Theatregoers who pick up the Playbill for the musical adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale will notice something unusual in the billing: two names are listed as director, four-time Tony-winning Broadway veteran Jerry Zaks and Academy Award-winning actor-director Robert De Niro.
According to a report in The New York Post, the billing came about as the result of a clash that left Palminteri and producer Tommy Mottola on one side and De Niro on the other.
De Niro, who directed the 1993 movie version of Palminteri’s autobiographical story of growing up in the mafia, told the Post that he wanted to direct the planned stage musical version as well. His Tribeca Productions is one of the backers of the musical. But Mottola and Palminteri, who reportedly felt he wouldn’t be able to make the time commitment, went for Zaks instead.
“The bottom line was that I was annoyed at Tommy . . . I was annoyed at Chazz . . . because they didn’t believe in me that I could do it, but I understand,” De Niro told the tabloid. “There was a time I was not talking to them. Then Tommy made a nice gesture like, ‘Life is too short.’ And Chazz and I started talking,”
The conflict was resolved, and De Niro’s name was added as co-director earlier this year. Now, De Niro said, “We’re having a good time.” Previews begin November 3.
A Bronx Tale production spokesperson said, ”The production does not have any additional comment on the story.”