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News, Recommendations & Notes

November 26, 2012

Let us all hold prayerful hearts for those recovering from Hurricane Sandy.  There is much to be thankful for.  It's been a busy month as I just finished directing Into the Woods and now moving on to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Standing-O Productionsin Montvale, NJ.  I am also honored to be the winner of the 2012 United Solo Award for Best Comedic Actor.  Proud to be among other award winners - John Leguizamo and Austin Pendleton and so much fun to mmeet and chat with Academy Award nominee Marsha Mason.  Blood Type: RAGU performs next December 6-9 at the 500 seat Inserra Theatre in Montvale, NJ.  This production is produced by Composer Neil Berg from Leftfield Productions and John Asselta from Standing-O Productions.  

October 2, 2012

Just finished directing Legally Blonde and now working on Into the Woods for Standing Room Only Productions in Montvale, NJ.  I am also happy to announce that Blood Type: RAGU has been accepted into the United Solo Performance Festival (the world's largest solo theatre festival presenting over 100 solo productions!) and will perform next for one night Off-Broadway on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 9PM - Theatre ROW: 410 W. 42nd St., NYC. TICKETS, with a price of $18, are available at the Theatre ROW Box Office and online by clicking Telecharge. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre ROW – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME for Blood Type: RAGU. Visit the United Solo website as well:   United Solo Performance Festival

July 16, 2012

Enjoying the summer teaching Memoir Writing to mature adults through the New York Public Library System. It's been an incredibly rewarding experiece. Directing a production of Legally Blonde as part of a drama youth theatre program.  Also, preparing for my upcoming performances of Blood Type: RAGU at the Veteran's Memorial Theatre on the grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island.  Friday - September 14 at 8PM, Saturday - September 15 at 8PM, Sunday - September 16 at 3PM.  For more information click on to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Website.  Happy Summer!  

September 4, 2011

A full summer - an incredible run for Blood Type: RAGU at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany.  28 shows - 28 standing ovations.  Performed for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and honored on the house floor of the NYS Assembly during the Italian-American Legislators Conference.  Thank you to the Cap Rep team, Proctors team, Flying Machine Productions team and director Ted Sod.

Hard to keep up on this blog.  I find I can reach out to more people on FACEBOOK or like the Blood Type: RAGU Fan Page.  I am also in the process of creating a fresher website.

January 20, 2011

Welcome 2011!  I can't believe we are already into the end of January!  Getting Blood Type: RAGU ready for Albany in the Spring and more booking coming down the pike.  Also, just joined the music faculty of Manhattanville College teaching muscial theatre.

So sad to see all the cuts happening for the arts in the public school system.  Now the flavor of the month is all about test scores. The education system is sucking all the creative life making learning so dry and putting pressure on teachers and students to produce these score.   I don't know about you, but nobody ever asked me on a job intervew what my test score was.  What they want to know are what ideas I can bring to my work and do I have interpersonal skills.  That's what the arts and team activities give to our students.

November 2, 2010

Tickets are now on sale for the encore return of Blood Type: RAGU, Nov. 18-20 at the Manhattan Theatre Source!

Thursday, November 18 @ 8PM
Friday, November 19 @ 8PM
Saturday, November 20 @ 2PM (matinee)
Saturday, November 20 @ 8PM

Tickets: $25.00 (general admission)

Order Online: https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/931   
or by Phone:   866 - 811- 4111
For a  special group rate of 10 or more e-mail:

October 31, 2010

A guest appearance on Distinguished Professor Fred Gardaphe's Internet TV Show Nota Bene discussing the upcoming NYC run of Blood Type: RAGU and Italian-American issues:

An Interview on Fred Gardaphe's Nota Bene

September 5, 2010

We finally figured out how to perform Blood Type: RAGU so it can tour economically.  We're ready for bookings!  We will return Off-Broadway for an Encore Run at Manhattan Theatre Source November 18-20.  Tickets on sale soon. Then an encore return this fall at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury.  Then off to the Capital Rep Theatre May 27 - June 19, 2011.

Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany

August 24, 2010

Thank you to Semina DeLaurentis, Paul Roth and the staff at the Seven Angels Theatre for a successful run of full houses and standing O's Also for all your hard work and warm hospitality.   I look forward to working with you again and Blood Type: RAGU's in the Fall.


August 18, 2010

Blood Type: RAGU is featured on FOX News.   I thought they did a great job in producing the segment.


Blood Type: RAGU
is featured as the weekend cover article of CT Rep-Am:


July 10, 2010

I am happy to announce that Blood Type: RAGU will be performing at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT - FRIDAY, AUGUST 21 @ 8 PM, SATURDAY, AUGUST 22 @ 2 PM

1 Plank Road- Historic Hamilton Park Pavillion
Waterbury, CT 0670

FOR TICKETS CALL: 203-757-4676

The show will also be performing at:

Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany, NY
April 19th- May 15th 2011

March 1, 2010


A Dash of Comedy… A Pinch of Drama… A Recipe for Everyone!

