The hallmark of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is the street procession that has been taking audience / wedding revelers on a walk through New York City streets for twenty-five years. That’s how New Yorkers know the show, by witnessing this procession that has taken place thousands of times. What a blessed thing. It is our streets that bring us together in New York. It is our walking.
Street processions are a profound aspect of Italian American culture, religious festivals, and rites of passage. Remember Michael Corleone’s Sicilian wedding procession with live band? Ever been to a Giglio feast in Williamsburg or East Harlem where the six story tower and statue is carried on a group’s shoulders? Ever visit a small town in Italy during their religious procession around the town piazza?
Don’t you love the processions in Fellini films?!
Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding procession from the ceremony to the reception is bigger, better and more exciting than ever. We walk through Times Square enmasse. Two hundred people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe walk together through the neon lit night and omnipresent traffic from The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers on 46th Street between 6th & 7th Ave., to the reception party at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar, on 44th between 7th & 8th Ave. We walk right through Shubert Alley to our reception party. Tony in his white tux, and Tina in her Kleinfeld super gown lead the way. The bridesmaids and groomsmen and family and friends mingle enroute. Grandma Nunzio gets pushed speedily and wildly by her grandson Johnny, but her lucky cane hooks him behind the neck to steer him through traffic. Grandma doesn’t like to wait for the traffic she likes to part it.
Dante began his trilogy with these immortal words: “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita…” In the middle of the walk of our life… Come take this walk friends, this walk of New York, this wedding night when New Yorkers truly take back New York. Come walk with us and let the lights surround you.
aka Annie Lanzillotto
As an event planner for nonprofits and corporations, it’s always a challenge to find new and innovative event ideas. Businesses are looking to entertain clients and conduct team building events and nonprofits are always in search of the next great “gala” idea. When Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding Producer Joe Corcoran reached out to me to join the promotion team, I thought this would be a terrific opportunity to get the inside scoop on such an iconic show. From a planner’s perspective, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is an exciting, interactive, totally unique venue for a special event, but I had to see for myself. I gathered a group of family, friends and clients for their first performance before a live audience.
As we congregated before the ceremony, everyone was chatting and catching up, excited to see what the evening would bring. Before we knew it, Tony’s handsome groomsmen were mingling with us and psyching Tony up for his big walk down the aisle. Next, as we descended the winding staircase at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, we were greeted by the fabulous Loretta Black who is co-owner and proprietor with her husband Vinnie Black of Vinnie Black’s Coliseum, the “it” place for weddings, according to Loretta. After we were ushered to our seats for the reception we had the opportunity to mingle with the other members of the wedding party. Uncle Louie will plop himself down at your table and give you the business and Grandma Nunzio will make sure you are up to date on her new hip. Before long, you really forget that you and your friends are there for a show and feel like you are a guest at a real wedding…full of crazy people.
The experience is immersive, fun and constantly changing based on where you are sitting, standing or dancing. Bridesmaids and groomsmen ask you to get up and dance. Tina’s mother compliments your “smoking hot dress” and Tony’s father, well, he’s very smooth.
Social media plays a big role in the production as well. Flat screen TVs are positioned around the room featuring the guests’ live tweets and Instagrams with customizable hashtags. Guests can party in person and in the Twittersphere.
The beautiful thing about the Tony n’ Tina experience is that it can be customized for any group. How special would it be for the CEO or honoree to give a toast to the bride and groom or have a VIP client dance with the mother of the bride? Nonprofits planning their next big fundraiser should consider Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding instead of the usual sit-down gala. Something new and exciting is always a draw for attendees and sponsors. The nonprofits and their sponsors can get their message or products promoted during the wedding in a creative way. The possibilities are endless and that’s what makes it so exciting.
At the end of the night, my group left with their heads spinning and big smiles. Mission accomplished.
The audience creates the show. Each table is different. Last night we had a table of adventurous Russian tourists, a table of wise elder Italian American ladies / gamblers, a beautiful Puerto Rican family who drove in from Pennsylvania, then there was the famous fashion designer, and the big table of 20’ something hot girls, and a table of 40’ something women. That’s just the beginning. Our audience is diverse. This is Times Square. The whole world is here. Children who come get involved in the “Champagne March.” One girl, Catherine, celebrated her 17th birthday. That’s a birthday to remember.
