To lift from a a theatre reviewer from the Washington Post:
"One-man shows are a dime a dozen. A one-man New York borough -- that's an achievement."
Having been a great fan of the movie, "A Bronx Tale" in its first release in 1993, I went this afternoon to see the one-man theatrical show it was based on at the Oriental Theatre in downtown Chicago.
I can tell you, if you live anywhere near the national tour of this show, do yourself a favor and go see it. One man on a stage for 1 hour 40 minutes with no intermission. It was like what I imagined Homer would be like reciting the Iliad. A creation of an entire environment - including the local wars! Distinctive, colorful personalities inhabit the story which is about growing up with good and evil and all the grey areas in between. Directed by David Zaks, one of the premiere Broadway directors, it was concise and moving, and filled with a bevy of specific people and their souls flying around the stage.
I had seen the movie three times, and I think the play is even better. Pure theatre. Palminteri paints a picture in your head better than even the movie.
And as an actor, he bares his soul and the souls of all the characters he creates on that stage, male and female. At times he is having conversations between 4-5 people at the same time. Perfectly timed.
If you are looking at how a one-person show should/can be done, or if you want to see how something can be pure theatre...go.
So many one-person shows are filled with "poor me" stories. They are solipsistic, narcissistic exercises with no/minimal drama whatsoever for an audience to get involved in. Just a written memoir spoken on the stage. There was none of that in this show. This was one of the best purely theatrical adventures I have ever attended. One man on a stage playing a cast of 20 and more!
Here is the link to find out the rest of the tour.
Once at the site you will find the tour schedule under "Tickets and Info."
Chicago has a wonderful half price ticket booth called Hot Tix, much like TKTS in NYC. For 26 bucks each we sat in the balcony. I am sure there are last minute ticket deals in theatres everywhere, if you look for them. The house - the Oriental Theatre is the size of any Broadway house - was about 85% filled. In these harsh economic times, that is a huge compliment.
I again urge you to go if you can.
To encourage all in their writing: if I remember correctly, this show started in LA over 20 years ago as a workshop performance by Palmenteri with the original length of about 20 minutes.
I must also congratulate the sound person on the show. Most shows now used amplified sound for the actors. This is the best amplification of a human voice I have ever heard on a stage in a large theatre. Not once did it call attention to itself. Not once did I have to get used to or accustomed to the usually obvious voice amplification. So, here's one to the tech guys as well, who have as much to do with our art in the theatre as we do!
A great play. When I went to see it in New York, a few years ago, I'd never seen a one-man show. I was suprised! It was a very captivating story. Kept me interested all the while; I hadn't expected one man to do that.