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Robert Pieranunzi

Robert Pieranunzi

Robert Pieranunzi is looking forward to traveling to Chicago with the popular touring show "A Bronx Tale."

"Those are my old stomping grounds," Pieranunzi said, about the Windy City.

Pieranunzi grew up in Elmhurst and later lived in Hinsdale with his family and he always enjoyed visiting Chicago. His mother, other family members and friends still live in the Chicago area.

The actor is currently starring in the ensemble cast of "A Bronx Tale," which will be performed March 12 to 24 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago.

"A Bronx Tale," featuring book by Chazz Palminteri is the musical version of the film of the same name, which hit the screen in 1993. The production features music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. The show is directed by actor Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks with choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

The story told in "A Bronx Tale" is one of the importance of family and loyalty, and the relationship between a young man and his father versus the mob boss who's grooming him for a crime-filled life.

"I always loved the movie," Pieranunzi said. "Being Italian, my family always watched those movies." The actor said the movie "A Bronx Tale" and the "Godfather" series of films were always popular in his home. In fact, he fondly remembers watching "A Bronx Tale" with his father.

Since Pieranunzi was such a fan of the movie, he said he was a bit shocked to find out that film had been turned into a live musical production.

"When I found out it was made into a musical, I was a little skeptical but I was blown away by the music," he said.

Pieranunzi said the music is very reminiscent of the '60s time period in which the story is set.

"The music (follows the sound) in the time period of the (doo-wop) '60s," Pieranunzi said, adding it then "morphs into the Frank Sinatra sound and then moves into the Motown sound."

Pieranunzi called the music is "catchy" and "adds another depth" to the show.

The live production of "A Bronx Tale" debuted in Spring 2016 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.

Pieranunzi said playing piano, which he learned at the age of five, was his first love when it came to the performance and entertainment world. He later got bit by the acting and dancing bug. Pieranunzi is a graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington where he earned a business degree.

The actor said he hopes audiences take away the strong "family" message told in "A Bronx Tale."

"It doesn't matter if you're Italian, Polish, Asian or (another ethnic heritage), the idea that the family is important rings true throughout the show," he said.

Pieranunzi said the story also puts the idea that "love has no boundaries," into the forefront.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.