Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Paper Mill Playhouse’s World Premiere of “A Bronx Tale: The Musical” kicks off previews

A Bronx Tale 530x200 R3

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) is presenting the world premiere musical A Bronx Tale: The Musical at the Millburn, New Jersey theater from Feb 4–March 6, 2016. The official press opening night is Sun, Feb 14 at 7PM. btn-buy

The musical is co-directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by four-time Drama Desk Award nominee Sergio TrujilloA Bronx Tale: The Musical features a book by Chazz Palminteri, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Glenn Slater.

Leading the company are Jason Gotay as Calogero, Joshua Colley as Young Calogero, Nick Cordero as Sonny, Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo, Coco Jones as Jane and Lucia Giannetta as Rosina.  A Bronx Tale: The Musical is proudly sponsored by Bank of America and generously supported by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2015–2016 Season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

Based on the real life story by Chazz Palminteri‚ A Bronx Tale: The Musical is set against the backdrop of racial strife and organized crime in the 1960s. It is the story of an Italian-American teenager finding his path in life as he must choose between the father who raised him and a mob-boss father figure who fascinates him.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wed–Sun. Performance schedule: Wed at 7:30PM, Thurs at 1:30PM and 7:30PM, Friday at 8PM, Sat at 1:30PM and 8PM and Sunday at 1:30PM and 7PM. Tickets are on sale now starting at $32. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online by clicking here. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. College students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

Jason Gotay (Calogero) was seen on Broadway in Bring It On: The Musical and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Mr. Gotay appeared in regional productions of Into the WoodsRentShenandoah, and The King and I. Mr. Gotay was seen in NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!”

Joshua Colley (Young Calogero) recently played Gavroche in Les Misérables and Les in Newsies on Broadway. Mr. Colley appeared in national tours of Elf: The Musical and the 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables.

Nick Cordero (Sonny) was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Cheech in Bullets Over Broadway. Mr. Cordero was also seen on Broadway and on tour in Rock of Ages. Off-Broadway, Mr. Cordero appeared in The Toxic Avenger.

Richard H. Blake (Lorenzo), a resident of Clifton, New Jersey, starred in many Broadway shows including Jersey BoysWickedLegally BlondeHairsprayAida, and more. Mr. Blake appeared in national tours of Wicked,Saturday Night FeverFootloose, and The Sound of Music.

Lucia Giannetta (Rosina) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse where she was last seen in The 25th Anniversary production of Les Misérables. Ms. Giannetta was seen on Broadway in Les Misérables and Leap of Faith.

Coco Jones (Jane) starred in Disney Channel’s #1 film of 2012, “Let It Shine,” Coco has gone on to sell more than 200k tracks on iTunes, including her debut single “Holla'” At The DJ which peaked at #2 on Radio Disney.  She has performed on Good Morning America as well as making high profile appearances at The U.S. Open, The Rose Parade, BET’s 106’s and Park, and The Radio Disney Music Awards.

Rounding out the ensemble are: Gilbert L. Bailey II (The Book of Mormon), Joe Barbara (Jersey Boys, Las Vegas) Michael Barra (Man of La Mancha tour, Law & Order), Isaiah Tyrelle Boyd (Spring Awakening, Center Repertory Theater), Jonathan Brody (Spamalot), Ted Brunetti (Assassins, Plawrights Horizons), Eean Sherrod Cochran (Mamma Mia tour), Philip Colgan (West Side Story, Skirball Center), Brittany Conigatti (Matilda tour), Kaleigh Cronin (Cabaret), Kim Dodson (A Christmas Carol, McCarter Theater), Trista Dollison (The Lion King), Vincenzo Faruolo (A Christmas Story; The Musical, Paper Mill Playhouse), David Michael Garry (The Phantom of the Opera), Aisha Jackson (Beautiful), Jess LeProtto (Newsies, So You Think You Can Dance), Carlos Lopez (Grease), Corey Mosello ((We Will Rock You tour, One Life to Live), Dominic Nolfi (Jersey Boys), Paul Savlatoriello (Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding), Christie Schwartzman (Rock of Ages tour), Joey Sorge (Nice Work if You Can Get It), Kirstin Tucker (Cinderella), and Keith White (Jersey Boys tour).

