Review: ‘A Bronx Tale’ at Longacre Theatre

By Jonathan Spira on 8 December 2016
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If you’re a fan of “Goodfellas,” “The Sopranos,” and “West Side Story,” there’s a lot you’ll recognize in “A Bronx Tale,” the musical that opened last week at the Longacre Theatre.

Indeed Beowulf Boritt’s set is so realistic – the Belmont Avenue area of the Bronx – that you are surprised that the concessionaire isn’t selling cannoli.

Those are the good points – but from the start, the musical is simply awkward and doesn’t ring true.

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The story revolves around Calogero Lorenzo Alfredo Romano Anello (Bobby Conte Thornton), a young boy growing up in the 1960s Bronx with his father, a very principled bus driver, and homemaker mom. After he witnesses a shooting, the local wiseguy, Sonny LoSpecchio, takes him under his wing, teaching him to play craps but telling him to better himself at the same time.

Calogero, whom Sonny rechristens “C,” is however, a good soul and finds himself in love with Jane (Ariana Debose), who comes from nearby Webster Avenue. Jane is black and, paralleling the plot of “West Side Story,” no one (except Sonny the mobster) is happy about the romance.

There’s probably a good reason wiseguys don’t usually sing and “A Bronx Tale,” based on Chazz Palminteri’s play and film of the same name, makes a good case for not having a “Goodfellas” or “Sopranos” musical.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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