Opera-Kissed NYC-Set Musical Tony & The Soprano Returns to Ithaca Nov. 20

News   Opera-Kissed NYC-Set Musical Tony & The Soprano Returns to Ithaca Nov. 20 The Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY, presents an encore presentation of Rachel Lampert and Larry Pressgrove's original musical, Tony & The Soprano, borrowing and building on classic themes from the world of opera, starting Nov. 20.

The "musical valentine to opera, Italian food, and mothers" was a January-February 2006 hit at the resident Equity theatre in upstate New York. The show offers famous opera themes and melds them with original music by composer Pressgrove, who is known as music director, arranger and onstage keyboardist of Off-Broadway and Broadway's [title of show].

Performances continue to Dec. 14.

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"It's been great fun to revisit the script and the score and add a few new things," lyricist-librettist Lampert, who directs and is artistic director of KTC, said in a statement. "And to get this great cast back together is a joy!"

The story takes place in the closely-knit neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where 35-year-old Tony fixes cars and still lives with his mother, Rose. According to KTC, "His life seems to be one dead end after another, and he's not the only one who is feeling stuck. His best friend Vinny is opening the restaurant of his dreams, but his new waitress Isabel keeps breaking plates, and a local mobster is breathing down his neck for his payback. Latchkey kid Carol is adrift. But when Rose's attic apartment is rented to Julliard music student Frances, everyone's life begins to change. Opera wafting down from the top floor starts everyone singing their own lyrics to the classic melodies of Verdi, Mozart, Rossini and more. This delightful musical tale of changing lives and finding love attests that music is the food of love." The original production featured a cast of local favorites, and nearly all are back. Erica Steinhagen plays Frances; her real-life husband Joey Steinhagen plays the good-natured Tony; Susannah Berryman plays Tony's worried Italian mother Rose; Jessica Flood plays Isabel, a bad waitress with a mysterious secret; Jesse Bush is Tony's pal Vinny; and Robert DeLuca is the neighborhood heavy, Carmine.

They are joined by Kitchen newcomer Charlotte Senders, a seventh grader at Trumansburg Middle School, who is playing the part of Carol, and Sophie Potter, a ninth grader at Ithaca High School, who is the standby understudy for that role.

Tony & The Soprano was the first collaboration between Lampert and Pressgrove. Since then, they have written three other musicals: The Angle of the Sun, Comfort Food and Bed No Breakfast, all of which premiered at the Kitchen.

The Angle of the Sun played the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival, where it was performed with original cast member Jesse Bush and Broadway actress Amanda Watkins.

Music director and pianist is Richard Montgomery. The creative team also includes set designer Dan Meeker, lighting designer E.D. Intemann and costume designer Jon Donk. Preeti Nath is the stage manager.

Tony & The Soprano will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the family-friendly time of 7:30 PM with matinees on Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 4 PM. The play is appropriate for everyone age eight and above.

The 73-seat theatre is located in the historic Clinton House, a renovated hotel in Downtown Ithaca. For more information visit www.kitchentheatre.org.