Set in Belmont during the 1960s, A Bronx Tale follows the life of an impressionable Italian American teenager named Calogero who struggles with following the working class values that were instilled in him and entering the attractive world of organized crime. While being torn between two fatherly figures, his humble biological father and the neighborhood’s flashy mob boss, Calogero’s story also provides powerful insight into the social dynamics of that time period. As racial tensions are running extremely high, the protagonist happens to fall in love with an African American girl even though their relationship is practically forbidden in the community. A Bronx Tale is such a timeless work of art because it allows the audience to relate to Calogero as he grows up with two educations.
Calogero “Chazz” Palminteri came up with the original idea for A Bronx Tale while working as a struggling actor in Los Angeles. He pulled experiences and memories from his own childhood and dramatized them in order to create the play. As Palminteri and his smash hit made their way from Los Angeles to New York, he was given many offers for a movie deal but it wasn’t until Robert De Niro came along that he agreed to turned his one-man show into a film. Acting alongside De Niro, who also made his directing debut for this film, Palminteri served as both screen writer and supporting actor. It is thanks to this special partnership that his vision was finally able to come to life on the big screen.
Palminteri and De Niro decided to join creative forces once again to produce and direct a new take on the classic, turning the film into a musical. Along with co-director Jerry Zaks and composer Alan Menken, they managed to translate the Italian-American coming of age story into a musical worthy of Broadway. Menken’s music in A Bronx Tale: The Musical enhances the story by adding even more emotion to the already touching narrative. Overall, the reviews and responses have been positive for the new musical with Charles Isherwood of The New York Times saying that “it captures both the milieu it evokes and the colorful characters who populate it with a buoyancy and humor which won me over.”
Not only is it a fantastic spectacle but it is also an endearing story that highlights issues including organized crime, racial strife, cultural differences, and what it means to make the right choice. Get your tickets to the see A Bronx Tale: The Musical live at Longacre Theatre today!