By FRANK RIZZO, email@example.comHartford Courant10:53 a.m. EST, February 19, 2013
Middletown native and actor Steve Scionti brings his solo show, “Hear What’s In the Heart: A Shoemaker’s Tale” to The Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in Middletown for an extended engagement.
The six-week run begins May 16. The show will continue weekly on Thursdays at 7:390 p.m. through June 20.
The new draft of the play is co-written and directed byTony Award-winner Anthony Crivello, who recently completed a run on Broadway of Clifford Odet’s “Golden Boy.”
“Hear What’s in the Heart” is set in Middletown and inspired by Scioti’s family. The work is set against the backdrop of a post-funeral gathering to celebrate the life of Scionti’s grandfather,Angelo Morello (who owned Angelo’s Shoe Repair on Main Street in Middletown.)
Scionti grew up in Middletown, attending Xavier High School.
The play “tells the auto-biographical tale of Scionti’s youth and journey to performances on stage and films in Los Angeles and New York. ”
The show has also been presented at the Zephyr Theater in Los Angeles, as well as shows in Westchester and New York City. It was selected to be in the 2009 NY Fringe Festival. The show played two nights at the Wesleyan University Center for the Arts in the summer of 2012.
NINETEEN actors will take their bows when “Golden Boy,” Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of Clifford Odets’s 1937 play, opens Thursday on Broadway at the Belasco Theater. A few, like the Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub of “Monk,” will be familiar faces; many more will be recognizable in that “I know I know him” way that lets character actors both pay the bills and ride the subway in peace. At least two have previous experience with Odets, having worked with the directorBartlett Sher on his acclaimed 2006 revival of “Awake and Sing!”
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With Mr. Sher, Daniel Swee, Lincoln Center Theater’s casting director, put together the acting team for that play, and he’s done the same for “Golden Boy,” about a working-class kid, Joe Bonaparte, torn between the violin and the boxing ring. It’s a typically pungent Odets landscape (“Pop, that’s a paradox in human behavior: he shoots you for a nickel — then for 50 bucks he sends you flowers!”) where aspiration and desperation share very cramped quarters.
“You’re looking for people who, looks-wise, fit into the world of the play, but that’s not the motivating factor behind casting them,” Mr. Swee said in a recent interview. “What’s always most important is what they bring to the role emotionally.”
That stipulated, we asked Mr. Swee to describe what he sees (and hears) in several of the actors in the production. His comments and more portraits of the actors are in this slide show.
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Anthony Crivello: Leaving Las Vegas to Continue on His Entertainment Journey
Posted: 09/12/2012 9:18 am
Video , Anthony Crivello , Audra McDonald , Hal Prince , Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular , Tom Jones , Entertainment News
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“If anyone had told me I was going to spend one day of my career in Las Vegas, much less six years, I wouldn’t have believed it. But these last six years have been amazing.”
The speaker is Anthony Crivello. For six years, beginning in June 2006 he was the title character in Hal Prince’s Las Vegas production of Phantom. In Las Vegas, the show lasted 95 minutes, all the songs were included and it played with no intermission. The full name of the show on The Strip was Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular. While the stunning theater, sets and effects, gave credibility to that title, so did Crivello’s performance. At first alternating in the role, he quickly became the show’s sole Phantom, playing the part more than 2,300 times. The fact that he did so is a testament to pure talent and plenty of determination.
A self-described “street kid,” Anthony Crivello grew up in what he says is a music-loving family in Milwaukee. During the 1960s riots in that city, he saw Molotov cocktails thrown in front of his home and was present when a stray bullet went through his window. During the latter incident, Puccini was playing on the family stereo. (He did say they were a “music-loving family.”)
Crivello was turned on to theater by one show: “The most significant musical experience I ever had was seeing West Side Story. That’s why I do what I do. The jagged edges of the conflict and the classic love story really got to me.
“I went to Marquette University, but I retained that street edge, that attitude. So, when I got to Chicago to try out for the role of Agustín Magaldi, a popular singer with whom Eva Perón had an affair. in Evita” .
The character of Magaldi had a song in the show called On This Night of A Thousand Stars and Crivello says, “I had to sing that and, also, I was told to sing a Tom Jones song because of his strong voice. They wanted Magaldi to have that same strong quality. So I sang Delilah.
“I didn’t get the part, but I got a call-back to understudy the part of Che. So I went back, did the audition and didn’t get the part.”
It turned out that the Che they had cast proved unsatisfactory and ultimately, Crivello won the role. After Chicago, he transferred to the Broadway production.
Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary, in reality never met Eva Peron and was, seemingly, just added to the production for the sake of having a moral commentator on stage. Frank Rich, then drama critic for the New York Times who had no love for the show, wrote on October 17, 1982:
Anthony Crivello, a performer new to me, is easily the best Che I’ve seen in New York or London: not only does he have a supple voice, but he also moves with such grace that he lightens the heavy, moralizing tone his character must bear. He’s so effective, in fact, that he almost convinces you that there is a sound reason for Che Guevara to be dragged into the Perón saga.
A man of remarkably diverse talents, Crivello got his start in TV soap opera on the soap opera One Life To Livein 1968. He went on to do TV movies and theatrical films. His range included Jim Abrahams’ Jane Austin’s Mafia!, Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day, Crocodile Dundee II and many, many more.
On TV, Crivello’s been seen guest-starring on shows including Seinfeld, Frasier, Law & Order, Crossing Jordan, Miami Vice, CSI NY and dozens of others.
You can see some of Crivello’s comedy clips below. The short segment in Italian is from Jane Austen’s Mafia!(If you think you don’t know who he is, it’s a good bet you’ll recognize him.)
Through all of this Anthony Crivello has returned repeatedly to the stage. Evita marked Crivello’s meeting with legendary director Harold Prince. In 1993 Prince cast Crivello as Valentin in the Broadway musical adaptation of the film Kiss of the Spider Woman. Working with Chita Rivera and Brent Carver, Crivello won the 1983 Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He was granted another honor — the third such honor for him — when fabled “Line King” Al Hirschfeld drew the cast for the Sunday New York Times.
Hirschfeld had drawn Crivello before. The actor explains that when he heard about the first drawing, “I did research on Mr. Hirschfeld and realized the magnitude of his work and then I saw his ‘vision’ of me in the role of Che. I was honored, humbled…and flabbergasted. He captured a combination of things that were true to my portrayal of Che in black and white. His use of negative and blank space still has such energy. He was just a master of his craft.
“The three Hirschfelds I have (Che in Evita,the killer in the Broadway show The News, Valentin in Kiss of the Spider Woman) are a permanent record of my Broadway history, And, for that I will always be indebted to the great artist that he was. I am proud that Mr. Hirschfeld’s work hangs in my home today.” (In the Kiss of the Spider Woman drawing below, Crivello is second from the right.)
In addition to the theatrical works mentioned thus far, Anthony Crivello has worked at Lincoln Center, the Goodman Theater in Chicago, the Geffen Playhouse in LA and, in addition to the Broadway Tony Award, has won prestigious honors for his work elsewhere. He is a member of the Actors Studio in New York and Los Angeles and has been taught by Estelle Parsons, Harvey Keitel, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.
His is also a member of the Dramatist Guild of America and is writes plays and films.
Now back in New York talking to casting agents about his next experience, Crivello laments the fact that. “Casting agents for Broadway tend to see me as solely a musical actor, and the fact that I can do straight drama and comedy seems not to have registered with them. I hope that changes.”
Reflecting on his career and the last six years in Las Vegas, he says, “The journey took a long time. Meeting Hal Prince and doing Che in Chicago and on Broadway started it all.
As Phantom was ending its Las Vegas run, Prince said of Crivello, “I think he’s a protean performer. He’s got a wide range of capability and he’s charismatic, He’s very strong. I would always cast him in something where he was a force.”
Crivello has proven such a force that several hundred fans of the show greeted him most enthusiastically when they came to Las vegas in 2009 for what was supposed to be an annual event, a Phantom Fan Week. At the time, I wrote on BroadwayWorld,
“There were actual gasps when Anthony Crivello walked onstage, reed-thin, dark hair and eyes – every inch the ideal guy to play the role. [And, I must note, there was a great deal of talk about the various actors who have played it. The fans, gathering during breaks, showed off memorabilia, autographs and photos, all the while talking about "Michael," "Colm," "Chris," "Howard," and so on. These people love the show and treat the actors like family.""}
Asked his favorite part, this actor, who made his stage debut in a school production of a play about Pocahontas and John Smith told the audience, "My favorite role is Che Guevara in Evita. I'd like to play Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Alvaro Mangiacavallo in The Rose Tattoo. Burt Lancaster was miscast in the role [in the film version]. It’s very operatic, very Italian. I’d like to try it. I’d also like to play Teach in David Mamet’s American Buffalo.”
While sad to see the Las Vegas production end, Crivello is anxious to continue his journey. He and his wife, actress Dori Rosenthal, were married shortly before the run began and, while living here, have added Enzo and Charlotte (“Charlie”) to their family.
