Man, does this play bring back memories…..
Growing up in an extended Italian family, on my mom’s Calabrese side, that all lived on or around our street in Brooklyn, and then followed us to Long Island, I was regaled with so many stories. My great aunts and uncles told us tales of the mob, ghosts, and what old NYC was all about. They are all gone now, and I miss those days in their kitchens eating wonderful homemade Italian food while also dealing with the good-natured arguing and bickering among them. As you have heard Italians can be very loud and passionate. It was all in love, and to this day I can still hear their voices inside my head. The yelling. The screaming. The laughing. I miss all of it.
Suffice to say, I was extremely pleased to be invited to a blogger event to view a recent performance of Dinner With The Boys. This off-Broadway play was written and performed by Dan Lauria/Charlie (The Wonder Years), and along with Richard Zavaglia/Dom (Donnie Brasco), and Ray Abruzzo/Big Anthony Jr ( The Sopranos) put on a terrific show!
Located at the intimate Acorn Theater in Theater Row it provided what I thought was the perfect setting for a three-man play such as this. The whole performance takes place in a kitchen of a suburban New Jersey home that best friends Charlie and Dom are hiding out in after being placed there by mob boss Big Anthony Jr. They are living the life of mobsters in hiding in a kind of witness protection plan. Charlie yearns for the mob lifestyle he once knew and hates the boring burbs. Dom, as the great chef to “the family” enjoys his new life and doesn’t want to go back. He likes the peace and quiet living with Charlie, and wants to open a restaurant. Charlie eventually agrees with Dom and settles to go along with it. After all, Charlie grows great veggies in his backyard garden. Must be the “special fertilizer”. Dom cooks up amazing meals with his “unique meat” plates along with Charlie’s veggies. Each night is an idyllic setting for meals at the kitchen table or out on the patio.
Sitting in the audience I could almost smell the sauce cooking on the stove.
Little do they know that a dinner visit from Big Anthony Jr would set the wheels in motion for all this coming to a possible end. The boys need to act fast and make a decision that could mean life or death. That, or even more delicious meals cooked up by Dom. Let’s just say that this play is certainly written as a “dark comedy” with a subject matter that only Dom could make tasty. No spoilers here, but if you’re ever invited over to their place for dinner make sure the knives are in plain sight, you keep on eye on Dom and his salad dressing, along with knowing for sure what the meat of the night is. Oh, and stay away from the hot pepper.
Funny stuff that had me laughing throughout. I like warped humor so this was right up my alley!
The simplistic setting is perfect for this production. The sight lines and sound are terrific. You feel as if you’re in the kitchen too listening to Charlie and Dom’s give and take, bickering and bantering, and reminiscing of old times with their best friend Leo. Even though their arguments get heated at times, and peppered with stories of mob hits, it was refreshing to hear no curse words at all. Dan Lauria has written a terrific story with humor and passion that people can enjoy, but it’s definitely not for the kiddies. Bring you parents, your nonna, or any goodfella that you’re buddies with for an enjoyable time. They will recognize the mobster and cultural references.
The performance itself is handled eloquently by a bunch of experienced old pros. Wonderful dynamic between each. Ray Abruzzo also takes on the role of The Uncle Sid with a different look and dialect. Great stuff and gets funnier as the play goes on once you realize what is actually happening. If you’re a fan of mob movies, or grew up in a family like mine, you’ll get this and have a good time.
After the play we were treated to a blogger Q & A with the cast! It was insightful as the guys answered every question, and again, with some funny interaction among them. Dan Lauria, a Brooklyn and Long Island boy himself, told us about the times he hung out with Jack Klugman, Dom DeLuise, and Peter Falk as he was writing this and doing the first readings. They also told us some behind the scenes stuff of their TV shows and how Hollywood works. Interesting stuff for sure. They even took the time to snap some pictures with us afterwards. Gentlemen for sure.
Dan Lauria has conjured up a mob tale with a unique twist on it. More like a story of friendship with a bent little dark sense of humor sprinkled throughout. It’s only being performed for a limited run so go see it soon. Nice job boys!
Oh, and make sure you dump the meatballs in the sauce and leave simmering on the stove top over a low flame all morning on Sunday. The boys will be by to stir it and dip the bread while you’re out. Hide the hot pepper.
Dinner With The Boys – http://dinnerwiththeboysplay.com/
Acorn Theater – http://www.theatrerow.org/acornnowplaying
28 thoughts on “Having Dinner With The Boys off-Broadway in NYC!”
It sounds and looks fun!… I bet you had a great time.
Very nice feature, dear Phil!… All the best to you. Aquileana 😀
It was a blast! Very cool to meet the cast too.
What a great experience, Phil! I love these photos and you’re making me wish I lived in New York because it’s the only place to go to see shows like this. Keep sharing these – it’s so fun to read these kinds of reviews.
Glad you like my NYC adentures! One great thing about having a NYC blog are the perks that come along with it!
I just know I would love this since I love mob movies, especially the nonchalant behavior of making a big meal after whacking someone.
Great review and a very cool experience for you … now go eat!
The funny thing is that the meal ingredients were actually the guys that got whacked!
Looks like you had a great time – I enjoy reading your adventure and when I read your posts I yearn to live in a city with the constant things to do – but for now there is a season for everything – my time will come someday. I don’t think I am ready for the city, or the city is ready for me. Have a great week.
There are definitely advantages to having a blog in a big city. So many things to do and see here. Just not enough time!
Lucky you! I love a dark comedy, especially one that is so dependent on character development. And that Q & A afterwards had to be so much fun!
It was a fu performance and the Q&A was very cool. Got to learn a few things about the biz and their backgrounds to. Nice guys.
Getting invited to broadway and “real” sactors must have been awesome. None of your C or D listers here. What a thrill!
I do love a night out on the town. It was a fun performance. So glad my blog was picked to participate.
OOOOOOO, how fun, interesting!
I recognize a few of those dudes.
how cool to be invited, Phil. x
Yup, these things make it worth having a blog in NYC. So many great things to write about and experience.
gosh, it’s been ages eversince i had to watch this kind of show…
good for you my friend!!!
Thanks for the comment!
One great thing about living in NYC is that there is always some sort of entertainment here!
Looks like you had a blast–and now I’m craving some spaghetti! 😉
Just make sure that if it comes with meat sauce you know where that meat comes from! It might be the guy that got whacked is the “special ingredient”!
Sounds like a fun play! Also cool that you got to ask questions afterwards. PS: I like that you mention the mob and ghosts in the same sentence when talking about the stories your aunts used to tell you:)
My older relatives had a ton of ghosts and mob stories from old Brooklyn days. They would have loved this play if they were still around.
Aaaand this post made me hungry. AS USUAL.
I guess I have that effect on women. I make them hungry for more! 😉
Sounds like a great play with a lot of laughs and otherwise. It takes some talent to pull off these shows with the needed depth. Thanks for sharing.
These guys are seasoned pro’s. You definitely need to be good to perform in such an intimate setting and sell it to the audience. Had a great time seeing this.
How fun! And that you got to meat the cast (punintended)! It sounds like a great show.
Who knows? Maybe I would enjoy his meat dishes even knowing I was devouring their friend, or recent mob hit!
Man, the benefits of being a blogger in a bigger city! All these great items! A few years ago, even being an upstater, I got a chance to go to a Cirque blogging event and ended up having to back out. Still upset over that one! Looks like you had a blast!
Yes, living in NYC and being a blogger does offer some great perks. You skipped a Cirque event? That sucks. Those are great!