I feel like I have said this in many shows I review, but I honestly did not know what to expect when I sat down in the Longacre Theatre to watch A Bronx Tale. I did not know it was originally a one man show, and a movie, I am late to the party! It is safe to assume that you are going to watch someone’s tale in the Bronx, Belmont Avenue to be exact.
We follow the story of Calogero. The year is 1960 and we are in a stereotypical Italian “neighborhood.” And what’s a classic neighborhood without some grown men carrying baseball bats and handling some “business”. The young Calogero, played beautifully by Hudson Loverro, witnesses a murder and the show takes off and doesn’t slow down. Calogero decides he’s not a rat and the neighborhoods leader, Sunny, decides he’s one of the guys. Instantly we have a struggle between Sunny, and Calogero’s father. What kind of man will he become?
Did I forget to mention that this show is actually a musical! It’s hard to believe because the show is filled with so much drama, information, and yet the music doesn’t feel forced at all. Some stand out numbers were, Roll em, where we see how Sunny makes a lot of his money, and meet (for lack of a better world) the rest of the mob. Another song I just can’t get out of my head is “I like it” which gives young Calogero a chance to shine and shows us he’s ok with being one of the guys.
We see Calogero grow into a man. And that’s when things get real difficult. The world is changing and so is the neighborhood. Calogero, played by Bobby Conte Thornton does a fantastic job moving this show along, and makes the whole audience fall in love with him. So, it’s obvious he needs a love interest. Enter Jane, a girl from the other side of the neighborhood, Webster Avenue to be exact. Racial tensions rise, fights between the neighborhoods occur, a real Romeo and Juliette vibe.
My only problem with this show was a lot of things we glossed over. I wanted to see more of the love story between Calogero and Jane. I wanted more struggles between Sunny and Lorenzo. I wanted more of Rosina, his mother. I think there might have been too many side plots.
The cast was absolutely amazing. Lorenzo, played by Richard H Blake will absolutely tear your heart out and break it to a million pieces and blow you away with his voice. Lucia Giannetta (Rosina) and Ariana Debose (Jane) both had amazing solos but again, wish I got to see them more! Nick Cordero (Sunny) makes me remember why I will always have a crush on an Italian man. He has such a charm you can’t help but love him and root for him the entire show.
A Bronx Tale has something for everyone. It’s filled with lovely little comedic gems such as a ‘girlfriend test’ and just good ole neighborhood charm that will make anyone reminisce on their youth. This could be… One of the great ones.
Review By: Briana Burnside
Photos By: Joan Marcus