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A REUNION WORTH ATTENDING

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by Nick Christophers Coming to a theatre near you is a play with not only exceptional actors but a story that will leave you with tears and laughter. The play which will be opening on ...

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by Nick Christophers

Coming to a theatre near you is a play with not only exceptional actors but a story that will leave you with tears and laughter. The play which will be opening on November 7th at the Arc Light Theatre is entitled Lamppost Reunion.

The play which was written and produced by the award winning playwright Louis LaRusso will be revived by a star studded cast. The original play was performed in 1975 with none other than renowned legend Danny Aiello. Danny played the lead actor Biggie who has now passed on the role to another big actor of sorts, Vincent Big Pussy Pastore.

At the time when Louie LaRusso became ill he passed on his blessing to the producers to revive the play once more.

After Danny Aiello sat in at a reading of the play by Vincent Pastore and crew, he firmly believed the guys should perform the play live.

Hence, the building blocks for the play began. Vincent along with Bobby Eugene Furnaro (another former Sopranos cast member) gathered a few more key players. The cast filled out with three other former Sopranos cast members, Frank Pelligrino, Anthony Ribustello and Ricky Aiello (Danny Aiello s son).

For the past few months these five accomplished actors feverishly have worked hard to bring to life a play that has already proved successful. The director is Frank Licato who has directed Off- Broadway productions Requiem for a Heavyweight and Golden Boy. Also involved in the production is producer Paul Borghese of Padrino Films.

The play evolves around the lost and then found relationships between friends and how past issues creep up and re-shape them as individuals. Putting this together is a long process. We did the reading in Hoboken about six months ago. It was Bobby, Ricky and I. After that we approached Frank Pelligrino and Anthony here, and put it together. We then put a theatre company together along with Paul Borghese, added Vinny Pastore.

The play which will run until Thanksgiving is sure to be a hit. Vincent also added that theatre has always been tougher to do but he prefers the challenge as does Bobby. The process is very different compared to TV and film. Here you re in character all the time. There is no a few minutes here and there. There is no cut s it s all there, added Ricky Aiello.

During the week of October 20th the cast will go into full run rehearsals where the real blood and guts take root. When it comes to improvisation these seasoned actors are excellent at the art but little will be utilized here. We have to stick to the script. If we need to improvise to get closer to the character then we may use it. Louis LaRusso would have preferred it that way, the cast commented.

The reviews in the 70 s of the play were mixed but Louis was viewed as an expert at his craft. As Vincent explained LaRusso wrote for the street actors he helped develop notable actors like Paul Sorvino and Danny Aiello. They performed on stage before moving onto film. The present cast has done all three of LaRusso s plays as a reading this is the first one they are putting on stage. The ArcLight Theatre which is considered an Off Broadway location was ideal for all concerned.

The play is a challenge where the audience can relate to the characters and not so much what the actors are doing, added Frank Pelligrino.

The production is meant to inspire and motivate the audience to almost stop and appreciate life and all its surroundings. It pulls at the heart-strings and how much the characters are so fully developed. The story is meant to be an ensemble even though
Vincent s role as Biggie is the central character.

Each character displays a tremendous amount of loyalty and friendship amongst each other. Where you come from and how we sometimes lose our way and yet find our way back, interjected Bobby.

Ricky also shed light on how much he has learned from being apart of his first theatre role. He indicated the knowledge he gained from his father s experiences and how theatre is very challenging. I give him a lot more credit now then I ever did before. I am a little intimidated about it. But it s been fun.

The mere fact that the cast not only have played alongside on the Sopranos but are friends outside of work makes for great chemistry. The dialogue just flowed with each actor who is familiar with the backdrop and soul of the play. In addition each character s role is almost a die-cast of theirselives.

For example, Frank Pelligrino plays Frank Santora who is also a restaurant owner/ singer. Anthony Ribustello who plays a bodyguard was onen in real life for many years. Or even Vincent himself who plays a restaurant owner which he was many times over a lot of the acting is natural.

They hope after the expected success of the play to take it to another level. Maybe even produce and revive some of the other LaRusso plays with the same cast and Theatre Company.

Anthony Ribustello who played the bodyguard for Tony Soprano and plays a similar role in this show as Jobby has already been apart of a LaRusso production. The play he was apart of was entitled Sanctimonious Monday where he acquired some words of wisdom from LaRusso himself Say my words and they will carry you through. Eloquent words that will be brought to life once again in Lamppost Reunion by an impeccable cast.

For more information please call 212-868-4444 or go to www.smarttix.com.