MILLBURN , N.J., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Double Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro is to co-direct with Jerry Zaks the world-premiere staging of A Bronx Tale: The Musical this winter, New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse announced.
Based on the real life of actor and writer Chazz Palminteri‚ the show is "set against the backdrop of racial strife and organized crime in the 1960s," press notes said. "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."
Set to begin performances Feb. 4, the show will feature choreography by Sergio Trujillo, a book by Palminteri, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater.
Leading the acting company will be Jason Gotay as Calogero, Joshua Colley as Young Calogero, Nick Cordero as Sonny, Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo, Coco Jones as Jane and Lucia Giannett as Rosina.
"A Bronx Tale has always had a very special meaning to me," De Niro, who helmed and co-starred in the 1993, non-musical, film version of A Bronx Tale, said in a statement. "The story is so rich and I look forward to working with Jerry, Chazz, Alan and Glenn to bring it to the stage in its latest incarnation."
"I've been in love with the story of A Bronx Tale ever since I directed Chazz Palminteri's one-man show on Broadway a few years ago," added Zaks. "A Bronx Tale: The Musical is a universal story and I think it's going to be a real treat for audiences to experience. I'm really looking forward to working on this new musical at Paper Mill Playhouse this winter."
"There are only three things you can do to an audience -- make them laugh, make them cry or you can scare them. In A Bronx Tale: The Musical we do all three," commented Palminteri.