by: Anne M. Raso
Sopranos veteran Vincent Pastore, who played Tony S.'s "soldier" and confidante that was last seen swimming with the fishes, is back not only via his film acting work but because of the special Rat Pack events he has been organizing in the New York tristate area. We first caught up with Big Pussy's New Rat Pack Revue which featured fellow Sopranos vets Vincent Curatola and Al Sapienza back in April at the Gramercy Theater, but most recently we caught the Revue in a decidedly non-rock-and-roll version at The Friar's Club (this particular show was a benefit for the Sunshine Committee).
The Revue included veteran Friar's Club member Dick Capri (who served as an emcee along with Pastore), the comedian simply known as "Fat Bastard," singer Phyllis Martin who has a voice that can do everything from Judy Garland to Janis Joplin (and make it look easy), and Steve Maglio, a smooth Sintara-esque crooner who performed every famous number by you-know-who from "Summer Wind" to "The Lady Is Tramp." The music was perfect for the Friar's Club crowd--which boasts the highest concentration of toupees on the East Coast outside of the Catskills--but the comedy was as bawdy as a Friar's Roast. (Think of the jokes that can be made when someone named Dick Capri and Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore are on the same stage.) Former Miss New Jersey Diane Falzone also got onstage in the Frank Sinatra room for some self-deprecating comedy--we had no idea that a beauty queen had the potential to be so funny and to not seem obsessed with her looks! (She knows how to poke fun at Jersey girls with the best of 'em, as well!)
In case you are curious, yes, Pastore does really sing--and I can only describe it as the "Velvet Frog." Pastore just seems to jump on the stage and chimes in with his cast of characters unexpectedly and the audience goes wild. There is just something lovable about the whole "Puss" persona even though he's really just being fun-loving Vinnie!
The 200-plus audience members at the Friar's Club this magical night got more than their $100 worth. They were treated to the presence of a non-performing Sopranos vet--Federico Castelluccio who played Carmela's "almost paramour" and Tony #1 "enforcement guy," Furio. He had gorgeous actress gal-pal Ms. Shafer in tow and financefoodie.com took a snap and caught up with them on recent projects (including gallery exhibits talented painter Castelluccio has coming up).
To keep up with "The Further Adventures Of The Puss," sign up for The Vincent Pastore Appreciation Society on Facebook, which will keep you up with all the wonderful Rat Pack projects big Vinnie has coming up in the tri-state area. Each show is different, and each one is as loud, funny and full of surprises as Pastore (a former New Rochelle nightclub owner) himself.