Rosie Perez and Joe Pantoliano Officially Bow as Bway's Frankie and Johnny Jan. 30

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30 Jan 2003

Joe Pantoliano, Rosie Perez.
Joe Pantoliano, Rosie Perez.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Rosie Perez and Joe Pantoliano — the two new stars of the hit Broadway staging of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune — officially open in the Terrence McNally play Jan. 30 at Broadway's Belasco Theatre.

Perez and Pantoliano (or "Joey Pants" as the Belasco marquee reads) took over the title roles created in this revival by Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci, Jan. 1.

This is the first Broadway staging for the tender and tough romance by Terrence McNally. Frankie and Johnny focuses on the relationship between two unglamorous working class people — waitress Frankie and short-order cook Johnny. Spanning the course of their first night together from their first sexual encounter to the next morning's sunrise, the play opens in darkness with the aforementioned act.

The play ran Off-Broadway with Kathy Bates and Kenneth Welsh in the 1980s and was later made into a film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.

Joe Mantello (who helmed McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion!) directs. Designers include John Lee Beatty (set), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Scott Lahr (sound) and Laura Bauer (costumes).

Perez told Playbill On-Line one of the main differences between her and Falco's Frankie will be humor: "I read the script and thought there was a lot of humor there and I wasn't seeing that in Edie's performance. I asked Joe and he said, 'Yeah, it's definitely there. Go for it.' "

Perez is the Brooklyn film actress known for "Do the Right Thing" and "White Man Can't Jump." Pantoliano is best known for playing the recently whacked mobster Ralphie on TV's "The Sopranos." This will mark the Broadway debut for both performers.

The production's producers are The Araca Group, Jean Doumanian Productions, USA Ostar Theatricals, in association with Jam Theatricals and Ray and Kit Sawyer.

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune opened Aug. 8 and has already recouped its $1.5 million capitalization. For ticket information, call Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200 or go online at www.telecharge.com.