As members of the wedding party amble from table to table, the story builds. It’s a different show at every table. The elder Italian American ladies gave Madalyn Monroe love advice, saying Nunzio was paying too much attention to Josephine Vitale. And they told me, Grandma Nunzio, their favorite numbers to play Lotto, and about the slot machines at the Sands. Each night a rivalry gets heated up between the two families; the Vitales and the Nunzios. Johnny Nunzio and Dominick Fabrizzi rev up the Nunzio side of the crowd in a cheer. The bridesmaids, Sister Terry, Aunt Rose, and Josephine Vitale heat up the Vitale side of the crowd. You never know what’s going to happen, who you will dance with, or which way the conversation goes. Last night I had an accountant who could really dance, and the night before, an actor hell bent on making out with Grandma Nunzio!
Come to Tina and Tony’s Wedding where YOU make the show!
a.k.a. Annie Lanzillotto
Our director Tony Lauria had us stand in a circle before the show, radiating outward in the order that we were cast. Some have been in Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding since the beginning or close to it – 25 years. This is New York’s wedding. We should make a wedding book, with photos and essays from over the decades reflecting on all that’s changed and all that remains the same.
First, archetypes. Tonight I got to keep alive in me, through being Grandma Nunzio, all the strong women in our ancestry. I thought of my aunts, my godmother, my grandmothers and great-grandmothers, my mother most of all – as I primp and dive into the wig – I become them. I take on their stories and their rock solid spirits.
Second, gioia di vivere, joie di vivre, the joy of living. Tonight a young man proposed to his girlfriend, there on the spot, on Tony n’ Tina’s dancefloor. He took the microphone, spoke his truth and sprung open a box with the diamond ring. She said yes. The whole crowd erupted with a cheer. We are here to celebrate the cycle of life. Love, amore, is the heart of this show.
Third, Italian American dramatic culture. We all grew up with drama. Sore, frati, cane, gatti, our proverbs tell us: Sisters, brothers, dogs, cats. We fight. We let it out. We yell. We throw things. One audience member, non-Italian, observed that this show “exposes the mind.” You mean other people don’t express themselves this way? Seriously? They don’t give each other the evil eye and say exactly what’s on their mind? Come on people, that’s what curse words are for. Curses are our way of barking. If you don’t like to curse, try vowel sounds. My grandmother used to yell, “Eeeeeeeeeee!” with her right arm shooting straight up into the air. Try it. Feels great.
Fourth, this is real. Interaction. Watch dogs in a field. Puppies in a box. Clouds in a windy sky. Interaction. We are here at Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding and it is reality. Last night, I found a gorgeous silver bracelet on the dance floor near a table. I asked several women if it was theirs – no. I handed it to the manager who was going to make an announcement. Later I asked another lady, “Did you lose a bracelet? I found one.” “Oh my God,” she said, “yes. Really. No for real.” I said, “I know, I found it.” She said, “No, for real. For real.” I had to convince her, with witnesses, that I wasn’t joking, that this was real, that I was real, that this wasn’t part of a play. I had to calm her. I am thinking of Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” This is a wedding. This is not a wedding. As an artist, the art becomes more real for me than life, a strange hyper-reality. I am more me, playing Grandma Nunzio, than later, make-up washed off. More on this later.
Come join the love.
Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding.
Click here to buy tickets now.
Bring your friends.
Wedding #1 for the #1 Wedding. The 2014 Times Square Cast did our first show, our “dress rehearsal” last night. We had a ball and it went off without a hitch – a technical miracle. It was my first Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, ever. Other cast members have hundreds and thousands of Tony n’ Tina nuptuals under their belt. Including our wonderful director Tony Lauria, who started off as Michael Just, the bride’s X, and ended up as Donny Dolce the self-absorbed but awesome wedding singer. When our director sings Sinatra to us in rehearsal and microphone testing, I close my eyes, and I feel like Frank is in the room.
I could feel the expertise and ease of the seasoned members of the cast. They know what we are there to do. Their back stories are American dreams. Denise Fennell joined the show in Boston over a decade ago playing the stripper Madalyn Monroe, and went on to play Tina among other roles. Now she grew up into playing Mrs. Josephine Vitale, mother of the bride. She makes a stunning entrance in a floor-length black gown reminiscent of a scintillating Morticia archetype, tall, sexy, thin, with Cher good looks and an expression on her face that will stop your heart. She whips comments off to instigate family arguments. To me, as Grandma Nunzio, grandmother to the groom, she taunts, “I’m cooking Thanksgiving! I do all the cooking.” I didn’t have a well-oiled response for her. Her searing expression shredded me and stopped me in my tracks. But now that I’ve had a night to sleep on it I can’t wait to get back into the ring, to Wedding #2 this Thursday night where Grandma Nunzio can verbally spar with her over who really cooks for the holidays. There’s no way Grandma Nunzio will let Josephine Vitale get away with that.
