Robert De Niro to co-direct 'A Bronx Tale' stage musical

Robert De Niro to co-direct 'A Bronx Tale' stage musical
Robert De Niro is photographed at the Tribeca Screening Room in New York on Jan. 16, 2013. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

A new musical version of "A Bronx Tale" will premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey later this year in a staging co-directed by Robert De Niro, who helmed the 1993 movie version of the play.

Theater veteran Jerry Zaks will co-direct the production with De Niro, the company announced this week.


"A Bronx Tale" will feature music by multiple Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken, with lyrics by Glenn Slater. Chazz Palminteri has adapted his own play, which was first seen in Los Angeles in 1989, for the musical stage.

A sweet-natured coming-of-age saga set on New York's mean streets, "A Bronx Tale" tells the story of Calogero, an Italian American teen who must resolve his conflicting allegiances to his working-class father and the local mob boss who takes the youth under his wing.

The original play was a solo show performed by Palminteri. The subsequent 1993 movie version directed by De Niro expanded the narrative canvas to portray the story's many characters. In the movie, Calogero was played by actor Lillo Brancato, while De Niro played his father.

Palminteri revived the play on Broadway in 2007 and took it on a national tour, including a stop in L.A.

"A Bronx Tale" is set to run Nov. 25 to Jan. 3 as part of the Paper Mill's 2015-16 season. The New Jersey company has helped to launch a number of Broadway musicals, including Disney's "Newsies."

The Paper Mill will soon begin performances of the musical "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," another Disney property. The new musical production was seen last year at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT