Chazz Palminteri has brought his critically-acclaimed one-man show – “A Bronx Tale” – to Las Vegas. The semi-autobiographical story follows the adventures of Calogero ‘C’ Anello, a young Italian-American boy growing up in the 1960s in a working-class neighborhood of the Bronx.
The play debuted in 1989 in Los Angeles and then moved to New York where it had a critical and commercially successful run off-Broadway, eventually leading to a movie deal. In 1993, the film premiered with Palminteri playing the role of mobster Sonny LoSpecchio and Robert De Niro playing Calogero’s father, Lorenzo Anello.
In 2007 Palminteri revived the stage version of “A Bronx Tale” on Broadway. After a four-month run, the show went on tour leading to its current limited engagement in Vegas at the Venetian Resort & Casino.
“I thought there was a whole new generation of people who hadn’t had a chance to see,” Palminterei said, talking about the impetus behind reviving the play.
“A Bronx Tale” focuses on Calogero’s life, exploring his relationships with his father and also Sonny, the local mobster who has befriend Calogero and becomes the boy’s hero and secondary father figure. Beyond telling an entertaining story, “A Bronx Tale,” becomes an allegory for life, exploring topics like friendship, love, racism, temptation, hate, power, honor, responsibility and the consequences of our choices.
“’A Bronx Tale’ is one of those stories that just grabs you from the start and places you right in the world Chazz Palminteri grew up in during the 1960s,” said Jason Gastwirth, corporate vice president of entertainment for Las Vegas Sands Corp. “Chazz brilliantly evokes a bygone area of hustlers, goodfellas and charismatic mob bosses who ruled their neighborhood with both compassion and ruthlessness.”
What makes the show even more amazing is that Palminteri performs all 18 characters that appear in the show, sliding effortlessly from the whining patter of loser degenerate gambler Eddie Mush into the commanding tones of mobster Sonny LoSpecchio.
Palminteri makes these transformations on a stage sparsely decorated with little more than a streetlight, the facade of two buildings – an apartment and a bar – and a chair.
Palminteri inhabits each character crafting a story that speaks to anyone who has struggled through adolescent and sought to define themselves in relationship to a father, a hero and the world.
“It’s really more visceral (than the movie),” Palminteri said of his one-man show. “I am the guy, I am ‘C,” I am Calogero. So when you see me do it, it’s kind of special.”
Catch “A Bronx Tale” at the Venetian at 8 p.m. on May 1-6 and May 8-9.