Robert De Niro Co-Directing 'Bronx Tale' Musical Adaptation

Actor – who directed and co-starred in 1993 film version of mob story – will helm project with Tony winner Jerry Zaks

Robert De Niro in 'A Bronx Tale' in 1993. Credit: ©Savoy Pictures/Everett

Robert De Niro made his directorial debut with 1993's A Bronx Tale, a film adaptation of Chazz Palminteri's acclaimed one-man show. Now the star is co-helming a musical adaptation of the project with four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks, Entertainment Weekly reports. 

The musical – which features music from Tony and Oscar-winner Alan Menken – will premiere next year as part of the 2015-2016 season for Millburn, New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, running from February 4th to March 6th. The production will feature a book by Palminteri, lyrics by Glenn Slater and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. 

After its 1990 premiere in Los Angeles, the original A Bronx Tale ran off-Broadway in New York, followed by a 2007 Broadway revival. The story, set in the 1960s, follows an Italian-American teenager "finding his path in life as he must choose between the father who raised him and a mob-boss father figure who fascinates him."

Palminteri wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, also co-starring as the gangster character, Sonny, opposite De Niro's Lorenzo Anello. A Bronx Tale earned wide acclaim upon its theatrical release – including a glowing review from Rolling Stone's Peter Travers

"Palminteri gives a knockout performance, dodging every gangster cliché to create a sly, funny, thoughtful and recognizably human portrait of a dangerous man," our critic wrote. "His script, despite sentimental lapses, is equally alert to nuances. And cinematographer Reynaldo Villalobos, shooting on location in New York, creates an atmosphere so vivid you can almost smell the spilled beer at Chez Bippy, a hangout for Sonny and his cronies, who have nicknames like Tony Toupée and JoJo the Whale."