A week before he left Las Vegas, Crivello filmed a short scene with Matt Damon for the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as Liberace. He is enjoying New York “catching up with old friends (The photo at left of Crivello his Marie Christine friend co-star Audra McDonald who is now in the revival of Porgy and Bess on Broadway was taken last week) with and making the rounds.”
By any measure, Anthony Crivello is prodigiously talented and will soon find another venue to entertain us and continue on the career journey that has, thus far, been so very successful. Look for him soon.
[Photos: Anthony Crivello as the Phantom. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus; headshot of Anthony Crivello and photo of Crivello with Audra McDonald courtesy of Mr. Crivello; Al Hirschfeld drawing of Kiss of the Spider Woman courtesy of the Margo Feiden Galleries All photos used by permission.]
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Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular cast members Anthony Crivello, Kristi Holden, Kristen Hertzenberg and Andrew Ragone celebrate five years at the Venetian on June 23, 2011.
B. VARTAN BOYAJIAN
The 2012 Miss America Pageant contestants at “Phantom — the Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian.
The Phantom is vanishing, this time for good.
“Phantom — the Las Vegas Spectacular,” one of Las Vegas’ finest and most lavish production shows over the past five years, is closing Sept. 2.
The show’s company was told tonight in a meeting with BASE Entertainment co-Chief Executive Officer Scott Zeiger at the Venetian, where the show opened in June 2006.
The show’s lead was resigned that the decision was purely business.
“I’ll tell you, there was talk about us closing after a year or two, but we kept on going,” said Anthony Crivello, who played the title role throughout the show’s run, swapping the lead role with Brent Barrett the first year and taking it solo after. “It is a credit to Scott Zeiger that we held on for as long as we were in tough economic times, around the world and in Las Vegas.”
For at least the past couple of years, producers renegotiated union contracts to keep the show profitable. In June, marking the show’s fifth anniversary, Zeiger expressed confidence in the show’s performance.
“First and foremost, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hal Prince all the way to the associate choreographer and dance captain, the show is in great shape,” Zeiger said at the time. “The quality is still at a pinnacle. Any concierge or ticket broker in Las Vegas can recommend this show and be confident that whoever they are recommending it to is going to be highly entertained.”
The shortened, special effects-laden show was widely praised by critics and show-goers. Just this week, contestants of the 2012 Miss America Pageant watched a performance.
In a statement issued tonight, Zeiger said, “All involved are very proud of the success that ‘Phantom’ has achieved here in Las Vegas at the Venetian. Since opening night, critics and fans alike have recognized this production of ‘Phantom’ is unlike any they have ever seen, or will ever see again. We’ve had a triumphant run by any measure.”
Zeiger was traveling after giving the performers, musicians, stagehands and ushers the news and unavailable for further comment.
Tony Award winner Crivello, who has lived in Las Vegas during the show’s run, said he recognized the tough economic climate for top-end shows as recently as the past few months.
“It is becoming tougher and tougher and is getting more and more competitive,” he said. “You look at ‘Viva Elvis’ (closing this year at Aria) and ‘The Lion King’ (which closed in December at Mandalay Bay), there are so many parameters that come into play for shows to succeed. But it is a question of diminishing returns. The show tightened its belt for as long as it could without dropping in quality.”
“Phantom” is the third show to announce its departure from the Venetian and its sister property, Palazzo, in the past year. “Jersey Boys” has closed at Palazzo and is headed for a March opening at Paris Las Vegas. Blue Man Group is leaving Palazzo for Monte Carlo this fall. No replacement shows have been announced at either hotel.
“Phantom” played to nearly 2,700 audiences in a customized, $40 million theater.
Crivello said the focus of “Phantom” now is to keep the quality of the show customarily high.
“We want to exit on top with a good marketing blitz and end on a high note,” he said. “That is the game plan now. It’s smart business, and it’s good for the show.”
Anthony will be on Milwaukee’s Morning Blend show Thursdays July 20th. in the 9am hour. He is promoting his concerts for FESTA ITALIANO this weekend on the US Cellular Stage at 9pm on Friday and Saturday Evenings. Anthony will be singing from all of his broadway shows and of course from Phantom as well as a few standards and surprises!