DENIRO approved Color 80x120Robert De Niro (Director), considered one of the greatest American actors of all time, produced, directed and starred in many iconic films. Mr. De Niro won the 1974 Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in The Godfather: Part II and the 1980 Academy Award for best actor for his role in Raging Bull. Mr. De Niro received Academy Award nominations for Taxi DriverThe Deer Hunter, AwakeningsCape Fear, and Silver Linings Playbook. Mr. De Niro is a four-time New York Film Critics Circle Award winner for his work on Taxi DriverRaging BullGoodfellas, and Awakenings. In addition to winning the 1981 Golden Globe award for his work on Raging Bull and winning the 2011 Cecil B. DeMille Award, Mr. De Niro was nominated for a total of seven Golden Globe Awards. Mr. De Niro was nominated for six British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. Mr. De Niro starred in many other films including Mean Streets,Bang the DrumAnalyze ThatMeet the Fockers, and more. Mr. De Niro made his Broadway debut in the 1986 play Cuba & His Teddy Bear. Mr. De Niro founded his own production company, Tribeca Film Center, and made his directorial debut in 1993 with A Bronx Tale.

JerryZaks 80x120Jerry Zaks (Director) won four Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and an Obie Award. Mr. Zaks directed many Broadway shows including Sister ActThe Addams FamilyGuys and DollsSix Degrees of SeparationLend Me a TenorHouse of Blue LeavesSmokey Joe’s CafeAnything GoesLa Cage aux FollesLittle Shop of Horrors, and more. Mr. Zaks received SDC’s Mr. Abbott Award for lifetime achievement and an honorary doctorate of fine arts from his alma mater, Dartmouth College. Mr. Zaks is a 2013 inductee to the Theater Hall of Fame.

Sergio Trujillo (Choreographer) is a four-time Drama Desk Award nominee who choreographed the Broadway productions of On Your Feet!MemphisJersey BoysLeap of FaithThe Addams FamilyNext to NormalGuys and Dolls, and more. Mr. Trujillo choreographed off-Broadway productions of Invisible ThreadSavedThe CapemanRomeo and JulietA Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Kismet.

Palminteri 80x120Chazz Palminteri (Book) wrote and performed his one-man show A Bronx Tale for the first time in 1989 before moving it off-Broadway. Mr. Palminteri went on to write the screenplay and co-star in the screen adaptation of A Bronx Tale alongside Robert De Niro. Mr. Palminteri has more than 55 movies to his credit as an actor, writer, and director, including The Usual SuspectsBullets Over Broadway(Academy Award nomination), Analyze ThisHurlyburlyMullholland FallsFaithful (also written by Mr. Palminteri), A Guide to Recognizing Your SaintsYonkers JoeJolene, and most recently Legendstarring Tom Hardy. Mr. Palminteri had a recurring role on the hit show “Modern Family” and has starred in “Blue Bloods.” Mr. Palminteri directed the HBO series “Oz” (episode “Unnatural Disasters”), Showtime’s “Women vs Men,” and the feature film Noel starring Susan Sarandon, Paul Walker, and Robin Williams.

Alan Menken 80x120Alan Menken (Music) composed the stage and film musicals Little Shop of HorrorsBeauty and the BeastThe Little MermaidNewsies, Aladdin, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Mr. Menken’s other stage musicals include God Bless YouMr. RosewaterThe Apprenticeship of Duddy KravitzA Christmas CarolSister Act, and Leap of Faith. Mr. Menken’s film musicals also include Life With MikeyPocahontasHerculesThe Shaggy DogEnchantedTangled, and Mirror, Mirror.  Some of Mr. Menken’s television credits include “Galavant,” “The Neighbors,” “Lincoln,” “Sesame Street,” and more. Mr. Menken won eight Oscar Awards, 11 Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year), seven Golden Globe Awards, a Tony Award, an Olivier Award, a New York Drama Critics Award, a London Evening Standard Theatre Award, induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some of Mr. Menken’s other awards and honors include Billboard’s #1 single and album, Disney Legend, and honorary doctorates from NYU and the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Glenn Slater (Lyrics) won the 2011 Grammy for his work co-creating Disney’s Tangled. Mr. Slater is a two-time Tony Award nominee who wrote the lyrics for School of RockSister ActThe Little Mermaid, and Leap of Faith on Broadway. Mr. Slater received an Olivier Award nomination for his work on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies.

