Reflections, of “A Bronx Tale”
edited: Sunday, October 21, 2007
By Robert Amoroso
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2007
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I’ve just completed this article for Broowaha New York Edition, as always your comments are always welcomed, regards Amo.
Reflections, of “A Bronx Tale”
by Robert Amoroso
October 21, 2007
Going to the theater in this town is always an incredibly enlightening and emotional experience for me. Perhaps it’s the bright lights of Broadway that still excites the kid within me, or perhaps the storyteller peeking out from behind the writer, urging me to tell my story. Whatever it is its always present, tugging at my sleeve.
This weekend my lady and I attended the opening of “A Bronx Tale”, starring Chazz (Calogero) Palminteri. It’s a tale of coming of age a “West Side Story” if you will, for Italians. Of course, unlike “West Side Story”…“A Bronx Tale” in truth is a very personnel story that mirrors my own life, and of that kid, who spoke of “wasted talent” and of the tug of war, between the blurred lines of good and evil.
I first had the privilege of seeing “A Bronx Tale” back in 1989 when it made its debut as an off Broadway production, and quickly established Palminteri as a serious and gifted writer, and later as a talented actor playing opposite the legendary Robert De Niro. However, unlike the movie version with its array of diverse characters, this current production of “A Bronx Tale” goes back to its original origins, as a “one man” play.
Sitting once again as I did in 89, in a darkened theater watching Palminteri’s spell binding performance, I couldn’t help but reflect again on my own Bronx tale. Growing up in the 50’s on Belmont Avenue, in a tightly knit ethnic neighborhood, divided by invisible racial boundary lines of ignorance and fear. And while the scripts may differ slightly between the actual and imagined, this tale is truly the way it was.
The neighborhood was all encompassing; the 2 ½-mile stretch of real estate that went from Arthur Avenue to Belmont was the only world we knew, we were insulated, protected from insurgents. No one from the outside world dared to venture in. Like the character Calogero, for me, it was truly a time of coming of age, and if you were smart enough or in my case had parents who would follow you to the pool hall and drag you out, then you stood a better then even chance that you’d end up all right.
A “Bronx Tale” is a look back at a slice of life that has long since passed, and while the characters depicted in the movie or in the play, may be fictional, in truth they’re a mirrored image of the people I grew up with and knew. Colorful characters with nicknames to match, “Pepper Nose”, “Do Do”, “Johnny Fat”, “Pete the Book”, “Willie Mays”, the list goes on and on.
Chazz Palminteri's gripping depiction of a multi-facetted and complex street wise neighborhood tough guy who commits a brutal murder that’s witnessed by a young boy, gives a brilliantly gritty performance, as he masterfully glides his way through a total of 18-characters while at the same time narrating the storyline.
After the performance, I had an opportunity to speak with him briefly, and share my own Bronx tale of growing up on Belmont Avenue. He listened graciously and smiled, saving his voice for his next performance. However, what truly impressed me was his availability. Even after a two-hour performance his sense of giving something back, told me something about the man himself.
A Bronx Tale is a story of neighborhood on the verge of change, about a life long friendship between a young and impressionable teenager and of a powerful mob connected wise guy, and of a fathers unconditional love and finally about the choices we make in life…”The saddest thing in this world is wasted talent”.
Copyright © 2007 Amo
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