The Italian Cultural Center of Maryland is proud to present: Tony Lo Bianco new solo play "The Little Flower" for the first time in Baltimore

Apr 07, 2018 229

The Italian Cultural Center of Maryland is proud to present: TONY LO BIANCO NEW SOLO PLAY THE LITTLE FLOWER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN BALTIMORE. On May 12, 2018 at the War Memorial Building, downtown Baltimore, Tony Lo Bianco plays late, beloved New York Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia.

The Italian Cultural Center of Maryland and Mr. Lo Bianco will be promoting and celebrating the opening of the National Museum of Italian American Heritage (Opening is set for October 1st 2018 on 5706 Bellona Avenue in North Baltimore). This performance will also inaugurate a partnership with the War Memorial: the ICCM will present here in every May, from now on, an art performance to celebrate Italian Heritage in Maryland. This will also be the occasion to present the ICCM Awards of the Year.

About the performance: Lo Bianco returns to the role of Mayor La Guardia, which he first played in Shyre’s Hizzoner! The actor won one of five local Daytime Emmy Awards for the WNET Public Television version of that play, filmed at The Egg - Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts in Albany, in 1984. MNA Productions, Inc. presents the new run. In 1989, he returned to the role in a brief Broadway run of the play. “Since that time,” according to production notes, “Lo Bianco has continued to work on developing both the character and material, presenting workshop versions in intimate performances nationally
and internationally, including special performances in Moscow, Russia.”

The play is set in the office of Fiorello H. La Guardia on his final day as a three-term Mayor of New York City in 1945. According to production notes, “The Little Flower presents a historic look into the life and career of the great statesman. A champion of the poor and underprivileged, La Guardia’s voice resonated throughout America, and he became a father figure to millions that lived through the hard times of the 1930s and 40s. He transcended political party barriers, running as a Fusion Party Mayor, and held strong convictions on family values, inflation, women’s suffrage, financial responsibility, education, unions, political corruption and prohibition. A courageous and flamboyant personality who cleaned up city politics and also made the time to read the comics on the radio to children during a newspaper strike, La Guardia set a new standard for American politics.” The life of the mayor also inspired the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Fiorello!, which will be revived in concert this season by the Encores! series at New York City Center.

Lo Bianco won an Obie Award for Best Actor for the Off-Broadway production of Jonathan Reynolds’ Yanks-3, Detroit-0, Top of the 7th. On Broadway, his performance as Eddie in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge earned him a Tony Award nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actor. On film, he starred as Sal Boca in the Academy Award-winning film “The French Connection” opposite Gene Hackman, and as Ray Fernandez in the cult classic “The Honeymoon Killers.” His films include “The Seven-Ups,” “Bloodbrothers,” “F.I.S.T.,” “City Heat,” “Nixon,” “The Juror” and more. Lo Bianco co-founded the Triangle Theater in 1963. He served as the theatre’s artistic director for six years, directing eight productions and producing 25 others The Little Flower has set design by Henry Millman, costume design by Academy Award winner Patrizia Von Brandenstein, and lighting design by Paul Jones.

About the Italian Cultural Center of Maryland Awards. THE REGINA LEVI-BIANCHINI SORIA AWARD, named after the late Regina Rosa Enrica Levi-Bianchini Soria, a College of Notre Dame of Maryland professor and author who founded in Baltimore the Circolo Culturale Italiano in 1955, recognizes excellence in Philanthropy. The 2018 REGINA LEVIBIANCHINI SORIA AWARD will be presented to Mrs. MARY MANGIONE. THE MONTALCINI AWARD, named after the late Rita Levi Montalcini, an Italian Nobel Laureate honored for her work in neurobiology who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor, recognizes excellence in the Sciences. The 2018 MONTALCINI AWARD will be presented to Prof. DANIELE RIGAMONTI. THE LEGALUPPI AWARD, named after late Marcello Legaluppi, an Italian architect, sculptor, painter and noted Italian Consul in Maryland, recognizes excellence in the Arts. The 2018 LEGALUPPI AWARD will be presented to Mrs. YUMI HOGAN.

