Orange County Theatre Reviews

(photo credit: Amy Gettys)

Written by Patrick Chavis

A Bronx Tale, the musical loosely based on actor Chazz Palminteri’s life growing up in the Bronx during the 1960s, had its Southern California premiere at the Stage Door Repertory in Anaheim. Stage Door’s production lacks the tightness and finesses a stripped-down musical version like A Bronx Tale needs. Even die-hard fans would have trouble rekindling old memories from the film or the original play that inspired it.

A Bronx Tale is a coming-of-age story about a young Italian American boy named Calogero who grew up in a primarily Italian neighborhood of the Bronx in the 1960s. Calogero is torn between two fathers, his birth father, Lorenzo, played by Kyle Short, and his somewhat mobster-adopted role model Sonny, played by Nick Charles. He’s also torn by the bigotry between Italian Americans and African Americans at the time, threatening to keep him from what they call a truly great love in the play.

Story:

The film and the original play have such great bones. It’s a story of trying to find your identity and the importance of fathers in our lives, especially for young boys. The families, role models, and communities we grow up in can affect who we become and how we view the world. All this is packed into an often charming but also relatable narrative. Take this excellent story, condense it, water down a lot of the drama, and add some fun songs and you’ve got a perfectly acceptable musical. Plus, with music from Alan Menken, you’ll at least make your money back.

Set:

While the Stage Door Theatre’s entrance is relatively small and humble, it’s surprisingly spacious when you enter the stage area. The set is covered in a solid blue light. Stage left has a spiral staircase. There’s a stage-lifted doorway in the middle and a lit-up lampost to the right. While the set didn’t display much character, it got the job done.

Acting:

The show has some high points, for sure. Niles Gray plays Little Calogero and is adorable on stage. His performance of “I Like It” was a highlight of the production, but it did lack energy.

Another great moment was the song “These Streets.” It ended the first act, and Kyle Short and the ensemble performed it beautifully. Short’s voice traveled so clearly through the audience you couldn’t help but take notice.

Short took this role very seriously, and it shows in the quality of his performance.

Inconsistent sound and singing issues plagued the production throughout.

 

 

Nov 25 – Dec 18, 2022

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Review
6.9 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Story7.5
Acting6.5
Set & Design7
Costumes7
Entertainment6.5
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