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Robert Funaro of the Sopranos, and Obie Winner Rosina Fernhoff Star in The Lost Teaspoons, now at 13

Vincent D’Onofrio, the playwright, (not to be confused with the actor of the same name) opened his new play, The Lost Teaspoons, this week at the historic 13th Street Repertory Theatre in the West Village. The Lost Teaspoons recreates the era of the fifties - not the traditional 50’s story with rock n roll music, lights and dance; it is a grittier “underbelly of the Bronx,” story, offering a new perspective on the ‘50’s. D’Onofrio should know- he grew up in that era with his own struggles. LocalTheatreNY.come had a chance to catch up with the playwright for more insight on the play.

Q: When did it all start for you? The writing of plays?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I began writing plays 8 years ago after completing my as yet unpublished autobiography. From that adventure the idea to write a play was born. At heart I'm a storyteller - with works that look into the character’s lives and how difficulties and obstacles are overcome. Writing for the stage allows me to make my characters and their lives alive, in a way the printed page cannot.

Q: Tell us about Lost Teaspoons. When did you begin writing it, how has it evolved to the point that its now opening at The 13th Street Repertory Theatre?

Vincent D’Onofrio: The Lost Teaspoons relates the story of Doug, a 16-year-old teen, who has left home in order to accomplish his goal of graduating from high school and along the way finds a ‘first love’ and new strength. Joe Batista of the 13th Street Repertory Theater saw a staged reading of the play and said, “Well when are you going to do this?” I didn’t need a second invite. I truly loved the theater at the 13th St. Rep, not only because of its rich history but ‘great physical structure’ and of course Tennessee Williams had plays done there.

Q: Why did you write the play? What is it about this story that inspired you to write it and why?

Vincent D’Onofrio: The inspiration was my desire to write about people I met growing up. Delivering newspapers six days a week allowed me to meet people from all walks of life and learn to deal with them. These were ordinary people-for whom life whizzed them by. Those are the characters in the play- all imperfect but vibrant. As the play took on a life of its own, the main character- a teen named Doug, evolved into one of hope, overcoming adversity and ultimately achieving his simple goal- to graduate from high school. In our world, too often colored with cynicism, this is a story of hope.

Q: You have some very well known talent working with you. How did this happen and what are you discovering about the self producing process?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I am extremely proud to be premiering my play, The Lost Teaspoons at the 13th St. Repertory Theatre. Wendy Tonken, the director, whose understanding and crisp direction has brought the play alive. To my eternal gratitude she wore her second hat- Casting Director. Under her guidance and keen eye for talent she assembled a cast of outstanding actors including, Robert Funaro, he’s been in The Sopranos, Vinyl, Gangster... and so many great and entertaining films, and television programs. We are very proud to have him. Obie Award winner, Rosina Fernhoff, has been in a long line of dramas and is celebrating her 60th year on the New York stage as well as in Israel, Europe, and of course North America. As far as the self-producing process, it is a great task and should only be undertaken with a full understanding of the process. I produced The Lost Teaspoons because it was the only way to bring to it to the stage. (And besides no one would work as cheaply as I do.) For me, despite glitches and bumps it has been a magical time, meeting so many wonderful actors, PR agents and generally supportive people and a great director, has made my addiction to theater even stronger. Anyone setting out on this journey needs to steel themselves, write a good budget and work like the dickens. It is a magnificent journey.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this play? This story? This production?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I believe this story and its characters are very powerful and I want everyone to feel the hope that flows from this play. And realize that no one has to accept defeat because someone else has hurt them.

Q: What's next for you?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well that’s a loaded question- by simply taking a line from my own play- I believe in today, tomorrow and whatever comes in between!

The Lost Teaspoons, directed by Wendy Tonken, is a new play by Bronx born playwright Vincent D’Onofrio. The production features film and tv veteran Robert Funaro, Rosina Fernhoff, an Obie Award Winner. Funaro and Fernhoff are joined by a powerful cast that includes Christian Musto, Patrick Heragthy, Emily Dalton, Wilfredo Roldan, and Mary Lahti and Luis Herrera.

The production is its limited engagement until Sunday, September 16th. It runs Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30PM and the Sunday Matinee at 3:00PM.

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