When Tony, the groom, played by stud Joe Ferraro, took off his shirt, I heard the young straight girls in the crowd swoon, “What a six-pack.” Yes, his athletic prowess is phenomenal. He dances and runs his antics easily for hours at a time. The groom doesn’t get to flirt with the girls in the audience. He’s in love with Tina. The charming groomsmen on the other hand are on it, inviting girls to the dance floor over and over. Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is a great place for singles to meet someone.
Bridesmaid Marina, played by the powerhouse Marisa Perry, tops the night when she sings “Last Dance.” Yes, what a voice. This is what makes Broadway Broadway. The talent. It’s astounding to be chatting or arguing with Marina one minute and then hear her vocals blast out the Donna Summer chartbuster the next. Her voice leaves me reeling and will reel you to. What a way to end the night.
After the show I talked with some audience members who marveled over the knockout Concetta Rose Rella, who plays Nikki Black, daughter of the caterer. Nikki Black expresses her anger at her family by not smiling, not once for three hours. As Grandma Nunzio, I try to make her smile. I tickle her when we do the Conga dance. I tell her jokes. She doesn’t budge. She gets the transformation award. Without any wig or big costume changes, she transforms character with just facial and bodily expression. Stay around after the show to see her smile’s shine. You won’t believe it’s the same person. She goes from “knockout” to “facciabrutta” and back in an instance. That’s acting.
Get to this show as quickly as you can. You will want to come back again.
Dance with me at the wedding, —and come hungry! The vegetable pasta and salad and at Guy Fierri’s “Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar,” is marvelous. And the wedding cake by The Fashion Chef — is the best in town. This Italian ate well at the wedding. Good Italian bread. Good Vino. We’re all set. See you on the dance floor. Now click “Buy Tickets Now.”
Grandma Angelina Nunzio,
a.k.a. Annie Lanzillotto
Tony and Tina are from the Bronx!
Last Saturday Grandma Nunzio led the cast and crew of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding around Arthur Avenue. I love when the whole Tony n’ Tina’s tribe, thirty of us, descend upon a place. It’s an instant wedding wherever we go. We stay in character. On this particular day, when my grandson son Johnny (the fierce and amazing Chris Lazzaro) got lost in the church alleyway, I yelled at him like Grandma Nunzio would. So, this being the Bronx, a lady across the street screamed at me, “Don’t curse in front of the church!” I didn’t even know I had cursed. I didn’t know what came out of my Grandma Nunzio mouth. All I knew was my grandson Johnny was locked in the alley behind wrought iron bars.
Arthur Avenue is the heart of the Bronx. And Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is the heart of Broadway. Get them both together and fagetaboutit! We crowded Egidio’s Pasticceria on 187th Street. My son Anthony, better known as Nunzio (the gorgeous Rick Pasqualone), ordered an espresso lungo, and Mike Black (the beautiful – all love Chris Di Pierro) got a box of eclairs and cannoli and napoleons for everybody. We began our tour at the church and ended at the rock – as it should be. At Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Ahun-Eighty-Seventh Street, (that’s right say it right Yo) some of the cast prayed, lit candles and looked at statues of saints. We sang a pushcart peddler cry on the street, “Chi mangi pesci mori mai!” (Who eats fish never dies!)
We made our way to Casa Nunzio – a house on Hughes and Ahun-Eighty-Sixth across from the Enrico Fermi Library. I picked this house to be the residence of our Nunzio family — cause I love this house — it exemplifies everything the Belmont neighborhood has been for the past hundred years to the diaspora of Italians. At this house you’re not in America. Let me explain. I performed in this house in 1996 when on the balcony, I asked the woman whose house it was back then, “Puppetta, what country do you live in?” Puppetta was a local resident I had met in the market, –the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. She came to my stand back then when I brought a piano into the market, rented a stall, and set up a two-year artist residency for my project “aSchapett!” I had a commission from Dancing In The Streets, to make site-specific community-based performance. Puppetta would sing and cook with us, and jump into improvisations I staged with artists, merchants, and residents. When I asked Puppetta what country she lived in, and gave her the microphone, to the hundreds of people that crowded her street corner for our show, she said, “Ahun-Eighty-Seventh Street.” Puppetta has long moved on. But there was her balcony across from the library and bakery, and here we were, thirty of us, the cast and crew, animating a bit of her history.
