October 11, 2010 by staff 

Moscato, Fairy tales in Hoboken? They occur at least on stage. The off-Broadway production of Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, on display at the Intimate Theatre Hudson Guild, at 441 W. 26th St. in Manhattan, is a musical play in Hoboken Italian deli in 1956.

Written by Susan DiLallo with music by Stephen Weiner, the show depicts a shy young man, Vinnie LoBianco, deli sandwiches make for his family while the girl’s desire cons, Angie Moscato, who works alongside him. The problem: she got her heart on barker, leather and local armed stud Rocco Fabrizio, who is carrying on an affair with the wife of a gangster. When Fabrice finally raises some serious issues, he convinces LoBianco to pretend to be him for a weekend. Then the fairy tale and hilarity-really begin.

Presented by the Prospect Theatre Company, the musical made its debut in New York Saturday, October 2, with schedules available on Sunday, October 31.

“I like shows where you can really create a sense of community and the world,” said Cara Reichel, director of the show, who founded the theater company, nonprofit 11 years ago. She added that the love story really has happened anywhere but New Jersey is an interesting framework.

“There is this kind of granularity in New Jersey, in my mind and a sense of realness and vividness, which is somewhat contrary to this world of fairy tale,” she said.

A native of Mississippi, Reichel said New Jersey is not quite familiar to her, despite the four years she spent at Princeton University, and is not Hoboken, anyway. However, the show continued strong links Hoboken and Jersey. In the most literal sense, the game itself was actually built in the Monroe Arts Center on the west side of town.

In the show, deli fiction, LoBianco was modeled Fiore Deli on Adams Street. Its shelves contain even tomato cans and other items donated by Hoboken hotspot. During the show, a couple of artists singing, shaking hands with a copy of the local newspaper, the reporter Hoboken. Some characters also have a stereotypical accent and bluster. “They all kind of evolved ways of speaking and interaction, for me, feel the truth of these characters,” said Reichel.

New Jersey native David Perlman, who plays LoBianco, said he focused his research on the characters the ins and outs of working in a delicatessen. At one point in the show, the mother of LoBianco, Millie, comments on how he sliced prosciutto, which is said Perlman, who was inspired to seek out videos of what sausages workers. “Besides all the deli, he says,” is more about the characters relationships with each other. “Perlman, who has appeared in several theatrical productions in New York and Europe as well as television shows such as 30 Rock and Law & Order, said he enjoyed playing two very different characters in Once Upon a Time.

His co-star Briga Heelan, who plays Moscato, his love interest, says that this production, her first after graduating from the University of Southern California, is different from other shows she has done.

“Much has been to college intellectual,anlytical pieces, and this part must also be grounded, as honest, but in a different way because it’s a story we know, a tale tale, “said Heelan. She added that she would find a way to be funny by honesty. “We are not trying to deceive anyone or the people of the strain,” said Heelan. “It’s just the simplicity of it.”

Several universal truths, such as that girls always seem good in the fall for bad boys, are found in a very light, so funny during the show. Reichel said the cast of the comedy kept fresh by avoiding repeat their lines. “You do not want to think about it,” she said.

The show has already been produced in Seattle and Chicago. Reichel said that only worked to his advantage. “It was kind of interesting to watch something that was complete and a decision on how I thought it might work better,” she said.

And now the show has finally come closer to its own setting, New Jersey. Heelan said that the timing makes sense. “We live in a culture-saturated Jersey right now,” she said. It could also be just another example of how Hoboken is stealing the spotlight.

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