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Interactive Play Lets Audience Solve the 'Death of a Cannoli Salesman'

By Casey Cora | December 14, 2012 6:30am | Updated on December 14, 2012 1:54pm

BRIDGEPORT — Call it dinner theater, South-Side style.

Bridgeport native “Cousin” Vinnie Hickey is inviting residents to performances of his “Death of a Cannoli Salesman” play, a participatory theater experience not unlike the smash hit "Tony and Tina’s Wedding."

Actually, that’s partly where the idea originated. Hickey, 34, played the role of Tony’s father in the popular production.

But rather than focus on the quirks of la famiglia — though Hickey said his play has plenty of that — “Death of a Cannoli Salesman” centers on the murder of the “gross but lovable degenerate” Vinnie DePasta after his 20th wedding anniversary party.

“Somebody whacks him. It could be the priest. It could be the psycho ex-girlfriend,” said Hickey.

And it’s the audience’s job to figure out whodunit.

Along the way, there’s a buffet-style dinner —provided by next-door Ricobene’s — cash bar and dancing. In other words, it’s a big party for all ages, complete with cannolis from Taylor Street’s Original Ferrara Bakery.

“I’ve never seen a person not smile,” said Hickey, an aspiring playwright, chef and stand-up comedian.

The show, directed by Jane Allyson-D'Arienzo, contains a cast of seven local actors, including Vince LiFonti (Vinnie DePasta), Diana Chaput (Laura DePasta), Andrea Salloum (Geannie Coglione), Don Fisher (Jimmy Whispers), Steve Salemi (Father Tommy), Carlos Ferniza III (Joey Numbers) and Ricky March (Tony "Cupcakes" Serelli).

The production took a brief hiatus but relaunches Sunday with a special holiday-themed performance at Galleria Events banquet hall, located on the second-floor space at 260 W. 26th St.

Tickets for the Dec. 16 production are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased here. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 6 p.m.

Those who bring a donation of canned goods will receive a $5 discount on each ticket. Food donations will be sent to Louis L. Valentine Boys and Girls Club, 3400 S. Emerald Drive.