We entered the market through the back end on Hughes Ave, and right away Dave Greco, master chef of Mike’s Deli, greeted and fed us. Hot mozzarella made that moment was plated for us by Dave and his guys. Dave in his generosity sat us down, gave us a good Bronx talking to, and fed us to our hearts content. Capicola, mozzarella fresca, broccoli-rabe, melanzane, carciofi, salami, provolone… It was emotional for me walking into the market, a story too long to tell, but one that involves generations of my family. Suffice it to say, that in 1996, I had my Grandma Rose, who was 96 years young at the time, performing at the market “How to Make Cavateel” while my opera singers sang, and actors improvised with shoppers and merchants. Dave Greco told the cast how I had an acrobat stretch muzzarell’ across the aisle with him, ten feet long, over the audience. Arthur Avenue is a place of memories and nostalgia. An overwhelming amount of nostalgia.
Here we were, I with my new family, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. The twenty-five year legacy of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding met the legacy of the Bronx head on. I felt like a true old timer — saying to the crowd “the chicken market used to be here” and “this is where the pushcart peddlers sang their wares” and “the market was constructed in 1939 — when Fiorello La Guardia wanted to clean up the streets and get all the hawkin’ and squawkin’ peddlers inside.” I remember being younger, and the old timers tellin’ me “I wish you could have seen it when I was young…” Bah! Now I’m the old timer! “Grandma Nunzio!
We ended our tour at a three-story outcropping of Bronx Gneiss, jutting up outta the sidewalk on Ahun-Eighty-Eighth Street. This rock is a billion years old. Granite. I brought the cast up a pile of snow to touch the rock – to touch the billion years. To know where we are, where we’ve been. That’s where we took photos. At the billion year mark. At the rock.
Tina (the gorgeous Marilia Angeline) picked out Casa Vitale up the street on Hoffman — a pink two-story family house with friendly plaster animals and chairs off the stoop. We were done for the day, a well-fed sated cast celebrating a twenty-five year old phenomenal show – in the billion year old Bronx, to a billion years of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding! Touch Gneiss! And remember your grammar: i before e, except in the Bronx.
You can follow Annie Lanzillotto on Twitter at @lanzo
Boutique de Voile, headquartered in New York, designs and sells custom-made wedding veils, tiaras, headpieces and hair jewelry for a variety of clients — individual brides-to-be, couture wedding salons, gown designers, stylists and now Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Now that Tina’s wedding gown has been chosen, they are going to be creating Tina’s one-of-a-kind headpiece and veil!
Just look at the gorgeous pieces they have already created for their fashion forward clients:
In a world where actors check their phones incessantly to see if they have landed the next role of a lifetime, all too often, their hopes are dashed. On the rare occasion when that phone rings with good news, traditionally, the news is delivered by a casting director’s covetous intern/actor. Sometimes the actor’s agent or manager delivers the welcome news.
In the wacky world of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, we decided to have some fun with the actress we wanted to cast in the role of Tina. Think baptism by fire!
After the actresses 3rd callback, one of our production associates walked her out of the Broadway League building, under the guise of grabbing a cup of coffee. As they made their way through the heart of Times Square, the actress noticed a familiar face in the crowd. Dressed in a white tuxedo, on bended knee, holding a sign that red: “Tina, Will You Marry Me?” was her future show husband, Tony.
Watch her instant transition into Tina as she answers his question in this exclusive video from Broadway.com.
photo credit: Michel Delsol
We’re pleased to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the launch of our redesigned home page. You’ll find some new features here and we’ll be adding lots more in the coming weeks. So please take a look around and try to come back soon as we get closer to Tony n’ Tina’s big day – previews begin March 12th!
The redesign kicks off with our new logo, which was created by Kick Design Studios here in New York. It’s never an easy assignment – to create a new look for a well-established brand, and trying to make happy a large group of actors, producers and directors in the meanwhile. (A theatrical family is no different than any other extended family except that our divas are professionally trained!) But we are incredibly happy with the look and feel of the new logo. In the words of Eddie Jabbour and Jo Baslow, from the creative team at Kick Design: “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is about fun contrasts — the elegance of a traditional wedding contrasted against the vivaciousness of the show’s Italian-American namesakes, Tony and Tina. So we mashed-up the classic script for “Wedding” with a lively and exuberant typeface for “Tony n’ Tina” all against the big beautiful beating heart!”
Another major new feature here is our photo album. We’ve started out with some great shots taken of the happy couple in Times Square – snapped on a recent snowy day when Tony first proposed to his intended. We think these pictures really capture the excitement of our talented young couple as they begin a month of whirlwind preparation and prepare to set out on their journey together. We’ve also included a gallery of images from our recent auditions as well as photos from past productions. Most important of all – once the show opens our online album will highlight pictures taken of the wedding itself, including shots taken by audience members as part of the celebration!