10/21/2005 - HCAC: "Breaking Legs"


     “Breaking Legs,” the off-Broadway hit comedy by Tom Dulack, will be presented by Teaneck New Theatre (TNT) in association with The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center (HCAC) on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 through Oct. 29 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, at 3:00 p.m. Greg Liosi directs the show, which will be performed at HCAC, 39 Broadway, Hackensack.

     The term “break a leg” is associated with wishing good luck to actors, but the expression has a slightly different connotation when the world of the Mafia collides with the world of the theatre. The wacky fun begins when Terence O’Keefe (a college professor and playwright) approaches the father of Angie (his former student) to obtain financial backing for his new play. What O’Keefe doesn’t know is that, in addition to owning a successful Italian restaurant, Angie’s father Lou Graziano has an extended “family” made up of mobsters. Complications arise when lusty Angie falls for the unsuspecting playwright. The situation becomes even trickier when a minor thug “accidentally” dies and O’Keefe finds out who his backers really are. “Breaking Legs” keeps everyone in line by serving up pasta and mayhem in equal measure.

     Director Liosi has waited a long time to do this play. In fact, Liosi says, he’s been eager to direct it ever since he saw the original New York production in 1991. “I knew it would happen someday,” Liosi declares, “because I had every detail thought out, right down to how great the ‘restaurant’ was going to smell.”

     Here are the players who bring Liosi’s vision to the stage. Roland Uruci of Staten Island is playwright and English professor Terence O’Keefe. Lake Hiawatha resident Richard Monaco plays Lou Graziano, the restaurant proprietor (among other things). Jennifer Christiansen, who lives in Wharton, N.J., is Lou’s flamboyant daughter Angie. Mahwah’s Joe Berardi is Mike Francisco, an exotic Sicilian (sometimes mistaken for a mobster). Bergenfield resident Howard Schneider portrays Tino De Felice, a real estate developer with few social graces. Leo Hatem of Paterson plays nervous horse-player Frankie Salvucci.

     Tickets for “Breaking Legs” are $12; $10 for students, seniors and theatre parties of 10 or more. For reservations and information, call TNT at (201) 692-0200 or HCAC at (201) 646-8042. If available, tickets can be purchased at the door prior to performance. For directions to the theatre, visit TNT’s web site at www.go-tnt.org.

Joe Berardi (Mahwah) as Mike Francisco and Richard Monaco (Lake Hiawatha) as Lou Graziano. Photos by Marilyn Schilkie.

Jennifer Christiansen (Wharton) as Angie Graziano and Roland Uruci (Staten Island, NY) as Terence O'Keefe.

Mahwah's Joe Berardi as Mike Francisco and Paterson's Leo Hatem as Frankie Salvucci.

Harry Bates (New Milford) as Tino De Felice, Joe Berardi (Mahwah) as Mike Francisco, Roland Uruci (Staten Island, NY) as Terence O'Keefe and Richard Monaco (Lake Hiawatha) as Lou Graziano.