The ICCM awards are designed and handcrafted by the exquisite hands of Maestro Vetraio Gianni Toso.

About the National Museum of Italian American Heritage: The National Museum of Italian American Heritage was born on April 11, 2017 and will open its doors in October 2018 at 5706 Bellona Avenue, Baltimore MD 21212. The National Museum of Italian American Heritage is more than an immigration museum. Its purpose is to chronicle and commemorate the contributions of Italians in America and those of their descendants to the building of this great nation through explorers, adventurers, laborers, craftsmen, industrialists, educators, scientists, philosophers, politicians, and us all, telling a story that grows and evolves in North America today.

Americans of Italian Decent are one of the largest ethnic group in the United States, known for our old world values and attributes which identify us as a people within our society. As such, the museum serves as a point of reference for Italians and Italophiles alike as well as those who wish to learn about Italians in America.

The aims and goals of the National Museum of Italian American Heritage are as follows:
To establish and maintain a museum dedicated to the struggles of Italians and Italian Americans and their achievements and contributions to American culture and society;
To collect, own, hold, preserve, exhibit, and interpret a collection of appropriate objects;
To gather and preserve memorabilia, reminiscences, oral histories, documents and other appropriate material in an archive and library;
To sponsor lectures, symposia, musical programs, film, festivals, theater, and art exhibitions; andTo raise public awareness and appreciation of the accomplishments and contributions of Italians and Italian Americans to the American way of life.

The ICCM has been working on this project since 2011 and many local and international partnerships are already in place to guaranty the success of the Museum.

Inside the new Italian Cultural Center building you will find:
• Stoops IT! Gallery: 1300 sqft of multifunctional space for the promotion of Italian Americans Artists and to house the ICCM permanent collection of Bambagini paintings (currently on loan to the IACC)
• Immigration Gallery: 1000 sqft of multifunctional space with state of the art multimedia equipment and permanent exhibit for the Italian Immigration Stories and contributions of Italians and their descendants to the United States of America.
• National Italian American Film Institute and Media Library: a space where every Italian American can come, tell and record his own immigration story. The goal is to establish a multimedia library for the community at large to learn about each and every contribution Italians made to the State of Maryland.
• Minitalia: 1000 sqft space completely dedicated to the future generations of Italian Americans!
• B-More Italy Boutique

The National Museum of Italian American Heritage is a member of the American Alliance of Museums

About the Italian Cultural Center of Maryland: The Italian Cultural Center of Maryland was founded in 1955 by Professor Regina Levi-Bianchini Soria, Dr. Raffaele Canevaro and Mrs Helen Knipp as Circolo Culturale Italiano and incorporated in 1999 joining forces with than newly founded ItalCultura. Professor Soria’s successors and Dr. Francesco Legaluppi, founder of Italcultura, decided to unite their efforts to be more incisive in promoting what people of Italy and their descendants were contributing in Maryland and especially in Baltimore City.

Professor Soria moved to the U.S. in 1940 and joined the Notre Dame college faculty in 1942, teaching Italian. A 1979 article in The Sun described her as a "a sturdy woman with a big smile, a living room populated principally with books and overstuffed furniture, a dedication to Italy and Italian culture, and a husky voice that gets a lot of exercise." Prof. Soria was the first to point out what Italians have done in Baltimore when she organized in 1979, "The Marble Door," a conference about the influence of Italians in early Baltimore. In it, she discussed Enrico Causici, sculptor of the George Washington statue atop Baltimore's monument to the first president in Mount Vernon Place. She said she wanted the lectures to offset the negative image of Italians brought by The Godfather novel and films.

Prof. Soria’s efforts continues everyday: The Italian Cultural Center with its community program Be a Chef for a Day spreads the Italian way of living helping the community at large every day. The Nati Per Leggere in collaboration with the Enoch Pratt Free Library keeps alive the immense Italian Culture through children’s literature. To lean more about the ICCM please visit www.italymd.org

SOURCE: Monica E. Lapenta

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