177 MacDougal Street
(bet. 8th St. & Waverly Pl.)
New York, NY 10011

Wed to Sat - April 14-18 @ 8PM
Sat Mat - April 17 @ 2PM
Sun Mat - April 18 @ 3PM

Tickets only $25.00
Tix online: www.theatresource.org
By Phone: 866-811-4111

December 31, 2009


It's been an incredible year and I thank all who have supported Blood Type: RAGU in 2009.  I'm excited to announce that Blood Type: RAGU will be represented at the upcoming APAP convention from January 8-12, 2010 at the New York Hiltoin.  Flying Machine Productions has rented a booth to sell the show to prospective theatre reps who are booking their venues for the upcoming season.  We've put together a new sizzle reel.  Click the link:

Blood Type: RAGU 4 Minute Sizzle Reel
Blood Type: RAGU - 4 Minute Sizzle Reel & 11 Minute Trailer

December 30, 2009

I'm really getting bummed from all the arts funding cuts that are coming down from the city and state. I've been an artist-in-residence for numerous schools for the past 11 years and have witnessed miracles in kids when arts are integrated into their curriculum.  I've seen test scores go up and social skills enhanced.  During this time of high tech interaction, many kids are losing interpersonal skills.  The arts build confidence and self-esteem.  While high math scores are important, no employer (especially in this economy) will hire someone if they don't have the skills to communicate and interact.  Exposure to the arts provides that.  We need to make our government officials more aware of the importance of the arts.  It's given lip service but it's always the first thing to get cut.  It needs to be a mandatory part of the school curriculum.

December 29, 2009

I apologized to my eyes last week for watching Jersey Shore.  I was curious to see what all the hoopla was about, but I couldn't get through the episode.  I believe there is an element of truth in every stereotype that should be analyzed and embraced. However, these characters are such buffoons that it’s not even worth commenting.  There is no reality to this reality show.  Everything feels staged, repetitive and contrived.  The recent skit on ‘Saturday Night Live’ parodying the show was more interesting than the show itself.  Constant subtitles appear at the bottom of the screen because you can’t understand anyone. As far as it’s characterization of Italian-Americans, it’s not worth discussing except to say that I wrote ‘Blood Type: RAGU’ as an offering to depict an honest Italian-American experience that universal audiences can leave feeling proud of their culture and heritage. So I ask that instead of reacting in ways that bring attention to ‘Jersey Shore’ support shows like ‘Blood Type: RAGU’, Antoinette LaVecchia’s ‘How to be a Good Italian Daughter’, Maryanne Maisano’s ‘The Italian Chicks’ and Dennis Loiacono’s ‘Terranova’. Support online TV shows like the ‘The Dolce Channel’ (www.dolcechannel.com), ‘Centanni Broadcasting’ (www.centannibroadcasting.com). Support organizations and causes that speak to a true Italian-American voice.

December 28, 2009

I've been out of touch keeping up with this blog.  I've found that I'm getting more response from social networking.  It's quicker and more immediate. However, I'm going to make an attempt this year to keep the blog active.

Last Columbus Day T and I were invited as VIP guests at the red carpet of the parade.  It was a great day that celebrated Italian-American heritage and pride. Below are some fun pictures from the day:

                          With T                                                               With Singer Bobby Rydell                                  With Comic Joe Piscopo

    With my friend Gennaro Pecchia                                                                                                                             Cardinal Eagan at the St. Patrick's Mass

April 5, 2009

Blood Type: RAGU ended its limited engagement run today.  Thank you to Andrew Levine, Ted Sod, Mark Monchek, Kate Wallace and the entire creative and production team.  To my investors, family, friends and to my wife Teresa for all your support.   Also, to the audiences who touched me so deeply with your comments after the show.  Thank you all for making a dream come true!  We look forward to touring and returning for an encore New York run.  To be continued ...

April 3, 2009

This week we are performing for two large high school groups, two sold out houses this weekend and tonight I will be doing a talk back with Valerie Smaldone for the National Organization of Italian-Ameican Women.  Below are some pictures of the beautiful set designs by John McDermott and Josh Higganson:

The Block I Grew Up on From a Child's Perspective

The Home Interior From an Adult's Perspective

The birds flying across stage on the return to Sicily

The Dance in the Sunflower Field

The Proscenium Framing the Stage

March 25, 2009

Word of mouth is spreading and audiences are building!  We're definitely a critical and artistic hit!  Check out some of the audience comments for RAGU on Yelp.com

March 15, 2009

Today we made the theatre lisitng of the New York Times

March 12, 2009

Filmmaker / Actor Paul Borghese has come on board as an Associate Producer for Blood Type: RAGU

Paul Borghese

With Filmmaker/Actor and Associate Producer Paul Borghese & Actor/Screenwriter Victor Colicchio

