For one week only, the hit musical A Bronx Tale will make its debut March 26th to 31st at The National Theatre in Washington DC. Based on the one-man show by Chazz Palminteri and the movie featuring Palminteri and Robert De Niro, A Bronx Tale is described as being Jersey Boys meets West Side Story. From the way actor Antonio Beverly tells it, there couldn’t be a more accurate description of the production.
“The story is about love. It follows this Italian American boy fighting with his love for streets, but then he falls in love with this African-American girl, Jane. She changes his way of thinking. In the midst, he’s being told by each party to follow his heart,” says Beverly, who plays Jane’s brother, Tyrone. “I stir the pot because I was beaten up by this boy and his gang. [The show] is about empowerment – not settling on just one thing. We can do whatever we want to do if we set our mind to it.”
The story may be about the mafia in the Bronx year ago, but Beverly relates to his character in a few ways. “I connect with Tyrone on so many levels. We’re the opposite, but I get him. When I was in character develo pment for Tyrone, I took my past and related it to him. I’m from West Baltimore,” says Beverly. “My parents were very protective of me, but I could see the boys at school and the kids on the block. Tyrone is a brother, but he’s a friend. He started these things because he wanted to walk the streets and not be bothered. I commend him for that. He’s the only one in the show who said, ‘No, I will not be afraid.’ It resulted in him being beat up. You can see how intense it is. Sometimes, I get choked up. You get so deep in because you mix reality and what’s on stage. You can easily go into it with everything in the news or your past.”
After his tour with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Beverly is excited to be a part of A Bronx Tale. “I’ve gotten to work with people I’ve wanted to work with for so long. Alan Menken, Robert De Niro, Sergio Trujillo – all of these wonderful people. I remember walking in the first day of rehearsal and thinking ‘It’s ok. They’re just people. Don’t freak out,’” laughs Beverly. “Everyone was so nice and supportive.”
As a performer, Beverly hopes people really enjoy and connect with the performance. “I think it’s one of those shows that touch on so many subjects while keeping the authenticity of the show. They don’t sugarcoat anything. It was the main thing they were trying to do from screen to stage – if you can keep the authenticity you will always be able to grasp the audience,” says Beverly. “Every show I try to make it as fresh as I can by focusing on something that I never really focus on – choreography, blocking, delivery. I try to connect to the audience in a different way. My favorite part is the bows just because of the choreography. You’ll see how different the choreography is for Italian-Americans (slides and turns) vs. African-Americans (step). When we get to the bows, we all do the same thing. It’s a stirring pot of choreography. You get to see the audience and connect with them. It’s the only time I’m myself.”
Beverly is excited to be so close to home and where he truly found himself. “I’m looking forward to going on tour. [Theater] was a way for me to come out growing up. I went to high school in Columbia and was auditioning for my first musical in Columbia. It was so much for me, that when I got it I was so rejoiced. I was driving home and said, ‘Well I got in, and I’m also gay!’ They said, ‘Well, we know,’” says Beverly. “Being a black gay man really was found from the love of the arts and support that I just kept going from there. There’s so much love in the arts and musical theater, dance, anything – there’s so much love. It helps a lot of gay and trans people really come to terms with their identity and their love of their craft. It’s a great time.”
A Bronx Tale will be performed at The National Theatre March 26th – March 31st. The Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday shows will play at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm, and Sunday evening at 7:30 pm. For ticket information, visit TheNationalDC.com or call the box office at 800-514-3849.
- "Brynn Devereaux is a freelance writer for Baltimore OUTloud. As an arts writer, she enjoys exploring the local arts scene and bringing attention to new books and authors. Brynn is a Scranton expat and a Towson University graduate."