“Dinner with the Boys” is a meal to die for!
By Marc Baron, Sopranos Sites Tour Guide
As soon as I walked into the Acorn Theater and saw Jessica Parks’ set, with all its fabulous detail clearly marking the location as “New Jersey Italian,” with an appropriate print of DaVinci’s Last Supper and a theater filled with an assortment of Italian songs, I knew I was in for a treat with Dinner with the Boys.
Charlie (Dan Lauria) and Dom (Richard Zavaglia), an odd couple of Mob boys laying low after refusing to hit their best friend, reminisce their greatest moments from serving the Family. Dom reveals his special dinner recipe to both the surprise of the audience, as Charlie tells about his prowess while ‘in service.’ We soon learn of the one person they fear, the hot-headed Big Anthony, Jr (Ray Abruzzo), who makes the grand entrance and gives new meaning to a ‘Family Dinner’.
The actors give a high-energy well-timed performance making the most of the author’s witty dialogue while physically inhabiting every inch of their characters.
I spoke with the Dinner with the Boys cast after the show – both on the set then later across the street at the West Bank Restaurant. All three are down to earth consummate professionals. I appreciated them taking time to chat after such an exhausting performance, with two shows the next day.
Dan Lauria, the playwright, told me that years ago he was among his friends — Dom DeLuise, Peter Falk, Charles Durning and Jack Klugman — discussing how they were unhappy with the amount of violence in entertainment. At Dom’s encouragement Dan approached it as a comedy, and his friends would gather to read the work as it developed. Dan, Ray and Richard dedicate every performance to their friends, who gave the pay its first reading at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles. Sadly, Dom, Peter, Charles and Jack never lived to see the plays potential.
Earlier this year Dinner with the Boys opened at the New Jersey Repertory Company on Long Branch, NJ. To say it was well received by the audience would be an understatement. Most night’s sold-out and people paid to watch the play on TV’s in the theater lobby! The great reviews got the attention of producer Pat Flicker Addiss and Olympus Theatricals, who brought the show to NYC’s Off Broadway house, the Acorn Theater. The play runs to June 28th. Take the time to smell the zucchini and have dinner with the boys before it closes.