PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Bullets Over Broadway—Guys and Dorks

By Harry Haun
11 Apr 2014

Nick Cordero
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The bodyguard/dramaturg is played by a former Toxic Avenger, Nick Cordero, who at six-foot-five, towers over one and all on stage and presents a persona of pure granite. "Finding the stillness, and the power in the stillness of Cheech, was a big part of the job, and I think we got there," the actor relayed.

One of the pillars of the production is the peace-making producer, played with good-humored tact and delicate diplomacy by Lenny Wolpe. "I love that he gets it done. He figures out how to make it work, and he follows through on it. He has to finesse things, and the show gets produced, and it's a hit, and that's what his job is.

"It was a lot of fun tonight. It feels like the show has found its shape, and audiences are having a great time—and that's what it's all about, that they're having fun."

Tony-winning Karen Ziemba is overqualified for the smallish role of the character actress in the company. True to the stereotype, started by Marie Dressler in Dinner at Eight, she carries a small dog as a trinket. "I'm so lucky to be working with the most beautiful little princess in the business," she said. "She looks like a little stuffed toy she's so beautiful, but she's also very loving. We bond together every night before the show. We do tricks together, we do some commands, and then we just roll around on the stage. She jumps on me. We kiss, just play and talk to each other—just to get the love going there."

The role helps a little mourning that is going on for her. "I had McDuff, my terrier, for 16-and-a-half years. She just died recently, so this is kinda God-sent. I look forward to maybe getting another dog some day, and I think I may adopt a dog through Bill Berloni, who is the animal handler, through his connections with Rescue Dogs."

Vincent Pastore, with a rap sheet that includes "The Sopranos" and some Scorseses, is impressed with the upgrading he got from Broadway. "Everyone says, 'You're always playing gangsters,' but I've never played a gangster like this. This guy's on top, and it's a period piece. It's what a guy does for a girl. It's Jimmy Cagney and Doris Day, 'Love Me or Leave Me.' It's Born Yesterday with Paul Douglas and Judy Holliday. It's that type of storyline, and that's the kind of guy he is. He's nuts about this girl, but she drives him crazy."

Musicals, you may have gathered, are not a specialty with Pastore, but he's not entirely green. "I did Chicago on Broadway [the forgotten Amos Hart] and I was on the road in Guys and Dolls [the formidable Big Julie]. Locally, I do a lot of theatre. I've got my own theatre company in New York. The last piece I did was not a musical but it was about rock 'n' roll. I got Moritz Van Zandt involved, and we did it as a showcase. It's called Wild Children. I wrote and produced it, and we'll take it to Off-Broadway."