Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | 2:04 p.m.
A Bronx Tale
In 85 emotional, jam-packed minutes tonight, stage and film actor Chazz Palminteri will play 18 characters nonstop in his one-man show “A Bronx Tale.” It’s a powerful tour de force that’s mesmerized audiences previously in Las Vegas at the Mirage and the Venetian.
Now it’s at the prestigious Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts for one night only and just two days before Chazz’s 63rd birthday.
Critics describe “A Bronx Tale” as a classic coming-of-age story about a young boy from a working-class family in one of the New York City boroughs who gets involved in organized crime. His bus-driver father tries to keep him on the straight-and-narrow instead of getting caught up in the supposed glamour of hoodlums and thugs.
Chazz prefers it to be thought of as a family story rather than a tale of the Mafia. But there’s no doubt that the 1993 movie directed by his pal Robert De Niro depicts the 1960s gangster era.
Chazz is thrilled to be back in Las Vegas with his one-man show: “I’m always ecstatic to perform here. I honestly wish that it was more often. I’d be very happy spending 12 weeks a year in Las Vegas. I feel right at home here.”
The Academy Award-nominated actor for “Bullets Over Broadway” first staged his early life story in 1989 off-Broadway, and it became a Broadway hit in 2007.
“It’s a great story like a Shakespearean play, and people can relate to the characters. It worked on Broadway. It worked in the 30 cities I took it on tour to,” he told me. “I just never thought it would work as well as it has in Las Vegas. That’s incredible and amazing.
“It connects with everyone from 14 years of age up to 90 years of age be they male or female. It works even more effectively because the audience is seeing me on the stage. There’s that presence; it’s visceral. They can say, ‘That is the guy. This is his story.’
“I’ve always liked Las Vegas. It’s now becoming my second home. I love the restaurants, the beach clubs and the night action. I’m fanatical about being healthy and staying healthy, but the play is a real physical workout each time, so there can’t be any double shows in one evening.
“I wrote the play and the screenplay for the movie so I know it inside out. I felt do it right and the sophisticated Las Vegas audience would sit still for it and realize that it was a great feast they could bite into and say well done.
“The play is that solid. We’re not competing with acrobatics or comedy shows with impressionists. This was real life, and it packs a solid punch.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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