March 10, 2009

Great write up today by Professor Fred Gardaphe on I-Italy.org

March 9, 2009

Blood Type: RAGU is featured with the Broadway opening of Guys & Dolls and Irena's Vow in this weeks Broadway Beat TV

March 9, 2009

Thank you God!  All the hard work has paid off!  A RAVE Review today in the New York Times

March 6, 2009

What a night!  Photos of the opening night party for Blood Type: RAGU held at the Cornelia Street Cafe courtesy of  Playbill.com

March 3, 2009

Listen to Carolyn Masone's podcoast interview with me on Essence of Italy.com

Essence of Italy Podcast

March 1, 2009

I'm in my second week of previews doing eight shows a week.  Three on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  It's a work out!  I have to eat right and really pace myself.

February 28, 2009

Thank you to writer, producer and radio personality Valerie Smaldone for coming to see my show!

Read the review that Valerie gave to Blood Type: RAGU on her Three Tomatoes Website:
The Three Tomatoes

February 27, 2009

Featured on Page 40 in today's Daily News

February 25, 2009

Pictured here from a February 12th interveiw with Maryann Maisano on the Dolce Channel.  Maryann was so funny and I joy to interview with.

February 25, 2009

Frank will appear this evening on the Joey Reynold's Radio Show with Cha Cha Rigano:

Playbill-on-Line Press Release (Joey Reynolds Radio Show)

February 24, 2009

Previews have started -- this is a word of mouth show, so please spread the word to support a heartfelt show that speaks of family, culture & heritage.

February 23, 2009

Some new performance publicity shots taken by Broadway photographer Carol Rosegg:








February 22, 2009

Tonight I made an appearance on the Tony Mangia radio show (WPCS-FM 88.7 FM).  Thanks Tony, it was fun to share our family experiences.  Thank you to Maryann Maisano for a fun interview last night.  I could have talked to you forever.  I loved it when you said, "I feel like your my brother from another mother."

February 12, 2009

Frank will be interviewed live by Maryann Maisano on the Dolce Channel on Wednesday, February 18 at the The Grotta Azzurra Restaurant in Little Italy.  Click on the day of the program or watch a stream after the show airs:
Dolce Channel

February 12, 2009

Listen to my interview last Wednesday with Teisha Bader on 1500 WGHT, New Jersey's oldies radio station:

WGHT Radio Interview

February 11, 2009

The Marquee at the Actors Playhouse is up!

February 10, 2009

Some recent articles written about the upcoming run of RAGU:

Playbill-on-Line article 1/29

This is a cool advertisement that's coming out for the show:
Advertisement on Playbill-on-Line


February 4, 2009

Revelations are happening everyday in rehearsals as the show evolves and takes on its own life.  The BUZZ is growing.  We are also so close to meeting our capital raise.  We are looking for a few more investors to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.  Please spread the word. Tickets are on sale now through SMARTTIX.COM

February 3, 2009

The new post card and poster for Blood Type RAGU designed by Arts & Commerce Advertising Agency:


Some of the RAGU Production Team: Brandon (Sound Designer), Kate (Production Stage Manager), Ted (Director), John (Set Designer), Andrew (Producer), Josh (Video), Ben (Master Electrician), Aidin (Intern)

February 1, 2009

New publicity photos by Broadway photographer Carol Rosegg:


January 20, 2009

It's a new dawn, it's a new day and I'm feelin' good!

January 19, 2009

The production team is now in place for RAGU: Andrew Levine of Flying Machine Productions (Producer), Ted Sod (Director), Katherine Wallace (Production Stage Manager), John McDermott (Set Designer), Josh Bradford (Lighting), Brandon Wolcott (Sound Design), Josh Higgason (Video Projections), Steve Tate (Marketing), Arts & Commerce (Advertising Agency), Justin Talbot (Web Designer), Teresa Russo (Creative Consultant).  Rehearsals start January 26th.

December 8, 2008

Big things coming down the pike for Blood Type: RAGU, we're moving Off-Broadway to the newly renovated Actor's Playhouse on Seventh Avenue and Bleecker Street for an open run starting February 19 and opening March 5.  More details to follow!

November 26, 2008

A producing team has been formed to move Blood Type: RAGU to an Off-Broadway run.  Andrew Levine of Flying Machine Productions has also come on board as Line Producer and General Manager (his credits included the present Broadway production of Speed-the-Plow, associate producer for London’s Carousel, The Blue Flower and Virtuosa.)  In addition, an opportunity has presented itself to play the show at the newly renovated Actor’s Playhouse (on 7th Avenue and Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village) for a slated opening sometime in late February or early March.  Many of you have expressed interest in investing.  As fundraising and negotiations come together, we will be moving ahead very quickly to secure the theatre.  At this time we are firming up pledges to see if you are still on board.  Please reply or feel free to call me.  I can also have my producer get in touch with you to discuss what happens next.  We would love for you to be a part of this exciting opportunity and if you know of anyone else that might be interest, please refer them to me.  During this time of Thanksgiving, I am most thankful to you and all the support you have given me and my work in the past.

