March 31 was the opening night for My Italy Story, a gentle drama about a young, third-generation Italian-American from Hoboken who journeys to Naples to settle a long-standing family feud. No, this is not a Mafia story -- even though the playwright's name is Joseph Gallo (no relation to deceased mobster Joey Gallo). "It's a sweet little story with a twist," says spokesperson Jim Byk. My Italy Story began previews March 18 at the 47th Street Theatre Off-Broadway and is hoping for an open run. This one-person show stars Daniel Mastrogiorgio, who will appear in the very Mafia-ish "The Last Don" on CBS-TV, and who appeared in Taming Of The Shrew at the Old Globe and Two Gentlemen Of Verona at the New York Shakespeare Festival.
Other works by Gallo -- a 1995 recipient of the Rowan College Alumni Award in Creative Writing -- include Boggs, Wizzy and The World's Worst Coffee.
Joe Brancato directs My Italy Story, which was first produced at Penguin Repertory in 1993 (where Brancato is founder and artistic director), and later staged at Hartford's TheatreWorks and Seton Hall University. Brancato's directing work has also been seen at CT's Westport County Playhouse, DC's Capital Rep and Seattle Rep.
Evangeline Morphos, Mara Gibbs and Gary Shaffer are producing the piece, which has sets by Jeff Cowie, sound by Johnna Doty, lighting by Jeff Nellis and costumes by Terence McFarland.
For tickets ($30) and information on My Italy Story call (212) 265 1086.
--By David Lefkowitz