Cassara (Cassara Casting) to begin the process of bringing the play to Broadway in the near future.

Ralph Macchio is an American actor perhaps best known for his roles as Daniel LaRusso in the "Karate Kid" films, Eugene Martone in "Crossroads," Billy Gambini in "My Cousin Vinny," and Johnny Cade in "The Outsiders." He is remembered by television audiences for his recurring role as Jeremy Andretti in the fifth season of the comedy-drama "Eight Is Enough." He also appeared on the television comedy "Ugly Betty" in the recurring role of Archie, a local Queens politician, and as himself in the HBO series, "Entourage." He also competed on the twelfth season of "Dancing with the Stars." Macchio has appeared in dozens of feature films and television shows, most recently in the popular sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" and in the acclaimed film "Hitchcock" as "Psycho" screenwriter Joseph Stefano, co-starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Jessica Biel and Toni Collette. No stranger to the stage, Macchio performed the leading role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to great acclaim throughout the U.S.

Mario Cantone is a comic writer and actor with numerous appearances on Comedy Central including "Chappelle's Show," and audiences loved him as Anthony Marentino on "Sex and the City." His style is fast-paced and energetic, with much of his humor coming from his impersonations of various characters ranging from his family members, to celebrities, including impressions of Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Bruce Springsteen, and others. Cantone is also a regular stage performer with numerous Broadway credits. He made his Broadway debut in 1995 as replacement for the role of Buzz in the Tony Award-winning play, Love! Valour! Compassion! Later that year, he returned to Broadway in a revival of Shakespeare's The Tempest. As Cantone gained popularity and a cult following, he created his own one-man show for Broadway, An Evening with Mario Cantone, which he also wrote. A year later, Cantone starred in the lead role of The Violet Hour, which playwright Richard Greenberg had written specifically for him. In 2004, Cantone starred in the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins as Samuel Byck. His latest Broadway appearance was in his second one-man show, Laugh Whore, which he also wrote. Laugh Whore received a Tony Award nomination for Best Special Theatrical Event.

Charles Messina is a playwright, screenwriter and director, born in Greenwich Village, of Italian-American descent. He attended Xavier High School and then later, New York University. Known for his deconstructive take on biographical subjects, Messina's most notable stage work as director includes the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway plays Cirque Jacqueline, about the life of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Mercury: The Afterlife and Times of a Rock God, a monodrama written by Messina about Queen's front man Freddie Mercury. In 1999, Actor Found Dead, a one-act play written and directed by Messina about actor James Hayden (who Messina, as a child, had seen in American Buffalo), debuted at the John Houseman Studio Theatre in New York City and was subsequently optioned for a major motion picture. For the big screen, Messina has written They're Just My Friends, which was released in Fall 2006 and Spy starring Vincent Pastore, Frank Vincent, and Ben Curtis. In 2007, Messina's play Merging starring Jason Cerbone, Gina Ferranti and Ernest Mingione won Best Play in The Players' Theater's Shortened Attention Span Theater Festival in Greenwich Village. Messina also directed the film version of Merging, which was released in 2009. Messina has directed the off-Broadway productions of Rockaway Boulevard by Richard Vetere, The Accidental Pervert by Andrew Goffman (now in its 4th Year), and Art Metrano's Accidental Comedy, as well as a staged reading of his own script Younger, starring Joe Piscopo. Messina wrote the book My Father, My Don, about the life of Genovese Capo James "Jimmy Nap" Napoli and his son Tony Napoli, in collaboration with Tony Napoli. It was released by Beckham Publications Group and is currently available at Barnes & Noble and other major retail bookstores. Messina is currently collaborating with Dion DiMucci on a musical about the singer's life called The Wanderer.

Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman are Tony Award-winning Broadway producers. Since 2005 they have produced 27 plays and 14 musicals for Broadway, London's West End, Off-Broadway, regional theaters and national and international festivals plus many private and corporate special events. They are producers of the first-ever Broadway revival of the musical Pippin, which won the 2013 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award for Best Musical Revival. Their production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play. Other recent credits include the Broadway productions of the new Gershwin musical Nice Work If You Can Get It starring Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara, which won 3 Tony Awards and received 10 Tony Award nominations, Bonnie & Clyde (3 Tony Award nominations) and Kander and Ebb's final musical collaboration, The Scottsboro Boys (12 Tony Award nominations); The Judy Show starring Judy Gold and Leslie Jordan's My Trip Down The Pink Carpet both Off Broadway; and Andrew Lloyd Webber's By Jeeves and My Trip Down The Pink Carpet in London's West End. They are producing the current London production of The Scottsboro Boys which recently won the London Critic's Circle Award for Best Musical, and are in pre-production for Broadway productions of a new comedy, A Room of My Own by Charles Messina, and for a new dance musical, Daryl Gray's Pirates! They are also producing the highly-anticipated immersive production of the legendary Carrie the Musical, the 70th Anniversary Broadway revival of the classic American musical On the Town, and the upcoming major concert of Andrew Lippa's "I Am Harvey Milk," at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

Photo by Walter McBride

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