October 21, 2008

Thank you to artistic director Stephanie Clineman and the staff of Dante Hall Theatre for the Arts for a successful performance of Blood Type: RAGU in Atlantic City.  I also appreciate the enthusiastic audiences and the offer to play an encore performance at a future date.  This is one of the most beautiful theatres I've ever played in.  Below are some pictures of this recently renovated theatre that was once a church:

The entrance to Dante Hall                           

         There are eight stained glass windows in the theatre dedicated to each of the arts disciplines

I performed along side these comedy and tragedy muses set on each side of the stage

A little after show gambling at Caesare's Palance, I broke even!

September 7, 2008

T & I just got back from a much deserved vacation to London, Barcelona and Sicily.  We had a great time traveling and reconnecting with family.  Here are some pictures:

               On the London Eye

Barcelona - The awesome Sagrada Famiglia Cathedral / The Chimneys designed by Gaudi at the top of La Padrera

Creative bathroom humor from a                                      The colorful display of candy at La Boqueria Market
street performer along Las Ramblas

The newly renovated cathedral in Noto, Sicily                      The fresh plums on my father-in-law's land.
                                                                                             Once you taste the freshness of the food in Sicily,
                                                                                             you never want to buy anything here in the US again.

The Cathedral in Mazara del Vallo                 The beautiful view of the mountain town of Buccheri in Sicily

June 14, 2008

Thank you to Maria Lisella and her husband Gil for inviting me to perform RAGU for the Italian-American Writers Association.  The organization has been thriving now for 15 years supporting Italian-American writers and their works.

June 12, 2008

I'm back from performing RAGU and finally able to catch up on my blog.  It was hectic flying weekends to Atlanta through April and May while directing and teaching through the week.  It was a test in staying organized and in the moment.  However, it was an incredible learning experience.  I thank the enthusiastic audiences of Atlanta for their support and am grateful for the positive reviews.  The run started out a bit slow but as word of mouth spread, houses started filling to capacity.  I was thrilled to be so well-received in a Sourthern city.  It gave me the chance to try out the show in a new 80 minute one-act format.  A woman came up to me after my Mother's Day performance stating in her thick Southern accent, "I am a first-generation Italian-American and my parents came from Calabria.  We settled in Atlanta and you told my story."  Hearing her response affirmed for me the universality of the show.  The Atlanta audiences were diverse and their enthusiastic responses fell in dfferent places than I was usually accustomed to hearing.  I want to thank Artistic Director Prodan Dimov, Managing Director Valarie Benning-Barney, Publicity Director Michelle Marron from 360 Media for arranging and escorting me to all those interviews.  Also, to my dedicated production stage managers John Pruner and Jessica Coale for breathing with me through every performance.  And most importantly, I thank my friends for over 30 years Todd David and Anne McCarthy.  Toddie introduced me to Metropolisport Theatre Company and it was his idea for me to perform RAGU in repertory with his 14 year-old son Jason David.  Jason wrote and performed an 80 minute solo work called Waiting for My Growth Spurt.  He brilliantly carried the show, and to my knowledge, I don't know of any other boy his age whose written and perfomed a one-man show.  His timing and insights were impeccably funny and poignant.  Our shows were both coming of age stories from two different age perspectives and they beautifully complemented each other.  Below are some photos:

BTR Marque Atlanta14th Street Marquee
The Marquee at the 14th Street Theatre.
 I was playing with Jason David's Waiting for My Growth Spurt and Menopause the Musical.
 I ran until May 11 but the 1 fell off the marquee.
BTR Opening Night Atlanta John and Amanda
An opening night embrace from Artistic Director Prodan Dimov                                                    Stage Managers Amanda & John  
              Todd and Anne
Closing Night Party With Todd, Anne and Jason David Some of the colorful characters portrayed in the show:
The Raging SpinsterDad
Signora Paulina - The Soothsayer                                                                                    Hiding from Dad                     Disco DanceDad Explaining How to Eat at the Table
                            The Disco Dance                                                                                   Dad Explaining the Rules of the Dinner Table The Raging SpinsterRAGU Celebration Finale
 The Raging Spinster                                                                   Celebrating Heritage & Healing 

May 1, 2008

The run for the Metropolisport Theatre Company in Atlanta is off to a good start.  The reviews have been great and the audience reaction has been positive.

February 29, 2008

Tickets have gone on sale for my Atlanta run of Blood Type: RAGU.  Click the link for more info:
Metropolisport Theatre Company

Also, check out the new poster that the theatre designed, I think it's a hoot!  I especially love the outline of Sicily in the blood bag.

February 11, 2008

Congratulations to my friend and Blood Type: RAGU supporter Fred Gardaphe` for being appointed as Distinguished Professor of Italian-American Studies as the John D. Calandra Institute at CUNY.  I am excited at the prospect of what you will bring to the institution.