Anthony Crivello, right, who plays the Phantom in “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular,” stands with his wife, Dori Rosenthal, and their children Enzo and Charlotte.SPECIAL TO VIEW
Jeff Leibow turns his 22-month-old daughter Emma upside down during their recent visit to The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2240 Village Walk Drive, Henderson. Leibow, who portrays Nick Massi in “Jersey Boys,” said Emma keeps him smiling.JEFERSON APPLEGATE/VIEW
Jeff Leibow turns his 22-month-old daughter Emma upside down during their recent visit to The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2240 Village Walk Drive, Henderson. Leibow, who portrays Nick Massi in “Jersey Boys,” said Emma keeps him smiling. JEFERSON APPLEGATE/VIEW
They dazzle crowds nightly and dabble as local celebrities, but when some Strip leading men go home, roles switch, and they are the captivated audience — to their children.
With Father’s Day around the corner, three doting dads reflected on their dual roles and which is their greatest billing.
Anthony Crivello’s time as the Phantom in “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” is punctuated by a few superlatives.
He helped originate the role when the Las Vegas production began almost five years ago. As his resume expanded, so did his family.
Less than three months after Crivello started his eight-show -a-week production schedule, his first child, son Enzo, made his debut. Enzo was the first “Phantom ” baby.
The veteran performer said his actor and life scopes narrowed when Enzo, and later daughter Charlotte entered the picture.
“You hear these adages, ‘It’ll change everything (becoming a parent),’ it all holds true,” Crivello said. “My children are the most precious things in the world to me.”
Crivello relishes his work schedule that allows him to share in soccer practices, swim lessons and getting to and from school with Enzo, 4, Charlotte, almost 2, and his wife, Dori Rosenthal.
But sometimes, Crivello has to bow out of family activities or join the fun a little sleep-deprived.
“The difficulty for me, after a two-show night, by the time I’m done with the show, it’s 12:30 and 1 a.m. before I wind down and go to sleep,” he said. “My son will be up at 6:45 a.m. You just go with it.”
Crivello said his children are eager learners and soak up educational outings around town. They visit attractions such as the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., or the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
The family doesn’t have concrete plans for Father’s Day, Crivello said.
“I’m not big on gifts . I don’t want gifts,” Crivello said. “I don’t want ties . I want the love of my family. I want to be with them. That’s the most precious gift of all.”
During the first week of his son’s life, Tony Hernandez marked two unforgettable occasions about a day apart.
First, his newborn son Gavin defied developmental norms by rolling himself over at about five days old, a milestone usually reached at three months old.
Later that week, Hernandez became a self-described “Skype dad,” having to video chat with his young family while he rehearsed as an acrobat in “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace.
“That lasted about a week,” he said. “You don’t get the smell of him, the feel of him.”
Hernandez’s wife, Lijana Wallenda-Hernandez, and the baby joined Hernandez soon after and set up home base in Paradise.
The couple met when he was 9 and she 7. Their paths crossed because both were born into circus families. His had an acrobat act, her s a trapeze act.
They’ve been married for 11 years and have performed together a number of times. She even has portrayed his mother in a show.
Their role as parents began last February.
Henandez said Gavin has shown other athletic instincts as he grabs for things and works on his hand-eye coordination.
“I don’t want him to do high wire or acrobatics – I want him to be a doctor,” Hernandez said. “I’m scared of his first steps.”
Hernandez said although he’s professionally “over-trained,” Gavin is on his mind during performances.
“It’s such a cliche, but my whole life shifted,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of my child worrying about their father.”
Hernandez said he’d help Gavin pursue “the family business” if he really wanted to.
“I’m safer up there than driving my motorcycle,” he said. “He’d be OK.”
The character he portrays in “Jersey Boys” may be a little rough around the edges, but as a dad, Jeff Leibow is a big softy.
His 22-month-old daughter Emma is an active toddler who knows the way to her dad’s heart and funny bone.
“She makes me laugh every day,” Leibow said. “She awes me.”
Leibow portrays Nick Massi in “Jersey Boys” at the Palazzo eight times a week, but it’s the songs of Emma’s current favorite movie “Fantasia” that have worn on Leibow and wife, Melody.
“We hide it, she finds it,” he said.
Leibow said Emma has taught him patience, and he enjoys spending his days with her. His schedule also allows him to join in doctors visits, a possibly common occurrence in Emma’s future.
At nine months old, Emma was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a genetically inherited disorder that causes tumors to grow in her nervous system. The condition, more commonly known as NF, has sparked the Leibows to start the foundation NF Hope to raise awareness and help other families having similar experiences.
Despite health issues, Leibow said Emma’s arrival was more than the game-changer he figured.
“As a parent, you think you’re prepared for how much they’ll change your life,” he said. “And then it’s totally different. But it’s great.”
Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-3839.
Celebrating its fifth anniversary in Las Vegas on June 24, Phantom—The Las Vegas Spectacular continues to dazzle audiences nightly with its romantic music, haunting title character, gorgeous chandelier—a technical marvel that pieces together in a stunning opening number—and the timeless, tragic love story of a disfigured man and the young opera singer who becomes his obsession. We asked four of Phantom’s cast members—Anthony Crivello (The Phantom); Kristi Holden (Christine); Andrew Ragone (Raoul) and Kristen Hertzenberg (Christine, select performances)—five questions about what they recommend in and around Las Vegas.
The perfect dinner spot before seeing Phantom or a place to go for late-night snacks after the show…
Anthony Crivello: “I like the Grand Lux Café or Bouchon restaurant. They both are close to the Phantom Theatre lobby, so you can pick up tickets prior and have a short walk to the theater after your meal without panic. After the show—believe it or not—I like the food court just off the Phantom Theatre lobby. Lots of choices for desserts—gelato, pastries, cappuccinos—nice, comfortable chairs and tables to sit and not too loud for conversation after the show.”
Kristi Holden: “My favorite places for dinner or late-night snacks are First Food and Bar—I love their walnut shrimp and chicken wings—and Dos Caminos has the best guacamole. Both are in The Palazzo.”
Kristen Hertzenberg: “My favorite is B&B Ristorante at The Venetian. They have a truly authentic Italian menu. Delicious! For a late night snack afterwards, I’d go to First Food and Bar at The Palazzo. It’s open late, they have great food and there’s a photo booth. You can’t lose.”
A favorite place to enjoy a cocktail…
Anthony Crivello: “Tao Beach [at The Venetian]—lovely views poolside. Bouchon restaurant’s terrace patio—nice ambiance, quiet, peaceful and a fountain and pool.”
Andrew Ragone: “Parasol Down at Wynn. Sit outdoors near the waterfall and you get a show every half hour. You can’t beat it.”
Kristen Hertzenberg: “For a cocktail near the Phantom Theatre, I’m a fan of Dos Caminos. I loved their Prickly Pear margarita at the one in New York when I lived there, so I was excited when they opened one here. But away from the Strip, I am a huge fan of the Downtown Cocktail Room. Ask for a ‘Downtown Dill’—it’s a Bloody Mary lover’s dream!”
Somewhere to get an “only in Vegas” experience…
Kristi Holden: “In addition to the fun and eclectic vibe of Fremont Street [downtown], I love the rides at the Stratosphere. They aren’t for the faint of heart, and I love facing my fears and jumping in to challenge myself to go for it.”
Andrew Ragone: “Sit on the patio of Mon Ami Gabi at Paris, and [watch] the Bellagio fountain show [across the street] as you eat. So cool and romantic.”
Kristen Hertzenberg: “The Neon Museum. They’re preserving Vegas’ rich history of beautiful signage.”
A place to relax or goof off in Las Vegas…
Anthony Crivello: “First choice—Tao Beach, without a doubt. Second choice—Hard Rock Hotel Beach. Third choice—The Playboy Club at the Palms.”
Kristi Holden: “I love going to the Town Square mall, south of the Strip. It has great restaurants and shopping in a beautiful, outdoor setting. You can eat, shop, go dancing or see a movie. It is a favorite spot of mine and for many of my Phantom castmates.”
Andrew Ragone: “A new thing I did was zipline down Fremont Street, which [gave me] an aerial view of a bunch of drunk people below!
A day trip away from Las Vegas…
Anthony Crivello: “Hoover Dam. My family has been, but not since they built the new bypass—an architectural wonder by all the photos I have seen.”
Kristi Holden: “Always Mt. Charleston. It’s only 40 minutes away, and before you know it, you are in the mountains. It’s usually 10 degrees cooler than Las Vegas, which is a great reprieve from the summer heat. Being from Colorado, the hiking trails and the option to camp overnight takes me home to my roots.”
Andrew Ragone: “My favorite getaway is paddleboarding at Lake Las Vegas. You start at Loews Hotel, you are out on the lake…[and you can] come back and have lunch at the pool. A great afternoon.”
Kristen Hertzenberg: “We like heading up to Mt. Charleston for lunch at the [Mt. Charleston] Lodge and a hike. One of these days, we plan to check out the Pahrump Valley Winery.”
Phantom—The Las Vegas Spectacular | Mon.-Sat., 7 p.m.; Mon. & Sat., 9:30 p.m. (dark Sun.) | From $59 | The Venetian | 702-414-9000