Strip needs a bigger blast of the Bronx

BRING DA BRONX to da Strip. Pretty please? With a slice of New York pizza and a bagel from a Lower East Side deli on top?

Packing up his faux-lamppost at the corner of 187th Street and Belmont Avenue, Chazz Palminteri shuttered the weeklong stint of his brilliant one-hander, A Bronx Tale, at The Mirage’s Terry Fator Theatre on March 20. Rather than catching the No. 6 train outta town again, da Bronx needs a Strip residency.

Granted, this columnist—a onetime Bronx-ite—is biased. Still, anyone from anywhere who sees Chazz’s tour de force about his upbringing in that gritty borough, suffused with humor, drama and wisdom, can give it an “Amen!” (Yes, there were standing ovations and I was one of those standing and, um, ovat-ing.)

Planting semi-roots here is a notion PaIminteri has said he’d consider. Injecting occasional theater pieces into the Strip parade of pop residencies would partially remedy The Smith Center’s regrettable lack of a midsize theater that could comfortably host intimate non-musicals.

Although inconsistent, artier entertainment has a long Strip history, including musicals of the type The Smith Center has assembled as its centerpiece series. Locate a venue comparable to the Fator Theatre, a 1,500-seater, and A Bronx Tale—a proven, relatively affordable audience lure ($50-$80) for tourists and locals alike hungry not just for entertainment but enrichment—is a fab fit. Give us a gift: an extended blast of Chazz-matazz.

LET’S NOSH ON SOME NOTES: Comic Marty Allen, he of the famous frizz/fro, gets the key to the city Saturday from Mayor Carolyn Goodman before his performance at Palace Station to celebrate Birthday Number Nine-Oh. …

New developments in the Tropicana’s Project Makeover: The gussied-up property will unveil the comedy club LaughFactory Las Vegas, with a soft opening soon, then an official debut in April. Plus, “junk rockers” Recycled Percussion have re-upped to bring their sound—via buckets, ladders, grinders and a kitchen sink—to the Tropicana for another six months. …

Wax on over to Madame Tussauds, Beatlemaniacs: The Abbey Road Traveling Experience is on display through May 28, depicting the iconic Abbey Road album cover—with “variations” to test Fab Four fans—and likenesses of our favorite Moptops.

EVER MORE SMITH CENTER NEWS: Group tix (20 or more) for monster musical Wicked, arriving Aug. 29 for a nearly six-week stay, are on sale (749-2348,, while solo tix become available May 19. On Saturday, the Las Vegas Philharmonic debuts at 8 p.m. at Reynolds Hall. Interpreting Mahler’s Resurrection, they’ll break in their new acoustic nirvana, including the band shell that should enhance sound quality by preventing it from spraying all over the massive auditorium, bolstering musicians’ ability to hear each other’s playing.

Expect aural orgasms. At least goose bumps.

Suggested Next Read

Boz Scaggs


Boz Scaggs

By Jarret Keene

The soft-rocker owes a strong touring draw to 1976’s Silk Degrees, a masterpiece of disco-flirting, adult-contemporary pop. It has all the big radio hits—“Georgia,” “Harbor Lights, “Lowdown”—and for a sold-out and appreciative boomer crowd in an off-Strip ballroom, Scaggs and his remarkable six-piece band delivered them all.