February 10, 2008

Thanks to the Riverspace Performing Arts Center audience for your warm response during last night's performance.  Thank you also to artistic directors Darrell Larson, Elliott Forrest and managing director Dara Falco for all your support.  Also to my technical staff - Ken & Angie Dablonski and Aaron Parsekian.  I'm thrilled that you asked me back for an encore performance.


February 6, 2008

Today I was interviewed on Sirius Satellite Radio's
The Wiseguys Show starring Vinnie Pastore (Big Pussy on the Sopranos).  It was a hoot.  Me with the Goombahs.  Actually they are actors playing the role and they were very supportive.  I worked with Vinny many moons ago on "One Life to Live."  I was disappointed to hear that Vinny was in Las Vegas and couldn't be there.  Joe Causi (announcer on WCBS-FM) took over Vinny's role. Thank you to Producer Jeff Singer for booking me and other hosts Joey Rigano and John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia.  Also, a special thank you to Floyd Vivino recommending me and for adversiting my show on his radio program "Italian-American Serenade."

Wiseguys PhotoPictured with Wiseguys Joey Rigano, John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia, Me, Uncle Floyd Vivino, Joe Causi

January 25, 2008

I just performed Blood Type: RAGU at Manhattan Repertory in NYC.  The theatre was like a warm hug. Thank you to artisitc directors Ken Wolf and Jennifer Pierro for being so accommodating.  I thank all those who attended.  As the show evolves, I feel like I am developing a following and am touched by the audience response it continues to receive.  The fact that people return and spread the word to others is very moving to me.  It is gratifying for me to stand out on stage and show the humor and frailty of the characters that influcenced my life. As taxing as it can be, it's the greatest gift I can receive as an artist.  For the past seven years, I've been the little engine that could taking on the role of playwright, actor, producer, booking and pubicity agent.  I've learned so much and am grateful.  My vision now is that producers and investors will see it in the same way that the audience sees it to give it a larger container.  I'm now preparing for my February 9th performance at the Riverspace Performing Arts Center in Nyack, NY.

December 7, 2007

CUNY-TV recently posted online an interview that I conducted in 2001 when Blood Type: RAGU was performing at the Belmont Playhouse and about to audition for NBC for sitcom consideration.  Click the link to view the interview and then click the Real Video icon.  ITALICS - The Italian-American Magazine TV Show

October 28, 2007

Thank you to Leslie Goldrich, Lori Adelsberg and the Valhalla School Foundation for allowing me to perform Blood Type: RAGU as benefit to raise money for the Valhalla School District.  The performance received a turn out of over 300 people and the benefit raised over $5,000 for programs in the schools.  I performed the show for the first time without an intermission.  I am experimenting to see if the format fits the rhythm of the show.

May 12, 2007

The Cast of Guys & Dolls, Jr.

I recently completed directing a production of Guys & Dolls, Jr. at Valhalla Middle School.  I would like to thank the students, staff andf and administration for a successful production.  I want like to especially thank Leslie Goldrich for her unending support through the process.  JOB WELL DONE!

April 28, 2007

Last night I performed Blood Type: RAGU at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.  Thank you to Program Director Steve Boockvor for the opportunity and to all those who attended.

January 3, 2007

T & I just brought in the New Year relaxing at the Rio Caliente spa in Guadalajara, Mexico.  It was a much needed vacation.  My warmest regards to all the wonderful people we met there. I highly recommend this affordable retreat center experience.

SpasourceRio Caliente 2
Rio Caliente Volcanic Waters

Rio Caliente HorsebackRio Caliente Morning Mist
   Horseback Riding Through the Tequila Mountains         Morning Mist from the 157 degree Volcanic Waters

August 30, 2006

Whether it was a thought, a prayer, an e-mail, a phone call, flowers, a visit or a card -- I want to say thank you.  Teresa and I are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support.  I am relieved to be on the other side of the surgery.  The procedure proved to be timely and necessary, so I am glad I listened to my instincts to have it done before more serious complications set in.  I am grateful through the miracle of God, modern science and wonderful doctors that the issue has been fully corrected.  I am feeling great.  We are blessed to have a community of love and support in our lives that has nurtured and embraced us to healing and wellness.  I send my profound gratitude to you all from the bottom of my ultra, newly-improved, palpitation-free heart.

August 4, 2006

Last night was the culminating event for the SUNY Purchase Youth Theatre Program.  Our performance of Schoolhouse Rock was enthusiastically received by the audience and the actors did a great job.  Thank you to my staff for a job well done and to the technical crew at the Pepsico Theatre for making us feel at home.  Thanks also to all the participants for a rewarding six week program.  You were shining stars on that stage last night and I am very proud of you all.

Here I am pictured with New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre, his daugther Andrea,
Kendra & Jordyn. The girls were all participants in the program & did an outstanding job.

