Play review

‘A Bronx Tale’


One might wonder how to possibly do a musical with serious overtones like murder, the mob, and mayhem, but Argyle Theatre’s production of “A Bronx Tale,” based on a play by Chazz Palminteri, succeeds, with stunning dance numbers, memorable songs, and a set that takes you for a walk right through the tenements of “the old neighborhood,” complete with neon-lit signs, including the familiar Rexall sign. 

Set in the ‘60s, a volatile time of race riots and turf wars, the story opens with a quartet of guys harmonizing doo-wop tunes on the stoop on the corner of Belmont Avenue in the Bronx. It may have been a tough neighborhood sporting guns and knives and drive-bys, with wise guys’ names like Crazy Mario, Rudy the Voice, Frankie Coffeecake, Tony Ten-to-Two and Jo Jo the Whale, but boy, could they sing! 

We meet the family of young Calogero (roles played alternately by Michael Deaner and Oliver Cirelli), who is taught to look into his heart by his bus driver dad, Lorenzo (Chris Mauro), and take the straight-and-narrow route of good home, family, and job in life instead of the thug life he’s surrounded by in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, Calogero (Christian Musto) grows up to be enamored of the mob leader Sonny (Luke Darnell) and his lifestyle. Sonny, who has a weak spot in his heart for Calogero, though a hard individual, teaches his young protégé in crime to follow his heart when he falls in love with a beautiful Black girl, Jane (Grace Ellis Solomon), from the other side of town on Webster Avenue. Sonny shares the “one key” story: “If she leans over and unlocks your door once, she’s already seated in the car… she’s one of the “great ones” and “a keeper.” 

The singing in the show is top-notch—every voice, whether the doo-wop group or the individual performers. Jane (Solomon) is a standout, as is the young Calogero (Cirelli).  Musical director Jonathan Brenner brought out the best in everyone. The perfect tones of the doo-wop group brought back memories to more than one audience member.  Todd L. Underwood, who directed and choreographed, worked his magic with completely different dance styles reflecting the different personalities of each neighborhood. The recurring themes of loyalty to the neighborhood, to family, and to oneself are explored throughout through the music and dance, with difficult situations and decisions made and resolved. 

The ending of the show during the curtain call had the entire audience up on their feet giving a roaring standing ovation. “A Bronx Tale” is so worth seeing.

It runs through June 16 and tickets are still available. Call today, 631-230-3500 or email the box office at:


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