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Pizza and Whine is a Memorable Family Story.

Pizza and Whine is more than a festival play. It’s actually a family affair. And a beautiful one at that.

As part of the Winterfest at The Hudson Guild Theatre in New York, it’s the story of a young group of women who gather on the evening of their grandmother’s funeral with friends to talk about love, life, friendship, dreams, and the one thing that binds most of us if we are lucky: love of family.

Co-written by Maria Capp (Cappricielli), Raffaela Capp, and Veronica Kelly, the play deals with the lives of four millennial cousins who gather in their Manhattan apartment and, in a sort of modern, coming-of-age story that involves 99-cent pizza and wine, share their stories and memories. The play centers around the death of their grandmother and was inspired by the life of the real-life Cappricielli matriarch, Millie, who passed away last Summer. Millie, as it turns out, was also a well known theatre personality in the local theatre scene in Long Island and so it stands to reason that this is how this theatre family would memorialize her (yes, they all act and write, and even do comedy). And while the story does have a clear fictional element, I have the feeling that their grandmother would approve of such a touching way to honor her life and love of theatre.

The play itself has some very nice moments of humor, revelation, and even a few dramatic instances that bring a tear to the eye. Throughout the evening, the lives of the young women come to the surface and we are brought into their world one story at a time. What impresses the most was how real these performances were. It’s a testament to the connection they have with each other on stage, and I have to assume with each other off stage.

A family collaboration for the most part, the cast also includes Gogo Lomo-David (Zeek) and Fabio Lo Fria (Tony), who add to a very solid cast. Good performances by Natasha Capp (Natalie), Raffaela Capp (Jennifer), Veronica Kelly (Stephanie), and Emily Attridge (Millie) make for an authentic look at the lives of these characters and the things that matter to them. The direction was clean, and the sets and technical aspects (considering that it's a festival show) were quite superior for this production.

That the script itself could use a little more tweaking goes without saying. It is, after all, a work in progress now making the theatre festival circuit. However, this play has legs and it left an impression. Up next for them: LA Fringe.

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