Reprinted with permission from OnStage Blog (March 8, 2018)
“I had a very specific role in the show: to be the person who listened,” A Bronx Tale lyricist Glenn Slater told me. In listening, he discovered the voice of Belmont Avenue.
A Bronx Tale opened on Broadway in December 2016; and now after 500 plus performances (and a North American Tour just announced), the show is still going strong.
I recently caught up with Slater by phone to discuss the show’s success and the creative process of adapting Chazz Palminteri’s popular film “A Bronx Tale” to Broadway.
Palminteri’s semi-autobiographical story of a young man coming of age in his gritty Italian-American neighborhood in 1960’s is well known to New York area audiences. The story focuses on the struggle for the soul of Calogero (“C”): a young man caught between the glamorous life of the mob boss (Sonny) and the decent blue-collar life of his loving bus driver father (Lorenzo.)
Palminteri first wrote and performed A Bronx Tale as a one-man show in 1989. At Robert De Niro’s urging, Palminteri’s solo show was made into a film in 1993. It was a hit. Palminteri wrote the screenplay, played Sonny and De Niro directed the film and played Lorenzo. The film’s huge success led to the revival in 1997 of Palminteri’s one-man show on Broadway- staged by 4 time Tony award winning Director Jerry Zaks.