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THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2022 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 B eing Italian goes b e y o n d i m a g e , DNA, and origins. R a y L i o t t a , adopted when he was 6 months old by Mary and Alfred, both children of Italian immigrants, was born a n d r a i s e d f e e l i n g I t a l i a n - A m e r i c a n a n d n u r t u r i n g a s t r o n g b o n d w i t h t h e B e l - p a e s e . I n 2 0 0 0 , w h e n h e found his biological parents, he found out his heritage was Scottish. But his identity was formed already: his past, what he – an American actor born in Newark, New Jersey - had lived up to then, defined who he was. The Italian sonority of his surname had already marked part of his career, just like his undiscussable acting skills and artistic talent had. The same had happened with Robert De Niro or Joe Pesci. It was his acting charm, his magnetic, never banal interpretations, that always kept him far from the risk to be typecast. In Hol- lywood, he stood out and, little by little, he reached fame through work, always keeping away from cinematographic Italian talent is on show, between cinema (Liotta) and theater (Massini) From the Editor stereotypes, and revealing his multi-faceted skills. He enjoyed many a success and, more than anything, he man- aged to stay away from the Italian-American prototype of the silver screen, which is a simple construct, not reality. Being and feeling Italian-American made him authentic, and kept away the risk of becoming a caricature. With him, on this page, we'd like also to write about an Italian playwright who, contrarily to his masterpiece, The Lehman Trilogy, is mostly unknown to the great public: Stefano Massini. Massini is a Florentine who lives and works in Italy but his script – a script that has very little of Italy, even if it was conceived, created, and staged for the first time in Italy – triumphed abroad, especially in the USA. Every show was a success, with some 100,000 spectators in three months in New York. Incredibly, he won the 75th edition of the Tony Award, the Oscars of American theater, the most coveted prize for those working on Broadway. The Trilogy won five prizes, which shows it wasn't only considered the best play by Broadway experts, but also that it made it into collective imagination. Confirmation came when Wall Street executives, after having been at the play's debut, asked the three actors interpreting its main characters to open a trad- ing session and ring the famous bell in their stage costumes. Besides the international flair of the story, the biggest sur- prise is perhaps that the Italian DNA can emerge and tri- umph even on the American stage. It's Massini himself to say it while holding his prize: "The idea that a foreigner, an immigrant playwright won and stood on the podium that once was of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams was almost inconceivable. But I was there, one step away from stars like Samuel Jackson, Hugh Jackman, and Billy Crystal, legends I usually only see at the cinema or on TV. Winning the Tony Award went beyond anything imaginable: it isn't false humility, it's a simple truth." There is something more about this play, which brought the Tony Award to Italy while telling an all-American story. Massini explained to ANSA that a circle has been finally completed: "The Lehman Trilogy was in New York in March 2020. Only the first five shows went on, then shelter-in- place orders came. When Broadway finally opened again, in September 2021, it was the first work to be back on stage, almost a symbol of the world's ability to start again after Covid-19." During an interview with Italy's main newscast, TG1, the 46 years old playwright, whose work has been translated and represented in more than thirty countries, declared: "At the end of Covid, when theaters started filling up again, we felt the heart of our art beating strong. Theater is alive, it's a living art made for human beings. When you are in a theater, you breathe flesh and sweat, you breathe being with other people without fear. And that is the most powerful of all medicines against fear itself. The real vaccine for those who are still in doubt, because theater is the very life of humanity." A declaration of love for the stage, and not only in name of his successful – and winning – play which, Massini says, "is a bit novel, a bit play, a bit ballad. It's a peculiar type of dra- maturgy." "I think artistic genres are finished. A New York Times critic told me that The Lehman Trilogy shows us how writing for theater can be different. I became a playwright because I need people's reaction to my work immediately," he explained to the Italian daily La Repubblica, adding also a thought about theater, a lesson that Italy taught him and us all: "In the darkest months of the pandemic, theater no longer existed and the world was uglier. Because theater is beauty, it is people's critical conscience." Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italianaall'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano 610 West Foothill Blvd. Unit D, Monrovia, CA 91016 - Tel.: (626) 359-7715 PLEASE SEND CORRESPONDENCE TO P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), www.italoamericano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian newspaper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which repre- sents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsi- dies by the Italian Government, Mem- berships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and cul- ture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Giudici SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTORS Catherine Accardi Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Nicoletta Curradi, Generoso D'Agnese, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Alfonso Guerriero Jr., Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003

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