Without the ad budget of a Broadway show or the profile of a major Off Broadway show, a little New York comedy managed to run nine months — no small feat, especially in this tough season for Manhattan stages. Nevertheless, Vincent M. Gogliormella's comedy, Six Goumbas and a Wannabe, became a fringe-like presence on the theatre scene since opening March 29 at the CAP 21 space. The show later moved to the Players Theatre on McDougal, where it ended its run Dec. 9.
A wry and loving look at what is usually Scorsese turf, Goumbas captures six Brooklyn buddies re-connecting after 15 years leading their separate lives. They meet in Atlantic City, only to find an unexpected woman in their midst. First-time playwright Gogliormella is the nephew of late actor Vincent Gardenia ("Moonstruck").
Reviews for the show, directed by Thomas G. Waites, have been mixed to negative, with critics dismissing the plot twists but praising some of the writing and authenticity of the dialogue. The show had found a core audience but struggled, like many other Off-Broadway productions, after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.
James Lorenzo, who joined the cast in June and also became a co-producer for the show after the tragedy, told Playbill On-Line, "We were shut down for three nights. And for a show like this, that can break you. The author producer [Gogliormella] lost his brother in the Trade towers. They just found his remains the other day and have had an official burial."
On a brighter note, Lorenzo says the show, which was on a standard Off Broadway contract, hopes to return to New York, albeit at another venue, tightened and streamlined. "We're also talking to people regarding venues in Vegas, Atlantic City, maybe Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia. This is all talk right now, but we feel we can retool the show in a more profitable and tighter way. Before [Sept. 11], we had big weekends and great word of mouth, people from New Jersey, Brooklyn, Staten Island, coming once and then returning with their relatives. It's been a struggle since. We were hoping to stay till Jan. 6, and then maybe Dec. 16, but all the business stuff was very tight throughout the run. If you haven't cut all your possible corners, you're not gonna make a profit." — By David Lefkowitz