This musical starts with blank verse, shoots at the audience point blank until finally, it is greeted with blanket acceptance, "Romeo and Bernadette" is a subliterary delight. It begins with the boredom of Brooklyn Guy out with his date, Brooklyn Girl, sometime in 1960 ("Die already"). They attend a showing of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Brooklyn Girl is in tears at the end, too weepy for further wooing. In order to pacify her and (possibly) pursue her further, Brooklyn Guy crafts a happier ending to this tale("There's more). Romeo sleeps for 500 years, wakes to 1960 Verona and believes he has found his Juliet in the form of Bernadette Penza (Anna Kostakis), a crass mob princess visiting Verona with her parents, Camille and Sal Penza(Judy McLane, Carlos Lopez) Romeo trails (or stalks) her to Brooklyn (don't ask how he manages to get documents--think--willing suspension of disbelief) where he saves the life of Dino Del Canto (alter ego of Brooklyn Guy Michael Notardonato) Romeo is adopted by Don Del Canto in gratitude. (Michael Marotta, channeling Robert DeNiro as Jack Byrnes). Problem--the Del Canto's and the Penza's represent rival Mafia families. Furthermore, Bernadette is engaged to Tito Titone (Zach Schanne), a cruder, more impulsive version of Sal. Bernadette, like her musical predecessor Guenevare, longs for a swain who will die for her. Tito only offers to kill for her. Dino, meanwhile, loves Donna Dubachek (Brooklyn GIrl Ari Raskin, channeling Kristen Chenoweth as Miss Sally Brown). Like Juliet, Bernadette has a nurse/protector: Lips (Viet Vo). Multiple roles are played by Troy Valjean Rucker as the usher, bellhop, Enzo Aliria, Father Keneely, Arden, Viola, and Roz. Fear not--he too gets a start turn as Roz, the seamstress, the Coco Chanel of Bensonhurst.
Romeo is not without his charms to Bernadette. He speaks poetry, being used to speaking in iambic pentameter. Bernadette wants to be wooed, she wants her swain to speak the language of poetry. Tito? Fuhgeddaboutit. Tito is looking for a fight, much like his predeccessor Tybalt. Remember--this is a comedy. You will not come back tomorrow and find him a grave man. And for a girl who wants her swain to start a war, renewing the feud between Romeo's patron and her father is the via doloroso.
Who will die. How, with all these problems, will a concordia discourse result? Don't worry--it ends like a proper Jane Austen novel. (Finale d'amore). Bullets do fly over Brooklyn, but, as the characters' sing at the end of Act I, "There's Moonlight Tonight over Brooklyn."
Everyone finds their true mate. Sets are minimalist, but floral arrangements are spectacular. Costumes adequately evoke 1960's Brooklyn.
Musical lyrics are set to classic Italian operetta's and folk tunes.