Cyrano de Bergerac meets The Sopranos. “Who woulda thunk?”
Serrano The Musical made a spectacular world premiere at the Matrix Theatre last Friday evening presenting the heart of New York City’s Little Italy, complete with poetry, nymphomania, gangster rivalry, fabulous drag shows and a very quirky love affair. Suffice it to say, this show is “colorful” in all of its poetic, musical, mobster mayhem.
This time around, Cyrano has been transformed into Serrano D’Angelo, a highly cultured, lover of the arts, enforcer for the Reyo crime family, in love with a judge’s daughter. When Don Reyo is facing jail time, Serrano is ordered to take Reyo’s crude, light-headed but incredibly handsome, New Jersey nephew, Vinnie, under his wing and do more than smooth out Vinnie’s rough edges, in order to influence the judge by seducing Rosanna.
It’s an unusually epic story that could have gotten to the point just a little sooner. As a three hour musical, that could have skipped a few drawn out and extra moments, Serrano The Musical just about tests the patience of short attention span theatre goers.
But … Peggy Hickey’s choreography is “built to last” and packs a punch as soon as actor Chad Borden (Nickie Reyo) outrageously delivers a hilarious and sexy glitter-and-be-gay drag extravaganza as well as when actress Valerie Perry does her Spumonte version of Mama Rose in the second act.
Serrano The Musical is loaded with vocal talent to spare. Tim Martin Gleason (Serrano) sings and serenades heady operatic amore to a lovely Suzanne Petrela (Rosanna) who sings her tender crushes in unbelievable infatuation – to Vinnie. And the entire cast really steps up the delivery of Robert Teppers music for a riotous affair.
The slapstick goes somewhat round in circles and there are plenty of “inside” gag references, but overall, Serrano The Musical is a zany audience pleasing show.
Book and Lyrics by Madeline Sunshine
Music by Robert Tepper
Directed by Joel Zwick
Musical Direction/Arrangements by Jeff Rizzo
Choreography by Peggy Hickey
Starring: Tim Martin Gleason (Serrano)
Featuring: Suzanne Petrela (Pasadena Playhouse Mask, Life Could Be A Dream) as Rosanna, Chad Doreck (Off-Broadway – Altar Boyz) as Vinnie and Barry Pearl, Chad Borden, Tom G. McMahon, Craig McEldowney, Valerie Perri, Peter Van Norden, Matthew Henerson, James Tabeek and Kristina Miller.
Photo (above): Suzanne Petrela and Tim Martin Gleason of the World Premiere of Serrano The Musical.