Joe Murena of "American Idol" Fame to Make Off-Broadway Debut in My Big Gay Italian Funeral

By Michael Gioia
January 7, 2014

Joe Murena, a former contestant on the Fox reality competition "American Idol," will make his Off-Broadway debut in My Big Gay Italian Funeral. He will begin performances as Ezio Feb. 2 at St. Luke's Theatre.



Singer-songwriter Murena is also known for his performances on "Star Search," "Good Morning America" and "Showtime at the Apollo." His theatrical credits include Long Island community theatre productions of West Side Story and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

My Big Gay Italian Funeral, a comedy from Anthony J. Wilkinson that uses characters from Off-Broadway's My Big Gay Italian Wedding, opened June 16, 2013, at St. Luke's and is currently on sale through March 2014.

According to press notes, "The father (Joe Pinnunziato) is deceased and we introduce some new characters, namely Anthony's gay brother Peter Pinnunziato, who he hasn’t spoken to in over a decade. Family drama and crazy characters unite when everything that can possibly happen at an Italian wake certainly will!"

Presented by Bianco Productions, both productions are directed by Emmy Award-winning director Sonia Blangiardo ("All My Children," "One Life To Live," "As the World Turns") and star its creator, Wilkinson, who originated the role of Anthony Pinnunziato in November 2003.

The cast of My Big Gay Italian Funeral includes Wilkinson as Anthony, Hugh Hysell as Maurizio, Donna Castellano as Angela, Marissa Perry as Maria, Debra Toscano as Toniann, Meagan Robar as Connie/Eva/Aunt Donna, Erik Ransom as Vidal, Chad Kessler as Rabbi Horowitz/Lou, David Demato as Peter, Mustafa Gatollari as Dominick, Beth Dzuricky as Ondine and Marie Fontaine (ensemble).

Performances are offered Sundays at 7 PM. St. Luke's Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues). For tickets, call (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com.