Palminteri Takes His Neighborhood on the Road

By Sheryl Flatow
26 Oct 2008

In 2007 Palminteri decided to revisit his play, only this time he took it to Broadway, where it was directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks.

"In the past 20 years, so many people have said to me, 'Chazz, I love Bronx Tale, it changed my life, it changed my son's life, my daughter's life,'" he says. "It shows them that they can be anything they want to be. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices you make will shape your life forever. That's what the boy says at the end. Bronx Tale has such an impact on young people, that I wanted a whole new generation to see it. Now Iím taking the play around the country, to all those people who couldn't come to see it in New York."

In returning to A Bronx Tale after so many years, Palminteri found that it resonated with him in new ways. "When I first did it, I wasn't married and didn't have any children," says the actor, who has a 13-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter. "I always related from the son to the father, but now I relate from the father to the son as well. I think it has more depth."

Critics have raved just as they did 20 years ago, but Palminteri's favorite review came from his son, Dante.

"My son had seen me in the movies, but he was blown away when he saw the play," says Palminteri. "When he came backstage, he had tears in his eyes. He said, 'Dad, I promise you I won't waste my talent.' It was the best reaction I've ever had."