The Cast Of Lampost

Actor ROBERT FUNARO (Sopranos/American Gangster) opened last night in Louis LaRusso's LAMPOST REUNION at the ArcLight Theatre here in NYC. The play is about a supposed world-famous singer, from Hoboken, who after a 20-year exodus from the town and the Lampost Bar, stops in and comes face-to-face with his former partner-in-crime and several other colorful personalities. The ex-friend (Biggie) is played by VINCENT PASTORE, and the world famoous singer (Fred) is played by FRANK (Rao's) PELLEGRINO. Now, these three all were on The Sopranos, and the interplay between them is worth the price of admission alone. Obviously, they know each other very well and how they work and it shows. At times tense, yet cathartic and terrifically enjoyable, the play at these moments almost conjurs up the ghost of Mamet. Pastore, who has appeared in more than his fair-shire of mobed-up works is terrific as he carries himself and his lines with grace and passion. Funaro, who famously hung himself on the pent-ultimate episode of The Sopranos (Members Only) is outstanding as Tommy ... a would-be wonder in the neighborhood with aspirations of grandeur. Funaro's line-readings are spot-on perfect and he shows immediately why all his roles have been so important; he's the perfect lynch-pin. Be it with JAMES GANDOLFINI or JOSH BROLIN, his work is brilliant. Also in the stellar cast is ANTHONY J. RIBUSTELLO (as Frank's bodyguard and compadre Jobby) and RICKY AIELLO (Mac) as the pub's over-inebriated customer. Pellegrino actually blew me away. He too was on the HBO show and always carried himself with grace. Here, he's outstanding and essays a character who is having his own personal doubts about his character and his friends. The story why he left the town and he friends, I won't, or can't, reveal here, but suffice it to say once it is resolved (and, is it really resolved!) everything moves forward to a rousing end. There's one line spoken by Pellegrino that is still resonating with me the day after: After confronting the posse, he says "2 thirds of our life is over ... let's enjoy the final third!" Indeed! Interestingly enough, actor DANNY AIELLO, who was present for the opening, was in the original production of the play on Broadway. Aiello, if I may add, is just one terrific actor and personality. His TV show several years back DELLAVENTURA (1997), was absolutely brilliant. Subsequent TV shows, like MONK and even, LAW AND ORDER, owe much to that show. He's also one funny dude too! It only runs for 2 weeks ... a must see! The direction by Frank Licato is flawless, and the Pasha's new best-friend producer Paul Borghese shines. It only runs for 2 weeks ... a must see!