Sunday, February 8, 2015
STEVE SCIONTI SPEAKS FROM THE HEART
A 32 ounce can of Tuttorosso Tomatoes almost sidelines Angelo's funeral wake when one can't be found to make the required red sauce that Steve's mom Rosetta Scionti must cook. A pox on the heads of her sons Steven and Antonio if they try to pawn off a can of Progresso as a substitute. The boys have to risk the verbal abuse of Jerry, the pizza maker, once they determine that none of the grocery stores in the entire Middletown, Connecticut area have the Tuttorosso brand in stock. Thankfully, Jerry, despite his grumbling and garlic-tinged temper, relents when he hears the tomatoes are for the boys' grandfather's wake, a much beloved and respected Angelo Morello.
On his death bed, Angelo tells Steven "I am proud of you." He cautions him to lead a rich life, blessed with family and acknowledge the good in everyone. His life lessons began years before when Steve, whom he affectionately called "Stevenchello," started exhibiting a love for dance. His grandfather, who took great joy in opera by Rossini and Verdi, would conduct in front of his shoe making machines so it was only natural that he would make Steve his first dancing shoes and pay for his first dancing lessons. Angelo was always his chief cheerleader and supporter, defending him when he was teased by his peers for preferring dancing to basketball. Being called "Tina Ballerina" is not easy.
With the message "A man has no dreams, he has no heart" from his grandfather, Steven watched this simple, hard working man establish a life so strong and true that two thousand people gathered in Sicily and at the St, Sebastian Church in Middletown to say farewell on December 5, 1990. In this one man show, Steven Scionti plays everyone in his grandfather's world with amazing skill and humor, making them come alive right before our eyes. Whether it is his womanizing Uncle Manny from Florida who has a reputation as a lover of food and women or Brother Connolly from Xavier High School who tried to teach the secret to sex education was abstention or his Uncle Amadeo whom he likened to a "dancing banana," Steve has the profound talents to bring them each individually and memorably to life. Anyone who doesn't see the Soup Nazi from "Seinfeld" in Jerry, the pizza man, isn't looking hard enough.
Whether he is doing disco, playing basketball, or channeling Fred Astaire, Steve Scionti is adhering to a code of honor and respect his grandfather taught him. To come meet his mother Rosetta, his father Sebastiano, his brother Antonio, his Uncles Amadeo and Manny, the pizza man Jerry and Brother Connolly and, of course, his dear Angelo, call the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636, option 0 or online at MyCabaret.org. tickets are $33.
Let Steve Scionti dance his way into your heart as he shares the wisdom he learned at his grandfather's knee.