I have fond memories of seeing the World Premiere of this new musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse in February last year. It has now moved to Broadway, almost unchanged, retaining two of its male leads, Nick Cordero and the silky-voiced Richard H. Blake.
I found the story even more moving than in my memories and Alan Menken’s score even greater than I remembered, in no small part thanks to Doug Besterman’s catchy orchestrations. The staging is smooth and most of the cast is highly charming.
My only quibble is that some voices sounded tired, especially in the second act… and that the child actor who plays Young Calogero tried too hard to please with too few assets — a typical case of over-eagerness.
Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Glenn Slater. Book by Chazz Palminteri.
Direction by Robert de Niro & Jerry Zaks. Choreography by Sergio Trujillo. With Nick Cordero (Sonny), Richard H. Blake (Lorenzo), Bobby Conte Thornton (Calogero), Ariana Debose (Jane), Lucia Giannetta (Rosina), Bradley Gibson (Tyrone), Hudson Loverro (Young Calogero).