Nostalgia is a beautiful thing, and Nick Albanese has taken his life story and all the nostalgic charm of his family’s history and delivered a highly enjoyable evening of theatre at the historic 13th Street Repertory Theatre. His play is THE LAST SICILIAN, and after seeing it, I really hope he is not actually the “last” Sicilian because in just over 90-minutes I felt I knew and loved them all.
Albanese, I think, is a genuinely charming individual who seems to enjoy life and loves to share his life’s stories. He admits, “The show has a very nostalgic feel and it really brings the audience back in time, but what I truly believe is that they walk away with (a) sense of the family bond,” he says. “Life is a cycle, and life is short, and we should appreciate the things that really matter: the family.” Mr. Albanese is absolutely correct. Which is why this one-man show works so well.
Under new direction and suggestions by 13th Street Artistic Director, Joe Battista, Albanese adds to his act with projections and photos of his family and life. He projects their faces on a makeshift screen, from his “crazy” uncle, to his hardworking mom and dad, and recalls his youth growing up in Rhode Island at his family bakery. He jumps from character to character, channelling their voices and mannerisms and the next minute slides into his recliner (the set resembles a simple but relaxing living room) and waxes nostalgic about the day his father chased an intruder through streets of his hometown. This very charming man seems to really enjoy telling his story, so how can you not enjoy it too?
The show has a very nice balance of comedy, thrills, history, and even a peek at the Italian stereotype. And a few touching moments are the icing on the cake.
Albanese has been touring THE LAST SICILIAN for about 2 years now and brought the show to the West Village in the middle of January. It runs for the next few nights and closes this coming Sunday at 3PM (a matinee). His evening shows begin at 7:30 and if you don’t have time to order online at Brown Paper Tickets (here is the link: https://thelastsicilian.brownpapertickets.com/), go to the box office and give it a shot! It really will be worth your time.
The 13th Street Repertory Theatre is located at 50 West 13th Street in the West Village, between 5th and 6th Avenues. It is produced by Nick Albanese, Staci Albanese, Armen Garo (film and tv star) and Paul Gervais.