POST: 'A Bronx Tale' - As an Italian kid growing up in the Bronx...
What's it about?
A Bronx Tale follows the story of Calogero growing up in the Bronx (who would have guessed) in the 1960’s while being guided by two father figures.
What I experienced?
Just a heads up this piece is going to be HEAVILY Bronx oriented. If I mention a few places that you don’t recognize or a some things you don’t understand, I won’t judge you for googling anything or just laughing along. And there’s going to be spoilers, I don’t know what to tell you.
I have a lot to say about A Bronx Tale. It’s like that movie you watch where you go “oh I know exactly where that is” the whole time. It’s the movie that gave us the iconic “Door Test.” It’s The OTHER OTHER movie with Robert DeNiro that deals with the mafia. And, if you’re an Italian kid growing up in the Bronx like me, then it’s something you’re practically legally mandated to watch, and I watched it A LOT. That is why I was so damn perplexed as to how it could be turned into a musical. Like I was genuinely thinking about this for way longer than I should have been. I knew I had to see this show, and there was no way I was going to go without taking my mom along with me, seeing as it’s one of her favorite movies.
While waiting for the show my mom and I had a good shot of the entire theater from the balcony, so we decided to start creeping on the crowd below us and spotting how many Italian guys from the Bronx showed up to this show. A surprisingly small amount were in the audience, sadly, but the ones who did show up made it KNOWN. Like I could clearly spot 3 guys in the orchestra seats who had just gotten back from Arthur Avenue picking up some cannoli for their mother before the show began. And at least another three were definitely all named Tony with at least 3 relatives named Joseph or any variation on the name. It was like a family reunion that I was missing out on down there.
As soon as the show started we were already beside ourselves. It opened the exact same way as the movie, with Calogero saying “you can hear young Italian men romancing their women” followed by a man yelling “MARIE GET IN THE FUCKING CAR.” It was always one of those abrupt lines that always gets to me, so it was hard to keep it in because I honestly did not expect them to recreate it. This set the tone for the rest of the show, because from then on it was a pretty direct recreation of the movie (and yes I know it was a play and book to begin with, but I grew up with the movie, so cut me some slack) with, of course, the addition of music. The music, aside from being phenomenal, was utterly annoying. Not because the songs were bad or anything, but because some of the songs were kind of parodies of existing songs from that era, and neither of us could think of what songs they were despite knowing EXACTLY how it goes. It was like a tip of the tongue scenario that went on for 2 hours. It was painfully enjoyable.
During intermission I went to talk to my mom and she asked me why I sounded how I did. At first I was really offended, like mom you’ve known me literally my whole life this is how I sound. But then I realized that I had been talking with a heavy Italian accent, which happens when I watch something like this. Normally my accent only comes out if I’m really excited, mad, or annoyed with you - but give me one movie or show with thick NY Italian accents and it will set me off for like a week. That’s why I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone that dealt with me after this show, because I know how annoying I must have been. If I called any of you wise guys or something like that, just know that wasn’t me that was the other me.
Now I would like to take this opportunity to connect with my friend Calogero for a bit. As a man who has almost exclusively dated and flirted with women from a different race, I get what you’re feeling. Quite frankly, I was also really into the actress who was playing Jane too, so I’m right here with you buddy. You aren’t the only Bronx Italian boy who’s looking for a different flavor Sfogliatelle if you catch my drift.
I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone for that terrible joke.
Like I said earlier, I’ve seen the movie countless times and it’s my mom’s favorite movie so she’s seen it plenty of times too. Take that into account with the fact that the show was playing out the same as the movie, and one would figure that we’d be ready for the ending. For those of you that don’t know (here''s the SPOILER), at the end of the movie Calogero’s father figure (Sonny) gets shot dead right in front of him as Calogero is trying to thank him for unknowingly saving his life. So, seeing how we both knew this was coming, one would think that we would be emotionally ready for it. But no. We were both wrecks. Well, not me really, I was mostly keeping composure while desperately fighting the lump in my throat but I was almost there. Then in the next scene where Calogero is at his funeral it’s just getting worse and worse. It was like Marley and Me levels of sadness. I guess it was just the fact that it happened live, accompanied by the frighteningly real gunshots, that just made it hit so hard. I guess.
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What did you experience?
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