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Chazz Palminteri came to Austin to tell the tale first captured in the 1993 film of the same name. A Bronx Tale also starred Robert De Niro, and remains on many “best films of all time”. To compare it fairly to a stage version in which Chazz Palminteri plays every role would be futile. That doesn’t mean your brain won’t try. In order to appreciate this night of theater, I would urge you to try not to. On its own, A Bronx Tale the play is a strong theatrical accomplishment for the actor whose life it is based on. An opportunity to showcase his acting chops with no less than 15 characters and overall, he pulls it off. His strongest character is Sonny, who he played in the film, and he inhabits him like a second skin. It helps, no doubt, that Sonny has the most colorful and complex profile and the best lines-both comic and profound. His weakest, is Calogero, or “C”, or, himself. The voice he uses to portray his younger self is grating, sometimes whiny, and the persona doesn’t seem to mature even as the boy does and found myself wishing he didn’t dominate so much of the play (a small problem, considering it was a Bronx tale as told by the young boy). Whatever weakness can be found in having to portray Calogero at both 9 and 17, is made up for by every other character he inhabits and most provocatively, when he inhabits more then one at a time. In one scene when Sonny goes to pull “C” have a confrontation in the street, Sonny tries to take hold of “C” and he moves out of his way and off to the side. I followed “C”, expecting to find him cowering in the shadow of the wings. It took a moment and a shaking of the head to realize there was nowhere he could be. This kind of commitment to character is seen in several scenes throughout and worked every time to provocative effect. His ability to transform the one-man act that retelling a childhood tale can become into a powerful theatrical feat is worth experiencing. And his ability to move from one character to the next, to act out entire conversations without taking a breath, will leave you holding yours.

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