Bada-bing: “Chicago” meets “The Sopranos”


In the final episode of the first season of

Friends, Ross has to go to China, and Joey tells him to go to China

and eat Chinese food. Chandler then quips, “’Course in China, they just call

it food.” That kind of sums up how I feel about Chicago stunt-casting. It’s just “casting” now because

it’s the norm, not the exception. (Of course, that doesn’t stop me from

commenting on it.)

But, amazingly, the latest

Chicago casting news is actually pretty good. At least

it’s not really bad, and that’s about as much as I can ask. Former

stars Aida Turturro and Vincent Pastore will

be taking over the roles of Matron “Mama” Morton and Amos Hart in

the Broadway production beginning November 13.

From a strict Broadway perspective,

the casting is a little flawed. Aida Turturro has some stage chops —

in 1992, she performed on Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire

— but she’s never had a singing/dancing role. And Vincent Pastore has

not been on stage since his early community theater days.

But from a character perspective,

this makes more sense. Janice Soprano as Mama Morton works.

Her character was manipulative

and self-interested — think how she weaseled her way into Bobby’s life

— but she was occasionally sympathetic. (When Richie hit her, you understood

why she shot him.) I’m optimistic that she’ll have a compelling stage


It’s not too difficult to imagine

her in the big “Mama” Morton number, “When You’re Good to Mama.”

And then there’s Sal “Big Pussy”


Amos Hart.

“Big Pussy” was not as

much of a pushover as Amos Hart. (He did kill people on a regular basis.)

But he was similarly family-oriented, which proved to be his downfall.

I’m sure about his stage presence. (I’m pretty sure he’s no Joel Grey.) But, if he can sing, he could be


Of course, I cannot help but

quickly cast the rest of the major roles.

I’m seeing Silvio as Billy Flynn.

I don’t know that he’s really

smart enough — and he’d be a little wooden — but the suits do it for


I think Meadow would make the best Velma.

She’s got the cunning and the

drive. (But she may not have the world-weary humor.) I think Jamie-Lynn

may actually have played Roxie — which seems wrong to me

— but Meadow as Velma is OK.

And, finally, I’d go with Adriana as Roxie.

I think she’s got the right

mix of smart and stupid for the role. (But if I were casting Drea

de Matteo
rather than Adriana, I’d probably make her Velma.)

That’s my take on it, anyway.

Would you cast it differently?

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