BWW Review: A BRONX TALE at Hershey Theatre
Hershey Theatre made me an offer I couldn't refuse with their recent production of A Bronx Tale. The musical is based on the hit movie, which was in turn, based on a one man show by Chazz Palminteri .
A Bronx Tale tells the story of young Calogero (Trey Murphy)...a spunky, young boy growing up in the 1960's. Calogero witnesses a mob attack outside his street, but refuses to rat out the culprits. The boy's motives are based in honor, not fear, which endears him to the thugs. Murphy is a great actor, he has just the right balance of toughness and innocence that the role requires.
Little Calogero is treated like a mafia mascot, by tough guy Sonny (Jeff Brooks). Sonny nicknames the boy, "C", and introduces him to gambling, fast cars, and easy cash. Brooks plays Sonny with a stiffness in demeanor and speech. This helps distinguish him from his crew and their looser, less formal demeanor.
Complications arise when C's biological father (Nick Fradiani) begins to worry that the gangsters are luring his son into a life of crime. Fradiani has the best voice in the show, and puts it to use in several numbers that reveal his fears for his son and what he may become,
The second act features a teenage Calogero (Alec Nivin) who must balance his loyalty to his hood friends, with ties to Sonny, and the respect of his father. When he falls in love with a black girl (Kayla Jenerson), these forces collide in a inevitable and destructive manner.
A Bronx Tale is a thrilling and interesting story. It worked very well as a one man show and as a major motion picture. I am not positive that it was the best fit for a Broadway musical. It loses some of its intensity and machisimo through the lens of ballet inspired dance numbers and impressively rhymed lyrics, Songs by Alan Menken are OK, except for a few that sound way too similar those from his earlier hit, Little Shop of Horrors.
Overall, this is a fun show that has something for both fans of the movie and those unfamiliar with the content. It's an "explosive" hit touring the country. Tix and more info can be found here.