They may have gotten “whacked” on the TV screen, but actors Vincent Pastore (Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) and Steve Schirripa (Bobby “Baccala” Baccalieri) are alive and ready to discuss “The Sopranos” during “Sinatra Meets the Sopranos” on May 4 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Crooner Michael Martocci and his 22-piece orchestra will offer an evening of songs and stories.
“Frank Sinatra and ‘The Sopranos’ are two of the biggest names in entertainment. I had an idea of putting them together,” says Martocci, 57. “Crowd reactions range from hysterical laughing to tears in the eyes. It touches every emotion in the body.”
The Las Vegas-style show begins with Martocci performing a set of Sinatra classics, such as “Summer Wind,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Strangers in the Night.” Then an eight-minute film shows the best “Sopranos” clips from each actor before they appear on stage to share some behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the show. Long Island comic Joey Kola will serve as master of ceremonies.
One of the most endearing qualities about “The Sopranos” is the colorful characters of the crew. Each has his own flavor and vibe.
“Bobby’s the kinder wiseguy — not the brightest, but basically he’s a loyal, family man with a good heart,” reflects Schirripa, 60, on his role. “He kind of fell into the business. He didn’t seek it out, it found him.”
“Christopher [Moltisanti] was an emotional guy who reacted to things in a passionate way. He lived life in such big extremes all the time,” says Imperioli, 53. “I’ve always received mixed reactions to him. Some people kind of hated him and viewed him as just a drug addict, while others understood that struggle. Some women kind of loved him because he was the bad boy. Some guys liked that he was a crazy hothead.”
Pastore, 72, on Big Puss: “Sal was that brother you love but always gets in trouble. He had to go down his own road dealing drugs, but then he got arrested and let the Feds control him.”
GANDOLFINI THE GREAT
Of course the biggest character of them all was the lead, Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, whom all three actors miss dearly.
“The best scenes I did on the show were with Jimmy,” says Pastore. “When the Emmy nominations were announced for season 2, I didn’t get nominated. My phone rang at 7:45 a.m. and it was Jim. He said, ‘You were robbed.’ ”
Schirripa adds: “Jim was a really generous man. We were good friends and hung around together, went to ballgames. There were always a lot of laughs and good times with him.”
CONNECTING WITH FANS
After telling some tales, the trio opens up the floor to take questions from the audience.
“It gets very interesting because you never know what people are going to ask. We go where everybody wants to take us. It’s really fun because it’s unpredictable,” says Imperioli. “The show occupies a dear place in people’s lives. They tell you that, and it’s very moving.”
One of the most commonly discussed topics is the show’s controversial conclusion.
“I think it’s great that everyone is still talking about the ending. It keeps you wondering, which is very theatrical,” says Pastore. “It makes for an interesting conversation and gives you a hunger to see it again.”
Many fans wonder if what Bobby Baccala says to Tony Soprano in the boat about death (“You probably don’t even hear it when it happens”) in the first episode of the final season is seen as foreshadowing the show’s finale. When asked his opinion, Schirripa says: “I don’t know, but I guess it makes sense to me. I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought. However, I see what people are saying.”
Reflecting on the entire series, which began 20 years ago, Schirripa notes, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that’s not going to come around again. Now there’s a new generation watching the show. It just keeps rolling along. Hopefully people will still be watching this thing 50 years from now.”
“SINATRA MEETS THE SOPRANOS”
WHEN/WHERE 8 p.m., May 4, NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd. in Westbury
INFO 800-745-3000, thetheatreatwestbury.com