De Niro’s ‘Bronx Tale’ Musical, Complicite’s ‘Encounter’ Join Broadway Slate

A Bronx Tale review musical
Matthew Murphy

With the Tony Awards out of the way, Broadway can now get down to ironing out its plans for the fall. The newest confirmed additions to the slate: “A Bronx Tale,” the musical co-directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks, and “The Encounter,” a transfer of a hit production from last year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

“Bronx Tale,” which premiered earlier this year at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., had long looked like a contender for Broadway, given the creative team led by De Niro and stage veteran Zaks (“Six Degrees of Separation,” “Guys and Dolls”). With music by Alan Menken (“Newsies,” “The Little Mermaid”) and lyricist Glenn Slater (“School of Rock”), the book is adapted by Chazz Palminteri, the writer-actor who wrote the original one-man stage show that inspired the 1993 film adaptation that De Niro directed and co-starred in alongside Palminteri. (Zaks also directed Palminteri in a 2007 Broadway staging of “Bronx Tale.”)

Produced by Tommy Mottola and the Dodgers (“Matilda”) with De Niro’s Tribeca Productions, “A Bronx Tale The Musical” will begin previews at the Longacre Theater Nov. 3 prior to a Dec. 1 opening. No casting has yet been set, but “Bullets Over Broadway” alum Nick Cordero starred in the Paper Mill staging (pictured above).

Meanwhile, U.K. company Complicite’s “The Encounter” joins Broadway’s play lineup after winning strong reviews out of its Edinburgh premiere and subsequent runs in London and on an international tour. Written, directed and performed by Simon McBurney, “Encounter” hands each audience member a headset that creates a soundscape using 3D audio effects, telling the story of a National Geographic photographer lost in the Amazon in the 1960s.

McBurney will star in the Broadway adaptation, handing off the production’s single role to Richard Katz at some performances. Produced by Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Douglas Meyer, James D. Stern, Barbara & Alan D. Marks, Ian Bentley, Jim Kierstead and Becca Davies, “Encounter” begins previews Sept. 20 ahead of a Sept. 29 opening at the John Golden Theater, where the production will end its limited run Jan. 8.