Last Chance: Siciliano, Drama of the Disabled, Ends NYC Run Jan. 29

News   Last Chance: Siciliano, Drama of the Disabled, Ends NYC Run Jan. 29 A young man's struggle to regain emotional and physical balance after losing his leg is the core of the new play, Siciliano, which ends its extended run Jan. 29 at the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped (NTWH) Theatre in Manhattan.
John Siciliano in Siciliano.
John Siciliano in Siciliano.

A young man's struggle to regain emotional and physical balance after losing his leg is the core of the new play, Siciliano, which ends its extended run Jan. 29 at the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped (NTWH) Theatre in Manhattan.

The Nov. 4-Dec. 4, 1999, New York City premiere run was extended through the end of 1999, but phone calls and interest prompted this further extension, according to a spokesperson. The drama has bookings lined up in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

Performances resumed Jan. 6 at the NTWH Theatre, 354 Broome Street at Elizabeth. For reservations, call (212) 941-9511.

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Actor John Siciliano, who lost his right leg after he was hit by a drunk driver in 1995, wrote and stars in the drama. He developed the piece with playwright Erik Ehn and director Brother Rick Curry, SJ, PhD, founder of NTWH, a nonprofit training and performance group serving disabled folks with interest in the arts. Siciliano will tour the U.S., Ireland and England in 2000. Previews began Nov. 4, 1999, and official opening was Nov. 11.

Siciliano, 28, first wrote the piece as a monologue in 1998 when he was an MFA candidate at the University of Southern California. Curry (or "Brother Rick," as he is known) helped develop it into a larger play (bringing Ehn in). Characters of family, friends and medical personnel were added.

"The generosity that John brought to the play was enormous," said Curry. "He let us pick over his bones."

The cast includes John Spalla as Mr. Siciliano, Krista Smith as Mrs. Siciliano, AJ Fitzgerald as John's sister, Joe Catalano as John's pal, Sean, and Katrian Kropa as John's nurse.

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In addition to his acting career, the buff Siciliano is an athlete and track star, according to production notes. In 1996, he sprinted to set a new record in the 200 meter run at the trials for the Paralympics, a world class competition for disabled athletes, held every four years just after the Olympics. While continuing his athletic training on a daily basis, he also focuses on his primary goal of a professional acting career.

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The National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped is a non-profit organization founded in 1977. NTWH is a training, production and advocacy organization serving persons with disabilities who are interested in the performing arts. Although NTWH focuses on persons with disabilities, it also welcomes the able-bodied. The NTWH website is at www.ntwh.com.

-- By Kenneth Jones