With our dear friends Andy, Jeanine, my godson Garrett & T

June 1, 2006

Wow! This has been an outstanding year for being recognized for my work.  I feel very blessed. Last night community members, parents and students attended the Greenburgh Film Festival held at the Concert Hall of the Music Conservatory of Westchester.  The Film Festival honored the movies I've conceived and directed for the past three years as part of the Artist & Teachers Together Grant.  As I watched the movies, I was so proud to be part of this work.  I have witnessed how gratifying it is for kids to learn through theatre arts.  I could also see how this style of teaching will stay with them as they mature and cultivate the life skills they need.  Thank you to Miriam Bernabei, Arts Coordinator of Greenburgh School District 7 and my talented videographer Kristen Graney.  A special thank you also to Karen Love for all her help during my time at the Highview School.  Click link to view "Hurricane Katrina: A Special Report", one of the videos I directed with the students from the Highview School: Greenburgh Central School District

Miriam Bernabei, Arts Coordinator Greenburgh District 7                                                                       With videographer Kristen Graney
Geneal Darden, Teacher at Highview School
Ron Velez, Technology Director Greenburgh District 7
Lois Bronz, Westchester County Board Legislator
Barbara Bennet, Principal Highview School
Francine Short, Psychologist Highview School

May 25, 2006

On Wednesday, May 31, 2006 from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will hold a Film Festival honoring all the movies I have directed and produced for the past three years at the Highview School.  The Festival also honors the three years I have been associated with the Artist & Teachers Together Grant for Greenburgh School District 7.  The films will feature students learning their Social Studies curriculum through theatre, film & playwriting.  The event will be held at the Music Conservatory of Westchester, 216 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606.  For more information click this link: Greenburgh Central School District

May 21, 2006

Congratulations to my wife Teresa on her graduation day from SUNY / Empire State College.   I know how hard you worked to arrive at this day!

The Proud Husband

May 17, 2006

The 2006 Tony Award nominations were announced today.  Congratulations to John Lloyd Young on his Best Actor in a Musical nomination for his portraryal of legendary singer Frankie Valli in the Broadway musical Jersey Boys.  John has been a very supportive colleague.  If you haven't seen the show or John's performance, I highly recommend it.  The Tony Awards will air Sunday evening, June 11 at 8PM on CBS.  Thank you John, I am routing for you!

May 7, 2006

To celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary T and I took in an empowering, provocative and entertaining one-woman show performed by Nilaja Sun called NO CHILD...
 The show is about Nilaja's teaching artist experiences in the public schools. Being a teaching artist myself, I could appreciate the story and Nilaja's outstanding performance.  I highly recommend it.  The show runs thru June 4th, For more info click link: Ticket Central.com

May 1, 2006

My one-man play Blood Type: RAGU has been mentioned in Professor Fred L. Gardaphe's new book From Wiseguys to Wisemen (The Gangster and Italian-American Masculinity).  The author analyzes my work and dedicates Chapter 10, pp. 205-207 to my show.  The chapter is entitled From Macho to Zero: Redesigning Italian-American Masculinities.  Thank you Fred and congratulations on your book!  To purchase Fred's book click on to this link:

Below is the excerpt from the book:

In Blood Type: RAGU, a one man show written and performed by Frank Giano Ingrasciotta, a young man, Frank, tells the story of his family by taking on all of their personalities and behaviors.  The key to this story is the relationship between Frank and his mother.  Mom, as she is referred to in the script, is the opening voice.  As she puts on an apron, she says, "Ah, Frenghine, quando naciste tu la madre, mi spakaste in mezzo." Translated, when you were born you ripped me in half. It took three doctors to sew me shut, the stitches got infected.  Ah, a mother suffers for her chulli [children].  But it's nothing, because you my son, my life ... my husband."  This reference to her son as her husband is quite revealing and is essential for insight into the complexity of the mother-son relationship in Italian culture.  Placing a child into an adult's position in one's emotional life is a form of abuse that is common, yet its impact is often overlooked.

