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Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri Retell ‘A Bronx Tale’ on Broadway

Variety logo Variety 12/2/2016 Gordon Cox
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Chazz Palminteri and Robert De Niro have been living with “A Bronx Tale” for a long time now. Palminteri wrote the solo play in the late 80s, co-starred with De Niro (who also directed) in the 1993 movie, and now has written the book for the Broadway musical adaptation — co-directed by De Niro.

“I always felt it would be a terrific musical,” De Niro said at the afterparty following the opening night performance Dec. 1. “It’s like a fable. It fits a musical format.”

He admitted to not having much experience with stage directing, but still found ways to contribute his two cents. “Jerry [Zaks, his co-director] really did most of the work in terms of creating the spine of the piece,” he said. “But sometimes there were things that I felt were maybe too obvious, just because I believe that things can be conveyed by actors more simply and subtly.”

Palminteri brought the one-man show to Broadway in 2007 — and still performs it to this day, in places like Las Vegas. “I don’t do it close to New York anymore,” he noted, now that the musical is up and running. “I don’t want to compete with myself!”

This time around, the new addition to the “Bronx Tale” family was Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin”), the composer whose longtime connection to Disney is keeping him plenty busy. There’s the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” coming the spring, the redux of “The Little Mermaid” on the way and a just-announced “Aladdin” directed by Guy Ritchie. Plus, there’s the sequel to “Enchanted,” for which he’ll reteam with “Wicked” songwriter Stephen Schwartz.

“Disney seems to be determined to create every movie we ever worked on in another form!” he laughed.

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