Dan Lauria takes his New Jersey mob comedy off-Broadway
NEW YORK (AP) -- Dan Lauria is taking his madcap play about the mob from New Jersey across the river to New York.
"The Wonder Years" star said that "Dinner With the Boys," which he both wrote and stars in, will begin preview performances April 21 off-Broadway at the Acorn Theatre.
The plot centers on two old-school Mafia guys holed up in a secluded house after botching an assignment. They cook and swap stories as they await their fate. "It's really about all the violence we consume," Lauria said Tuesday.
It will co-star Ray Abruzzo, who played Little Carmine on HBO's "The Sopranos," and Richard Zavaglia, who was in "Donnie Brasco." Frank Megna will direct.
The play, which has a fair share of graphic violence, made its world debut last year at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch and was so popular that patrons were paying $10 to watch it in the lobby from a TV feed.
"Our worst review is very good so we felt it was ready to take a shot and move to New York," Lauria said, laughing. "To be quite honest with you, I thought we'd lose 25 percent of our audience by intermission. There are a lot of sick people in the world, so we've got to give them something."
The first reading was some 10 years ago at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles with Charles Durning, Dom DeLuise, Peter Falk and Jack Klugman. Plans to mount it then dissolved after DeLuise died in 2009. "I take full credit for it, but the funniest lines in the play are still Dom DeLuise's ad libs," said Lauria.
Lauria made his Broadway debut in 2010 playing the ultra-focused and voluble football coach Vince Lombard in the play "Lombardi" and starred two years later in a Tony Award-nominated musical based on the film "A Christmas Story." He's a champion of new works and has more than 60 stage credits.
Lauria, who has ghost written on some films, has a few more plays in his drawer if "Dinner With the Boys" becomes a hit in New York. "I'm not a playwright. I'm an actor who writes for his friends."