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La Famiglia Makes You Part of the Family at the Blue Moon Theater

by Aimee Ferenz

Opening night at the Blue Moon Theater is back again, this time with Lorraine Ranalli’s collection of 4 one act plays called La Familglia. Directed by a co-founder of the Blue Moon, Cheryl Stark, the show is a delight as it explores the dysfunction of an Italian-Philadelphian family. Stark also prepared costumes, set/light design with Mike Russell, and props with Angela Robb. Stark also worked scene changes with light/sound tech Jolee Farrah. I am particularly amazed at the utility of this set, seeing as they are sharing it with the cast of Arsenic and Old Lace, which will be opening at the Blue Moon next weekend. This production staff and their collection of eight performers, bring the Scamorza family to life throughout their four scenes. 

First, I would like to begin with the adult children, Gina and Vinny Scamorza, who are played by Angela Robb and Andrew Fralinger respectively. The two bicker with one another throughout the four acts, perfectly depicting the prickly relationship of siblings who never quite got along. Robb’s performance is quick witted and natural, showing general care for every member of the family while still keeping them at arm’s length. Fralinger’s depiction of the sarcastic older brother is a fantastic asset to this cast as he keeps the energy moving throughout the show with teasing and ridicule. In the final moments, these two manage a tender moment of sincerity that anyone with a sibling can recall craving from their relatives. Both Robb and Fralinger have a charming camaraderie with one another and the other cast members that deepens their familiar relationship to make the story blissfully relatable. 

The Mother and Father of the Scamorza family, Cecilia and Sal, prove to hold the stereotype of the exhausted heads of the house. Cecilia, portrayed by Nance Reeves, is a nervous hypochondriac who exaggerates her symptoms for sympathy from those in her life. Reeves plays this role beautifully as a woman who manipulates and deceives all of those around her, from family to strangers (and sometimes even herself). She succeeds in toeing the line between abrasive and serene, painting a complex character as genuinely flawed. Sal (David Warren) serves as an out of touch father who keeps his emotional distance from his family. Warren succeeds in this role as he teases all other characters and gets himself into antics with gambling. He entertains throughout the production while maintaining an air of familiarity that many can relate to. 

The cast is filled out with four other actors, all of which bring a lovely performance to the show. Ava Bevacqua plays Maria Scamorza, the granddaughter of Cecilia and Sal. Bevacqua is sweet and gentle while maintaining constant attention to the story. Her performance transcends her years and proves a long performance career ahead of her. Patrick Connely, who plays Msr. Sebastian and Srgt Kelly, exhibits an excellent understanding of comedic timing as he portrays both leading figures of the community. He also shows off some excellent accent skills throughout both portrayals, assisting the audience in understanding the two separate characters. Joe Stark plays Guy McLaughlin, a lawyer who is mistakenly taken as flirting with Gina. Stark’s performance is comfortable and charismatic, giving the audience the same misconception as Gina, which aids in the comedic timing of the end of the scene. Tara Lessig, who plays Meghan (Vinny’s wife) and a particularly sassy nun, exhibits a strong understanding in comedic timing. She gels with the other actors with great success, allowing the show to maintain a constant and even flow. 

This show is a window into Italian-American life, one that many audience members can feel at home in. The atmosphere of the theater was intimate and welcoming, just as I have always found it to be. I was particularly moved by the fact that Blue Moon has partnered with the  Women’s Club of Woodstown with proceeds from the show going to support their endeavors. I hope that you find yourself with a spare hour to offer your attention to this play, especially since it is only able to run for this weekend. Tickets for La Famiglia can be purchased at for their final few performances. 


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