Obviously, both the play and the film version are highly acclaimed and still beloved by audiences. What is it about the story that YOU think resonates with people?
It's a story of the triumphs of the human spirit, the working man. This is not a gangster story; this is more about the working guy, my tribute to the working people. Maybe people associate Italian-Americans with the mafia, but the mafia is an aberration of the Italian community. The Italian community is comprised of the working people, and this is a tribute to them.
Regarding the film, why did you choose to play Sonny, above the other characters?
I knew Sonny was the great character. He was the one I most related to, and I wanted someone stronger to play Lorenzo. Obviously, I was very fortunate to get the greatest actor [Robert DeNiro].
Do you find it easier or more difficult to perform something that you yourself have written?
It's great, because I can rework it, and try to make it better.
Has the show changed at all since its original production in the 80s? As you have matured, as a performer, as a writer, as a person, has the show matured as well?
Yes, absolutely. When I first did it, I was the boy talking to the father; now I'm the father talking to the boy. I have a son who's going to be 14, I have a daughter, so it's really like I'm my father now. That resonates very strongly with me. And my father just passed away this year, so every time I get onstage, it's like I'm talking to him.
I was so excited for my kids to see the show. When they did, my son ran over to me and said, "Dad, I promise you I won't waste my talent." And that was worth everything.
A Bronx Tale runs March 31 through April 5 at the Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St, Boston. Call 617.880.2460.