Italian musical 'Rugantino' eyes New York return

AP News
Posted: Mar 18, 2014 1:58 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Brush up on your Italian — "Rugantino," one of Italy's most successful musicals, is returning to New York after 50 years.

Producers said Monday that a lavish production celebrating the musical comedy's 50th anniversary of its Broadway debut will play New York City Center this June starring Italian comedian Enrico Brignano. The show will be performed in Italian with English subtitles.

"It's time for Americans to see it again," said producer Francesco Del Maro by phone from Livorno, Italy. "It's something very spectacular that we want to bring to New York City."

Created by Pietro Garinei Sandro Giovannini with a score by Armando Trovajoli, the 1962 musical is the story of a rogue who bets he can seduce the wife of a city elder in 19th century Rome, performed in the city's traditional dialect. It ran on Broadway for three weeks in 1964 and was made into a movie.

One of the best-known songs is "Roma nun fa' la stupida stasera," which, translated from the Roman dialect, literally means "Rome, don't act silly this evening." It's sung by would-be suitors who beg the city to put on its magic so romance might bloom.

The production, which started in Rome last year and makes stops in Milan in April and Florence in May, will be in New York for only four performances from June 12-14. It will arrive with some 70 actors, dancers and singers, including 78-year-old Armando Silverini, who played a role in the original production. The original costumes have been remade and the show also employs the latest in technology, with moving platforms.

It will be led by Brignano, considered Italy's top comedian, who also directs the show. His films in Italy include "Faccio un salto all'Avana," ''Ci vediamo domain" and "Un'estate ai Caraibi." He also played the title character in 2010 when the show was first revived in Rome.

"Rugantino" is produced by MF Production, with executive producer Music Experience.