I went to so many Italian American weddings all throughout my life that I never felt the need to go to “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” throughout the 80’s and 90’s. I had so many cousins and one by one they all walked down the aisle and I had lived through all the agida (stomach agitation) and all the acida (stomach acid) with the families, –who don’t talk to who, who can’t sit near who, who don’t like who, who owes who money, who don’t like what the other one does, what groom is going with what bridesmaid, what indiscretions did the guys do for their bachelor party antics, etcetera.
I knew from an early age that I’d never be the bride, the lady in the big white dress shaped like a fountain who takes her father’s arm and is “given away.” There was something I hated about weddings. I remember looking up that giant aisle in 1971 when I was a flower girl at Santa Maria Church in the Bronx for my brother’s wedding. He just got home from being a Marine serving in Viet Nam. His fiancè told me to hold her nephew’s hand, the ring bearer, and walk up the aisle. I couldn’t do it. I looked him in the eye and refused to hold his hand. If I had to walk that plank, I was doing it alone. Bride after bride I watched walk that walk, dance that dance with the father, and I watched all the ice swans melt as the Venetian Hours were raved about.
Now I am “in” the wedding. I play “Grandma Nunzio” in the 25th anniversary show of “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” – in Times Square. I invite people to come to a show I never got around to see myself. I hear from a lot of Italian Americans, “I never saw that. I never felt the need. I went to so many Italian American weddings as it was.” I hear that over and over and I remember that feeling. So I came up with a list of reasons why Italian American New Yorkers must see this show, this time, in Times Square.
- There is no where else you can do the tarentella in New York City with a group of 200 strangers.
- You can let out all the years of all the problems of all the family weddings you’ve ever been to, and purge the memories and tell the stories.
- You can sing along with Louis Prima hits, and sing to me, Grandma.
- I will give you a butterscotch ball and whisper “Mangia” the way your Grandma did to you and make you cry with nostalgia.
- Like the greatest of Fellini images, we gotta live with the surrealismo of who we are as a culture.
- Commedia dell’arte is in our blood. We are natural born improvisers, story tellers, pranksters.
- This show has a magic formula. Fun. Food. Song. Dance. Family fights.
- You will walk away whistling, and sing in the days after.
- You will want to come back and bring your friends and family.
- You can let loose. Talk with the characters about your family. Complain all you want. It’s cheap therapy, I’d say about two grand worth for the price of a ticket.
- New Yorkers are great to party with. Come hang out all night.
- You will never experience Times Square like this, in a wedding procession of 200 plus us characters.
- It’s the fun without the aggravation. For once, you can laugh at the family dramatics, instead of getting twisted.
- Vino. Pasta. Cake.
- Tarentella, live singing, live dancing, gorgeous actors who put out tons of energy for your entertainment.
- Hear real Bronx accents.
- Striptease. Rap. Crooning. Conga Line. Mambo Italiano.
- Everything except the Hokey Pokey. But we can do that on the sidelines.
- Bring your memories and your dancing shoes, and don’t miss the best most therapeutic party for Italian American New Yorkers.