Actress Maria Baratta prides herself on being real and raw, and along the way she is also filled with personality and promise. Her new one-woman show that she wrote and stars in, “Vignettes of an I-talian American Girl,” is receiving well-deserved kudos on the stage of Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre until Sunday, April 22.
Fittingly this Waterbury native is willing to show herself, Italian-American roots and all, down to her soul, which she bares to the audience openly and honestly. While she is alone on stage, her family surrounds her with love and sincere affection as well as a lot of advice she has no intention of taking.
Her mom Lucy, her dad Tony, her younger sister Nicolina and a bevy of aunts and uncles are all brought to life through Baratta’s skills as an impersonator, so true to life that you can see each member of the family interacting with her like a well spiced spaghetti sauce to her narrative meat balls.
The stories she shares are at times humorous and poignant and she spares no details to keep it real. Her extended clan taught her how to be a professional first-class worrier while her father showed her dances from the tango to the twist to the tarantella. Her mom, the accordion-playing and singing hairdresser, convinced her that any problem can be solved with her special cookie recipe…every problem except what happened on June 23, 2000 to her exuberant, taboo shattering, full of vibrancy little sister Nicky.
As Maria searches for answers as to why their lives changed so drastically that fateful day, she summons the courage to face forward and move ahead, following the advice given to her long ago by a favorite uncle. Anthony Patellis directs this charming and heartfelt journey of coming of age.
For tickets ($29-39), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.SevenAngelsTheatre.org. Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Follow Maria Baratta down her personal yellow brick road to growing up where her La Famiglia, her family, may be hiding behind the curtain with the Wizard of Oz.