The voices in the opening of the show alternate among the Narrator, Frank, and Mom.  The storyline is Frank's coming of age as his parents' marriage fall apart.  He often finds himself caught in the middle of his parents' fighting and once actually has to restrain his father after he has slapped his wife.  The event leads Frank to realize that while he doesn't want to be like his father, he doesn't know what else to be: "So I fine tuned myself into my mother's every thought and feeling."  Frank, as a 7 year old, travels to Sicily with his mother after she attempts suicide.  There he learns first hand what Sicilian life is like, and it becomes obvious that his relationship with his mother will be the source of many problems later in his life.Although many of the characters Frank portrays are men, most are women, and through them Ingrasciotta reveals a side of Italian-American culture that is rarely seen in public.  One of the key phrases that his Dad uses whenever he wants Frank to understand that he can't give him something is to tell him to get it "alla casa della Madonna" (in the Madonna's house).  He tells him this when Frank asks for a new, expensive bicycle. And when he comes of age sexually, he imagines his father saying, "Frengie, you want you manhood?  You know where it waits for you?  Alla casa della Madonna!"  Frank realizes that he must escape home in order to become sexual. When he sees the Broadway play The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, he decides to travel to where no one knows him to gain some sexual experience and soon finds himself in a brothel, The Chicken Ranch, in Pahrump, Nevada, where prostitution is legal.  He feels better after losing his virginity.  For Frank, it takes the physical act of sex to make him feel: "The years of cling wrap around my heart melted just enough to allow me ... a feeling.  I sobbed in her arms for a boy who wasn't allowed to feel."  When he returns home, his parents split up.  It's not long before his father dies, leaving Frank to take care of his mother's emotional needs.  One day, as Frank is taking his mother to get her Social Security survivor's benefits, he is asked by the clerk what his relationship is to her. He responds: "My wife, I mean my mother, my wife, my mothers, my wife, my mother," in a frenzy that reveals his subconscious confusion, and echoes as it fulfills the mother's opening statement that he is her husband. Frank eventually explodes when his mother doesn't want to deal with the Social Security clerk in a wheelchair. He screams: "No, we're not going to do this anymore!  They're my balls, not yours.  Dad, where the fuck were you?  It's not my rope to tug, it was yours (Frank eventually releases the chair as a symbol that he's the one who needs to let go and not pull anymore)."

It is interesting that Frank's awareness that his mother is holding him back comes only after he has traveled west.  Like Gay Talese's Bill Bonanno, Louisa Ermelino's Joey Dee, and Richard Vetere's Joey Pugg, Frank's road to becoming a wise man runs westward.  This is the same thing Michael Corleone was trying to achieve when he thought he could make the family legitimate by moving to Las Vegas.  Once a young man has his horizons widened, he can begin to imagine ways of being a man that are not always obvious while he is smothered inside an Italian family and trapped inside a Little Italy.  Once Frank realizes this fact about his mother, he is able to develop a serious relationship with a Sicilian-American woman and, by the play's end, Frank is telling the audience about his marriage to her and their honeymoon in Sicily.  Ingrasciotta, thus, has acknowledged the impact the mother figure has on the development of Italian-American masculinity--it is not always a positive impact, but understanding the mother-son relationship is vital to the maturity of any Italian-American boy.

April 30, 2006

Today I performed a staged reading of the role of French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas in Susan Courtney's production of the Girl in the Blue Armchair.  Most of my recent work has been doing solo performance, so it was fun to be acting with an ensemble once again.  The play is about the life of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt and her relationship with Edgar Degas and her sister Lydia.  The reading got a strong turn out and received a positive response at the Larchmont Library.  The cast was strong and it was great fun to work opposite Denise Pence.  I remember in my early teenage years watching her dance on Broadway in Bob Fosse's production of Pippin.  I would run from my high school classes and subway into Manhattan to pay $9.00 to see a Broadway Wednesday matinee (Could you believe that Broadway shows were ever that inexpensive?  I still have the ticket stub to prove it.)  Thanks to Susan Courtney and to the wonderful cast pictured below.

Lin Snider as Mithilde, Sharon Rowe as Lydia Cassatt, Frank Ingrasciotta as Edgar Degas
Denise Pence as Mary Cassatt, Jim Smith as the Narrator & Isabelle Weissman as Emily

April 28, 2006

This weekend I completed a three day conference at the Commercial Theatre Institute to learn what is involved in producing a show on Broadway.  Just about every major Broadway producer was there.  It was enlightening and educational.  I feel I now have a language to speak as I prepare to investiage how to move Blood Type: RAGU Off-Broadway and on tour.

April 27, 2006

Today I was invited back for the fourth time by Random House Publishing to conduct a playwriting workshop for their employees and children to celebrate "Take Your Children to Work Day."  Every conference room in the building honors an author that has had their work published through Random House.  I was in the Dr. Seuss room.  It was great fun to work around pictures and stuffed animals from Dr. Suess' characters.  Thank you to Young Audiences New York and Vicki Fishman of Random House for inviting me.  The workshop was well received.

April 21, 2006

Yesterday I was invited to perform a segment of Blood Type: RAGU for the Ethnic Pen Conference at Bayshore High School in Long Island.  The Ethnic Pen is an annual conference for student writers coordinated by Nina Wolff.  Students participate in various workshops lead by professional writers.  Thank you to Nina Wolff for inviting me, and to the students for participating in my workshop entitled "Using Your Personal Story as a Message of Hope".


