Vincent Pastore, 'Sopranos' star, presents 'Wild Children' in Nyack
Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero is back. Only this time, the actor who played the mobster on "The Sopranos," Vincent Pastore, has written a show called "Wild Children" that opens Friday at the Nyack Village Theatre. The production features fellow former "Sopranos" actors Al Sapienza (who played Mike Palmice, Uncle Junior's right-hand man) and Anthony J. Ribustello (who was Dante Greco, Tony Soprano's driver).
In an interview with Newsday Westchester, Pastore, 66, discussed his creation of Frankie Donato, who owns a gritty downtown suburban New York bar and struggles to remain honest in the face of mounting temptation and corruption.
"Frankie Donato is Everyman," Pastore said. "He opens up a bar, people come in and ruin his life."
Pastore, a New Rochelle native who was a bouncer-turned-nightclub owner before becoming an actor at age 40, based his character on bar owners he knew. "There were 87 bars in New Rochelle," he said. "Some made it. Some failed." The action takes place in The Crazy Horse Bar, where strippers and wiseguys speak a lyrical street-wise patois.
Actor-director Paul Borghese, a Tappan native, helped bring the project to the Nyack Village Theatre, a tiny, 49-seat venue on the second floor of Main Street's Woolworth Building. Borghese submitted his film "Alienated" to the Nyack Film Festival that Nyack Theatre owner Richard Quinn hosted last year. Pastore, who stars in "Alienated," which won Best Short Feature, came to a screening and told Quinn about "Wild Children."
"We've workshopped in New York City, had readings at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and this is the next step, a fully staged workshop production out of town," Pastore said.
"It's a little theater, but a great opportunity to see the play on its feet," said Borghese, who is producing the show with actor Brooke Malloy. "We're working with local actors and bringing in some of our own."
"Soprano" alumnus Ribustello said of the production: "I'm not new, but some of these actors are new. To see the light in their eyes -- when you've been in the business for a while, that light goes away. It's great seeing it again."
For "Wild Children," Pastore cast some local actors who attend a free weekly acting seminar at the establishment he owns in New Rochelle, the Montauk Bar. Local actor Steve Zarro plays Frankie Donato and Dana Duff, an artist-in-residence at the theater, co-stars as Maggie Bennett. The workshop production also features West Nyack's Rocco Parente Jr. of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," who met Pastore when they played henchmen on the soap opera "One Life to Live," and Dominic Marcus, who has appeared on "Law & Order."
"Wild Children" also features Jonathan Baldwin, of the Baldwin family of actors, in his stage debut and Nyack blues artist Sam Weymon, who will perform in the show in between gigs at B.B. King Blues Club in Manhattan.
IF YOU GO
What: "Wild Children: A Story of a Man's Dreams and His Demons"
When: 8 p.m. Friday, April 12, Saturday, April 13, April 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 14, April 21 and 28.
Info: Nyack Village Theatre, 94 Main St., Nyack; 845-826-2639; www.nyackvillagetheatre.com; $25 prepay online, $30 at the door.