Pantolianio, Falco, Bracco go legit

NEW YORK — Tony Soprano killed off henchman Ralph Cifaretto just in time for Joe Pantoliano to make his Broadway debut.

Pantoliano and Rosie Perez go into “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” on Jan. 1, replacing Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci in the Terrence McNally two-hander. A spokesperson for the Broadway show confirmed the casting switch.

Two weeks ago, Pantoliano’s character on “The Sopranos” was throttled to death by Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini), the husband of Carmela Soprano (played by Falco).

On Nov. 17, Kathleen Turner was replaced in the Broadway production of “The Graduate” by Lorraine Bracco, who plays Tony Soprano’s shrink, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, who hasn’t yet been told of the Cifaretto murder. Other “Sopranos” sightings on Broadway have been rumored but not confirmed.

“Frankie and Johnny” opened Aug. 8 and quickly went on to become the highest grossing play on Broadway, setting house records at the Belasco Theater and recouping its $1.5 million investment in a mere 6½ weeks. The show’s producers had originally announced a five-month limited engagement, but after its surprise success at the box office, they quickly began the recasting process.

Playing a waitress and short-order cook, respectively, Falco and Tucci give their last perf in the play Dec. 29.

In addition to Pantoliano, Perez will also be making her Broadway debut with the “Frankie and Johnny” stint. Two years ago, she appeared at the Public Theater in Jose Rivera’s “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.”

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