April 7, 2006

Today the Westchester Arts Council presented me with their 2006 Arts Award for outstanding performing artist and arts educator for Westchester County.  The experience was a real blast and quite surreal to be recognized for my work.  Thank you to Teresa, my sister Jennie, Andrew, Mark, Bob, Ed, Enid Weishaus and the many colleagues and friends who attended.  It meant so much to me to have you all there beside me.  My "Star" was presented by CBS-TV news achor Jim Rosenfield.  The Master of Ceremonies was CBS-TV news reporter Tony Aiello. Over 600 people attended the ceremony.  Among them were many distinguished artists, arts patrons, arts organizations, County Executive Andy Spano, NY State Senator Nick Spano, White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino, County Legislator Lois T. Broz, President of CBS News Operations Joel Goldberg and many others. In addition to the award, all the winners were given a proclamation from Senator Hillary Clinton and State Senator Nick Spano.  Click this link to read a Newspaper Article from the White Plains Reporter recapping the day's events.



Scroll Down to View Pictures:

CBS-TV News Anchorman, Jim Rosenfield, gave me a great introduction
and made me feel at ease as he presented me with the "Star"

Giving my first ever Acceptance Speech
and praying that what I wanted to say would come out eloquently.

Holding the "Star"

The 2006 Arts Award "Star" Winners
For Arts Patron: Helio Fred Garcia (Not Pictured) President of the Neuberger Museum of Art
Matthew & Onyx Lifflander (Not Pictured) Board Members of the Hudson River Museum
For Artist: Rhythm & Blues Guitarist Melvin Sparks
For Arts Organization: Michael Barrett of the Caramoor Center for the Arts &
Susan Katz of Westco Productions in White Plains
For Performing Artist & Arts Educator: Frank Ingrasciotta
For Educator: Carol Walker, Dean of Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase
For Community Arts: Anthony Fazio, Founder of Harrision Friends of the Opera &
Eli Schonberger for the White Plains Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition Committee

With White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino

With Teresa

A Very Special Group of Friends in my Life:
Me, Ed
Mark, Bob & Andy

With Aaron Flagg, Executive Director
and Steve Boockvor Theatre Program Director
of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

With Miriam Bernabei, Arts Coordinator for Greenburgh School District 7
Geneal Darden, Highview School Educator
Sarah Bracey-White, Greenburgh Director of Cultural Affairs
Barbara Bennett, Highview School Principal

With my sister Jen

Senator Hillary Clinton's Letter of Recognition

New York State Senator Nick Spano's Certificate of Merit

April 3, 2006

Thank you to John Lloyd Young (Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys) for your support and for taking the time from your busy schedule to mention my upcoming Arts Award on your website blog.  It is greatly appreciated.
John Lloyd Young.com/blog.htm

March 13, 2006

Thank you Professor Carlo Sclafani, staff and crew at Westchester Community College for inviting me to perform Blood Type: RAGU yesterday at the Academic Arts Theatre.  The show went off without a hitch and was nearly sold out. The audience seemed to really enjoy it.  Thanks to the many supportive friends and colleagues who came to see the show: Kid's Short Story Connection Program Director Sarah Bracey-White (I admire your work as a writer and appreciate your kind words); WESTHAB Program Director Margery Arsham; Westchester Arts Council colleague Mie Sato; my SUNY Purchase acting class students Phyllis Bellofatto, Risa Borisoff, Jennifer Filos, Vito Guarnaccia and Gail Ninninger; dear friends Joe and Carol Norton; Ms. Anne Re from P.S. 224; and what a surprise to also see Gerard and Geraldine Scharfenberger, two St. Aloysius grammar school friends, you both look great after all these years.  Thanks all for your support.

May 17, 2001

At the Italian-American Educator Awards with T and Mario Fratti, book writer of the Broadway musical Nine. Thank you to Professor Vito DeSimone for inviting me to perform excerpts of Blood Type: RAGU at the event.

With T & Mario Fratti

May 2001-2004

For three seasons I performed Blood Type: RAGU for the the Diva/Gentlemen Solo Performance Festival at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ.   Ted Sod was the curator of the program.  The festival was a performing and community based educational program where intermediate & high school students from the New Brunswick, NJ school system worked with professional theatre artists.  The artists facilitated same-gender workshops in memoir writing promoting creative self-expression for performance.  Along side the educational component, the artists performed their own solo performance shows in repertory at the GSP theatre.  Below are photos of the some of the very talented performers I had the honor of working with.  I also directed the mainstage production showcasing the student's work with the artists.

                              With Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins                                  With the late Ron Taylor Tony Award Nominee & Writer of                                                                                                                                         "Ain't Nothin' but the Blues"

       With Solo Performer Carmelina Tropicana                                        With Mac Award winning Cabaret Artist Baby Jane Dexter
& Actress/Singer Suzzanne Douglas


With Tony Award winner Trezana Beverly (For Colored Girls ...)      Playwright of "Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Cameleon Skin" Kirsten Childs,
                                                                                                            Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, Me, Ken Roy, Ted Sod, Becky Ray, Ron Taylor,
                                                                                                Baby Jane Dexter, Jay Duckworth, Tonya Pinkins, Lisa McGinn,
                                             Dan Dominguez, Rebecca Remaly

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