Tony Calabretta returns to the stage
Sept 23, 2015 12:54 am | Agata De Santis
A few years ago, writer and actor Tony Calabretta decided it was time to write a new play. It had been way too many years since he had penned the hit Damn Those Wedding Bells!
When it came time to stage it, he partnered with director Antonio DiVerdis and executive producer Eris Salvatori. Together they founded Pellegrini Productions. In partnership with the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre, they are the first company to stage a professional theatrical production in the Centre’s Mirella & Lino Saputo Theatre.
Most independent stage productions run for a very short time, anywhere from a couple of days to a week or two. Don’t Blame it on the Stork is scheduled to run for 31 shows in four weeks.
“We’re pretty sure this will hit a nerve with the theatre community and the Italian community,” Calabretta comments.
“The play tackles universal themes. It just happens to be an Italian family,” DiVerdis explains.
The team is very excited to have the collaboration of the Leonardo da Vinci Centre. The Centre, in turn, is counting on a successful run in order to bring more professional productions into its space.
“We want to prove that a professional English production can work in the space. And it’s also exciting for us because we are the first ones to do this,” Calabretta explains.
Don’t Blame it on the Stork follows the story of a very pregnant Carmie who is dealing with a husband who might not love her anymore and a family who lovingly meddles in all aspects of her life.
“When I tell people what the play is about, they ask, what’s so funny about this? What is funny about this story is how people around her react,” Calabretta comments.
The play features a wonderful cast of local talent: Shawn Campbell as Derrick (The Envelope, Centaur Theatre; Stratford Festival), Guido Cocomello as Mario (stand-up comic and actor including six Centaur Theatre productions and Just for Laughs’ Zoofest), Veronica Melis as Bettina, Eleanor Noble as Theresa (August, An Afternoon in the Country and Social Studies, Centaur Theatre; Wife Begins at Forty, Hudson Village Theatre), Dino Tavarone as Mimmo (Omertà; Mambo Italiano; Long Long Short Short, Infinitheatre) and Nadia Verrucci as Carmie (Carmela’s Table, Centaur Theatre; Billy The Days of Howling, Talisman Theatre; The Jazz Singer, Segal Centre).
Calabretta himself plays Lou.
“My character is a simpleton, but a philosopher in his own way. He has particular views on certain subjects,” Calabretta muses.
“Tony has a tendency to steal the show,” DiVerdis adds.
Audiences will remember Calabretta from last season’s The Envelope at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal.
“This play is not a farce, we’re not pushing for the laughs. The comedy will come out of the real situation,” DiVerdis comments.
Calabretta and DiVerdis have known one another for over 20 years and have been developing projects together for the past eight. Don’t Blame it on the Stork is the first project to come out of their collaboration. But it will not be the last. The duo is already planning their next project that will see Calabretta in the lead and DiVerdis directing.
Don’t Blame it on the Stork runs until Sunday, October 11, 2015 at the Leonardo da Vinci Centre, located at 8370 Blvd Lacordaire, in St. Leonard. Ticket prices range from $34.50 to $52.50. To purchase tickets, please call (514) 955-8370 or visit https://billets.centreleonardodavinci.com.
For more information on the play, please visit