The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings






Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
Dinner With The Boys

Dan Lauria's First Play Gets a Second Outing On Theater Row

The dinner party Dan Lauria wrote for himself and Richard Zavaglia and Ray Abruzzo has crossed the Hudson for an Off-Broadway Run. Except for some more than likely needed belt tightening to bring it in at 95 minutes (with an intermission) and a change of sound designers. Herewith the current production notes and, since everything is the same, it's followed by Simon Saltzman's review of the New Jersey premiere.

Dinner With the Boys by Dan Lauria
Directed by Frank Megna
Cast: Dan Lauria (Charlie), Richard Zavaglia (Dominic), Ray Abruzzo (Big Anthony, Jr.), Morris "Moe" Rosenbaum (The Uncle Sid)
Scenic Design: Jessica Parks
Lighting Design: Jill Nagle
Sound Design: Merek Royce Press
Costume Design: Patricia E. Doherty
Running Time: 95 minutes, including one 10 minute intermission
Acorn Theater at Theater Row 410 W. 42 St.6/28/05/15
Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesdays 2pm and 8pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays 2pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Running Time: 95 minutes, includes 1 intermission.

I could never hurt you. Do what you gotta do, Charlie. Kill me if you must, I'm not going back. — Dominick
Dinner With The Boys
Left to Right: Richard Zavaglia, Ray Abruzzo, Dan Lauria (photo credit: Suzanne Barabas)
In Dan Lauria's Grand Guignol-ish comedy Dinner With The Boys a pair of Brooklyn-based professional hit-men — Charlie (Dan Lauria) and Dominic (Richard Zavaglia) — have been sequestered by their mob boss Big Anthony, Jr. (Ray Abruzzo) to remain in semi-seclusion in a house somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey. Living together for the past six months as preliminary punishment for not completing a "hit" as instructed, these two inglorious anti-heroes have established a routine of housekeeping, gardening, shopping, cooking and reminiscing about the good old days as they await phase two of their fate. Their past has been marked with enough "hits" between them to keep their dinner conversations lively comprised primarily of the preparation of food and of their most memorable killings, as described with gruesome detail.

Listening to Charlie and Dominic trade off stories as they also consider the options that these "good-fellas" have or don't have, one might initially get the impression that there is more to their relationship than simply the preparation of food and figuring out who did what to whom, when and why. But Lauria's skill as an actor and now as a playwright gives him an edge in a role that is designed to show him off. He is full of surprises in a performance that builds up a head of comedic steam and is nicely balanced with the more conservatively nuanced Zavaglia.

Fine teamwork is at the root of Charlie and Dom's long-time attachment to each and is the pleasures they recall of their past rub-outs. Exposition plays a large part as does our unwittingly surrendered affection for the motor-mouthed Charlie and Dom.

Big Anthony, Jr.'s arrival, which is expected by one of the "boys" and unexpected by the other, puts them into survival mode: a concerted effort that has been well calculated by Lauria to insure plenty of uneasy laughs as well as many full out guffaws. There are also some chills in store for those who may not have a taste for blood and the macabre. When Charlie and Dominic also finding themselves welcoming mob accountant "The Uncle Sid" (Morris "Moe" Rosenbaum) and unseen others, it is time to put all their culinary skills to work.

Dom's preparation and serving of what they refer to as "the last supper," is not only comprised of such lip-smacking dishes as Cervello with onions, herbs in a lobster bisque sauce, scalloped potatoes, eggplant and broccoli-rob but are enhanced in somewhat the same way that made the pies sold by Sweeny Todd's Mrs. Lovett extra special. A nicely designed, but more importantly, well stocked kitchen designed by Jessica Parks is the setting for a play that is not only playfully preposterous but also purposely tasteless, save those presumably savory "brains."

"Thanks for sharing," says the terrific Zavaglia who gets many of the play's biggest laughs as he expertly slices and dices, mixes and stirs, sautés and simmers the ingredients for the last supper under the most trying of circumstances — those being the scarily comical intrusions by Abruzzo as a mood-swinging Big Anthony, Jr. and Rosenbaum as the eerily unctuous The Uncle Sid.

Dinner With The Boys , under the abetting direction of Frank Megna, is, despite its few grisly episodes and inherent crudities, a tasty morsel of comedy and crime. Regional theaters, in particular, are likely to have fun with this caper.

The show with same creative and technical team, but before being trimmed to 95 minutes, premiered at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, from 9/11/14 to 10/05/14.
Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter

Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Dinner With The Boys
  • I disagree with the review of Dinner With The Boys
  • The review made me eager to see Dinner With The Boys
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

>Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email and state if you'd like your comments published in our letters section. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

You can also contact us at Curtainup at Facebook or Curtainup at Twitter
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows-the complete set

You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company


©Copyright 2015, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from