Based on the one-man show that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical will take you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s—where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Featuring an original doo-wop score, this is a tale about respect, loyalty, love and above all else: family.
“A Bronx Tale,”at the Longacre Theater on Broadway might be called the musical-theater equivalent of that classic comfort food. It doesn’t break ground or dazzle with an unusual recipe — like, say, mixing rap and American history — but it delivers reliable pleasures with polished professionalism and infectious energy.
Because it resembles an urban fairy tale, Palminteri’s story works even better as a musical than it has in its earlier incarnations where its stereotypical aspects felt more glaring. His skillful adaptation thankfully retains the gritty language and violence as well as its often raucous humor.
The characters are simple, the storytelling is derivative of better-known musicals (“West Side Story,” “Jersey Boys”) and the tone is excessively sentimental and solemn. But “ABronx Tale,” the new Broadway musical based upon actor-writer Chazz Palminteri’s coming of age in an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx of the 1960s, is nevertheless an entertaining crowd-pleaser and a poignant piece of theater. If it works, it works.