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‘A Bronx Tale’ Offers Tour de Force

Posted: October 22, 2008 4:40 p.m.
Updated: October 23, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Chazz Palminteri will reprise his tour de force performance in "A Bronx Tale" Sept. 9-21 at the Wadsworth Theatre in Brentwood.

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Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri will reprise his tour de force performance in "A Bronx Tale" Sept. 9-21 at the Wadsworth Theatre in Brentwood.

The classic coming-of-age story will be directed by four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks.

Taking a page from Sylvester Stallone, Palminteri was a struggling actor who decided to write, direct and star in his own show.

"My life changed from the moment I wrote it," Palminteri said.

During the original Los Angeles (and subsequent Off Broadway engagements) of "A Bronx Tale," Palminteri caught the attention of studios, producers and directors - all of whom wanted to make the film version, but without him.

Palminteri turned down a million dollar offer for the film rights, despite having only $200 in his bank account at the time. Eventually Robert DeNiro saw the show, and brought the story and star Palminteri to the screen in 1993.

"My mother and father gave me the confidence and courage to do what I knew was right," Palminteri said. "My dad wrote on an index card: ‘The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, don't wait yours.' I kept that card in my room."

Palminteri has more than 50 movies to his credit including "The Usual Suspects," "Bullets over Broadway," "Analyze This," "Hurly Burly," "Mulholland Falls" and "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints."

"A Bronx Tale" was written in 1989 by Palminteri in Los Angeles and found its first success here before moving to Broadway.

"This show works because it appeals to people from all walks of life," he said. "It's about not wasting your life and deals with racism and other serious topics, but it is extremely funny and has a lot of heart."

Palminteri plays all the roles in this one-man show that is different than most such vehicles.

"It's not like a typical show. It is one story throughout the entire show, you basically see the movie on stage, and I play all the parts," he said. "It's exhausting, but exhilarating."

Los Angeles is the second stop on a national tour of "A Bronx Tale" which begins in Austin, Texas. After Los Angeles the show will move to San Francisco.

"I wanted a new generation of people to see the show," Palminteri said. "Many parents bring their children because they want them to get the messages about not wasting your life and that the choices you make change your life forever."

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