April 18, 2024
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Last NJ Run Set for Local Producer’s Original Musical

An original musical written, produced and directed by Lenny Gatto, a Kearny-born, Lakewood-raised New Jerseyan, will take the stage in New Jersey this season for three final performances before moving to New York.

“They Call It Gravy; We Call It Sauce!” depicts a first-generation Sicilian-American girl disowned by her Sicilian father and embraced by her fiancé’s Jewish family. The musical was nominated for the prestigious Perry Award in the category of Outstanding Original Musical. It is a story of familial love and loss, conflict and commitment, regret and redemption. A talented cast of New York- and New Jersey-based actors, singers and dancers bring to life events based on real-life people and actual events.

Gatto takes a musical where no one has before. “Never has there been a musical about the customs of ordinary Italian-Americans…no crime…no wise-guys. This musical, which I began writing in the 1970s, is a long time coming in many ways,” he explained.

Three generations of Sicilian-Americans living in New York’s Little Italy set the stage for the tale of a Sicilian father banishing Rosa, his unmarried daughter, after she announces that she is pregnant by her young and successful Jewish fiancé. Twenty years later Rosa’s daughter, Barbara, and her Brooklyn-born Neapolitan fiancé attempt to reunite the broken family.

After sold-out performances at the iconic Strand Center for the Arts in Lakewood, New Jersey; Middletown Arts Center; and Union County Performing Arts Center’s Hamilton Stage, this passionate musical will come to North Jersey in November for a limited run at the Rosen Performing Arts Center in Wayne. Gatto dedicates the production to his late wife, Rosa, and friend and co-lyricist, Tom Jansing.

Gatto, a musician since the age of 12, has performed in New York, on TV and in film. He founded Music Jar Productions in 2004 and produced an album entitled “No Boundaries…An Hour With Lenny Gatto.” A Vietnam veteran, Gatto served as a broadcast journalist with the worldwide Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) and has been retired from the U.S. Navy after almost 21 years. He spent many years living in Sicily and Italy.

“They Call It Gravy; We Call It Sauce!” will be performed on November 30, December 1 and December 2. Tickets are $35 when reserved at [email protected]. Special discount tickets for students & faculty. Call 609-303-2013 for more information. Admission is $45 at the door.

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