Curccio's has been serving Italian food and drinks at this working-class Bergen County neighborhood corner for 60 years, the last 20 headed up by Jim, the son of the original owner.
But the town has become a destination for New York City transplants looking for affordable homes and good schools. Everything is changing to suit their tastes, and Jim has seen the writing on the wall. He has found a buyer. Todd, a recent arrival, has announced his intentions on Instagram: "I'm thinking Gastropub, making my own beer, and rebooting traditional bar food." Jim seems resigned to let his restaurant go.
But not Uncle Lucky, the resourceful piano-player for whom Curccio's is his main gig, where he sings selections of his versions of the "American Songbook" and spins corny vaudeville jokes in his ubiquitous plaid fedora and jacket. Along with his compadre, Waving Willy, Lucky takes what might be a last Jersey stand against the onslaught of the inauthentic and unoriginal.
The evening includes a post-reading conversation with the author.
A Concert Reading of a New Play by Jon Mancinelli
Directed by John Pietrowski
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Jonathan C. Mancinelli has been a high school social studies teacher for almost 20 years, a hobby playwright for over 5, a dad of 2 children, a husband of 1 wife, a seasonal little league baseball coach, and a sometimes chef of grilled cheese. He loves old things - furniture, typewriters, and photographs. He can be found talking about former Chinese dictators, old Hollywood personalities, abstract expressionist artists, or Minecraft - the last with his young son. Jonathan’s perspective of teaching class in America, childhood experiences, and his wife’s love of restaurants, influences where he eats and what he writes. His writing reflects introspection and conversation about changing neighborhoods, what American democracy was founded on, what it is and what it should be, and is laced with humor and life. It helps having a daughter who is as fascinated with the assassination of Abe Lincoln as he is with the way the story is told. Writing plays for him is self expression, allows for him to think deeper about an issue, and pushes him to be creative in a way that makes him smile.