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'Sopranos' stars appear at Mulcahy's fundraiser

James Gandolfini, second from left, and Tony Sirico

James Gandolfini, second from left, and Tony Sirico in a scene from the HBO series, "The Sopranos," which tops the Writers Guild of America list of 101 best-written series. Credit: HBO

Before this past weekend, there had been a flier posted to the Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall’s website concerning an upcoming fundraiser set for April 20 -- an event titled “Back to the Beach” that was to donate all gathered proceeds to certain communities impacted by superstorm Sandy (specifically Breezy Point, Roxbury and Rockaway Point).

Tickets were $60, and included an open bar, food, entertainment and auctions, as well as some “surprise guest” appearances. Set to begin at 3 p.m., a fair amount of people had made advance purchases toward their admission, with some seemingly unaware of who these “guests” could possibly be (when asked during casual chatting).

Once the affair got under way, its host – radio DJ “GoumbaJohnny Sialiano of WPTY-FM “Party 105" – took the stage and made the announcement that among the planned happenings, cast members of the HBO cable network gangster drama “The Sopranos” were present and coming out soon. Upon hearing this, some in attendance began peacefully speculating among themselves about which actors known from the show could possibly be appearing – for, as many people who are regular clubbers will tell you, nightspots frequently advertise that actors who “are from” a given show are to drop by for a promotion -- but often turn out to be not-quite-famous individuals that merely had brief involvement with the said program.

At about 5 p.m., Sialiano again turned to his microphone, and as he was going over details of the day’s auctions and giving out praise to contributors, actor Tony Sirico (who played main character “Paulie Walnuts” on The Sopranos) nonchalantly walked out behind the MC and sat down on a plush couch situated along the back wall of the stage .?.?. leading to some gasps from the audience.

It wasn’t before long that the host realized the special “guests” were ready to make their presence known – and Goumba Johnny then brought out actors Vince Curatola (“Johnny Sack”) and Steven Schirripa ("Bobby Bacala").

The crowd cheered heartily at seeing these familiar faces – and core ‘Sopranos players – take the stage, but the room then fully erupted when none other than “Tony Soprano” himself, Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actor James Gandolfini climbed the stage stairs and waved to the house. More than just known for his work on HBO, Gandolfini has appeared in numerous major motion pictures (including “True Romance,” “Crimson Tide,” “Get Shorty” and “Zero Dark Thirty”), and his arrival at Mulcahy’s was a tremendous surprise to many (save those who are Facebook friends with the pub; it had posted earlier that day Gandolfini was to take part).

The spacious Mulcahy’s barroom stayed abuzz for several minutes, as cellphone cameras flashed wildly at the actors while they sat down and sipped wine. Sialiano quickly led an auction on a poster autographed by some of the Sopranos crew, which started bidding for under $100 – but ended up selling for $300 .?.?. to Gandolfini himself.

After a short while, the actors departed, but were followed by performances from dance music artists Dana Rayne, Reina and Lucas Prata – all popular and successful singers in their own right – at this local fundraiser that brought some very famous faces, not commonly spotted on a Saturday afternoon in April, out to Long Island for a cause.

Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall: 3232 Railroad Ave. Wantagh 516-783-7500

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