BWW Review: A BRONX TALE: THE MUSICAL at Paper Mill is Sensational

"You've got to do what your heart tells you to do."

-A Bronx Tale: The Musical

Paper Mill Playhouse is presenting A Bronx Tale: The Musical through March 6th. This sensational world premiere musical has a truly engaging story. The book by Chazz Palminteri is based on his young life. Palminteri has performed A Bronx Tale as one-man show and also wrote the screenplay for the 1993 film adaptation in which he co-starred with Robert DeNiro. The new musical is faithful to its origins while it incorporates the thrill of fabulous music by Alan Menken with lyrics by Glenn Slater and snappy dance numbers choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. The show enjoys the extraordinary directing talents of Jerry Zaks and Robert DeNiro who teamed up to bring the production to the Millburn stage.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical is set on Belmont Avenue in the Bronx during the 1960's in an environment of organized crime and racial division. It is the account of an Italian-American youth, Calagero, nicknamed C, who is torn between the values of his traditional, hard-working father Lorenzo and the allure of Sonny, a charismatic, mob-boss father figure who invites C to be a part of his inner circle. And when C becomes attracted to Jane, an African-American girl, life becomes even more complicated. The "coming of age" theme is richly portrayed as it explores neighborhood bonds, family values, love, loyalty and the menace of prejudice.

Paper Mill has assembled a dazzling all-star cast for the inaugural production of A Bronx Tale: The Musical. Leading the company are Jason Gotay as Calogero; Joshua Colley as Young Calogero; Nick Cordero as Sonny; Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo; Lucia Gianetta as Rosina and Coco Jones as Jane. Each of these thespians deliver truly outstanding performances.

Rounding out the cast is a multi-talented ensemble that includes Gilbert L. Bailey II, Joe Barbara, Michael Barra, Isaiah Tyrelle Boyd, Jonathan Brody, Ted Brunetti, Eean Sherrod Cochran, Philip Colgan, Brittany Conigatti, Kaleigh Cronin, Kim Dodson, Trista Dollison, Vincenzo Faruolo, David Michael Garry, Aisha Jackson, Jess LeProtto, Carlos Lopez, Corey Mosello, Dominic Nolfi, Paul Savlatoriello, Christie Schwartzman, Joey Sorge, Kirstin Tucker and Keith White.

The score is memorable and appealing from the opening song, "Belmont Avenue" by Calogero and Ensemble. Captivating numbers include "Roll 'Em" by Sonny, Young Calogero and Ensemble, "Nicky Machiavelli" by Sonny, "Look to Your Heart" by Rosina, "In a World Like This" by Calogero, Jane and Ensemble and the spectacular finale piece, "The Choices We Make" by the Company. Music supervision and arrangements are by Ron Melrose and orchestrations are by Doug Besterman. Jonathan Smith is the Music Director and Johnny Gale is the Period Music Consultant.

The design team has brought the environs of the Bronx to life with scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, hair and wig design by Paul Huntley, make-up design by Anne for Coates. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting, the Fight Coordinator is Robert Westley and the Production Stage Manager is Beverly Jenkins. The Press Representative is Shayne A. Miller.

See A Bronx Tale: The Musical while it is on the Paper Mill Playhouse stage through March 6th. It is a show that is sure to go far and make its mark in musical theater history.

Paper Mill Playhouse is a not-for-profit organization under the direction of Mark. S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director and Todd Schmidt, Managing Director.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are now on sale starting at $32. They may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343 at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn or online at Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. College students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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From This Author Marina Kennedy