A Bronx Tale shares Cyrano’s infatuation with rich language, if a lot less decorously. Chazz Palminteri’s one-man show about his childhood at 187th Street and Belmont Avenue overflows with the barbed, tumbling New York–ese that “fuhgeddaboudit” only hints at. That rough musicality goes a long way toward redeeming Palminteri’s clichéd, corn-heavy writing. When he resists the urge to stray outside his range (e.g., depicting himself as a wide-eyed 9-year-old, which may disqualify him from playing made men ever again), the performance is charming and poised. His fondness for the gangsters he grew up with and indulgence of their funny tics yield a blend of shtick and menace I’d never imagined: Jackie Mason meets GoodFellas.
A Bronx Tale
By Chazz Palminteri. At the Walter Kerr Theatre.