Bronx actress takes the stage in 'A Bronx Tale'
The first Bronx native to appear in the Broadway revival of "A Bronx Tale" at the Longacre Theatre went from sitting on her stoop in the Boogie Down to singing about the same thing in front of live audiences.
Janelle McDermoth says she went to public school around Co-op City until she was 12. She grew up focused on music and is now the first cast member to actually hail from the borough.
"I was always involved with school chorus and band," she says. "It's a hometown show, so my family gets to come see it, and all my old teachers -- folks who knew me my entire life."
The musical is based on the movie of the same name about an Italian-American teen and his connections to both his hard-working dad, played by Robert DeNiro, and a mob boss father figure, played by Chazz Palminteri.
Alan Menken, who wrote the music in "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast," provided the score.
McDermoth plays the female lead's best friend, who she describes as the "not reasonable voice of reason."
"It is very much the reality of realizing there is tension -- sometimes -- between some black folks and some Italian folks," McDermoth says, noting that the story takes place in 1968. "And you've got to be aware of that, even if your heart is telling you something else."