Ron Melrose (Music Supervisor & Vocal/Dance Arranger) served as musical director and supervisor for Doctor Zhivago on Broadway. Mr. Melrose worked on many other Broadway productions including WonderlandJersey BoysJekyll & HydeThe Scarlet Pimpernel, and more.

Jonathan Smith (Music Director/Conductor) serves as the associate musical supervisor for Jersey Boys and has worked on productions across the world. Mr. Smith was co-creator of the Tony and Grammy-nominated Broadway musical Swing!. On Broadway Mr. Smith also worked on Thoroughly Modern Millie and Imaginary Friends.

Doug Besterman (Orchestrator) is a three-time Tony Award winner for best orchestrations for his work on Fosse,The Producers, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Mr. Besterman provided orchestrations for many other Broadway shows including It Shoulda Been YouBullets Over BroadwayAladdinElf:The MusicalSeussical, and more.

The A Bronx Tale: The Musical design team includes:

Beowulf Boritt (Scenic Design) won the 2014 Tony Award for best scenic design of a play for his work on Act One. Mr. Boritt designed sets for many Broadway and off-Broadway shows including The Scottsboro BoysThérèse RaquinHand to GodOn the TownSondheim On Sondheim, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,Chaplin, and more. Mr. Boritt received the 2007 Obie Award for sustained excellence in set design.

William Ivey Long (Costume Design) won six Tony Awards for best costume design and currently serves as elected chairman of the American Theatre Wing. Mr. Long designed costumes for many Broadway shows includingChicagoRodgers & Hammerstein’s CinderellaCabaretGrey GardensThe Boy from OzHairsprayThe Producers, and more.

Howell Binkley (Lighting Design) won the 2006 Tony Award for best lighting design of a musical for his work onJersey Boys.  Mr. Binkley served as lighting designer for many Broadway shows including HamiltonAllegiance,Honeymoon in VegasAfter MidnightLombardiWest Side StoryGuys and Dolls, and more.

Gareth Owen (Sound Design) received Olivier Awards for Merrily We Roll Along and Memphis and Tony Award nominations for A Little Night Music and End of the Rainbow. Mr. Owen designed more than 250 commercial musicals including worldwide productions of Disney’s The Little MermaidSister ActHairspray, Disney’s Beauty and the BeastSingin’ in the Rain, and Paper Mill’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Paul Huntley (Hair & Wig Design) won the 2003 Tony Award for excellence in theatre and the 2002 Drama Desk Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Huntley provided hair and wig design for many Broadway shows including Fun HomeThe VisitBig FishGypsy, and more.

Robert Westley (Fight Coordinator) recently served as fight director for Hand to God on Broadway. Mr. Westley’s off-Broadway work includes Important Hats of the Twentieth CenturyVeritéThings of Dry Hours, and Butcher of Baraboo.

Tara Rubin Casting (Casting) is a leading New York casting firm whose Broadway credits include AladdinLes MisérablesPhantom of the OperaJersey Boys, and Mamma Mia! among others. Tara Rubin Casting’s regional credits include Yale Repertory, Westport Country Playhouse, Bucks County Playhouse and more. The lead casting directors on this project are Tara Rubin, CSA and Merri Sugarman, CSA.

The Production Stage Manager is Beverly Jenkins.

Enrichment Activities for A BRONX TALE: THE MUSICAL

The Director’s Viewpoint – Enjoy coffee as director Brandon Ivie discusses A BRONX TALE: THE MUSICAL – Wed, Feb 10 at 6:30PM in the Art Gallery.
Conversation Club – Learn more about the show you are about to see, led by members of Paper Mill’s Artistic and Education Departments. – Thurs. Feb 4, 11, 18, and 25 at 6:30PM in the Mezzanine.
Q&A with the Cast – Meet the cast and ask actors questions about the show or the role they are portraying. – Sat. March 19 following the matinee in the Orchestra.

Paper Mill Playhouse, a leader in accessibility, will offer audio-described performances for A Bronx Tale: The Musical on Sun, Feb 28, 2016, and Sat, March 5, 2016, at 1:30PM. Prior to these performances at noon, the theater will offer free sensory seminars. Sensory seminars offer an opportunity for patrons with vision loss to hear a live, in-depth description of the production elements of the show and hands-on interaction with key sets, props, and costumes. There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance on Sun, March 6, 2016, at 7PM.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country’s leading regional theaters. Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at


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