Sunday, November 27, 2005
'La Befana': The Italian Christmas Witch is on her Way
The ANNOTICO Report
Your Kids have a wonderful opportunity have a great time
learning about their Italian Culture by learning about "La Befana" or better
yet by attending a perfprmance.
If you live in the New York or New Jersey area you must
make plans to bring your kids to a performance of "La Befana", or contact
Dr. Emelise Aleandri to have her bring her performance to your organization.
For those out of the NY/NJ area contact Emelise regarding
Performance Rights, and bring it to your town!!!!!
Have Broom, Will Fly
La Befana, the Italian Christmas Witch, Arrives
The children’s musical play,
The Legend of La Befana, will be performed at several area venues this
year by Frizzi & Lazzi the Olde Time Italian-American Music & Theatre
Company. This musical production, enjoyed by children and adults alike,
celebrates Italian tradition and culture for the Christmas holidays. The
delightful show, written and directed by Emelise Aleandri, Artistic Director
of Frizzi & Lazzi, borrows from many different versions of the Italian
myth, and recreates the story of the good Italian Witch who visits children
on the eve of the Epiphany and leaves presents for good children but coal,
stones and ashes for naughty ones!
Synopsis of the "La Befana " Legend
Many variations on the ancient
legend of La Befana have come down to us by tradition and folklore but
the common thread to all the stories is this: on the Eve of the Feast of
the Epiphany, January 6, Twelfth Night, the night of magic when all things
can happen, the Magi, three wise and learned Kings from the mystical East,
faithfully and determinedly follow the brightest star in the heavens in
a relentless search for a newborn king, in order to welcome him. On their
long journey, they unexpectedly encounter an old woman, La Befana, as she
diligently sweeps her little house and they ask her for directions to Bethlehem.
The Kings invite her to accompany them but she declines because she is
too busy cleaning her house. They continue on without her but later Old
Befana has misgivings and decides to embark on her own long journey in
search of! this new mysterious child. Flying through the sky on her magical
broom, she never finds him but wherever she does see a sleeping child,
she leaves a special gift just in case that one is the newborn king, the
Neonato. And she has been fulfilling this purpose on Epiphany eve for centuries.
Characters and Performers
This musical production of The
Legend of La Befana, brings to life an assortment of colorful characters
from the legend: La Befana, her angel helper La Vespa, the Three Kings
and their Camel, a Shoemaker, a Prophet, A Shepherd, and a Sailor. The
Christmas songs are performed in both English and Italian. Performers in
this year’s show include:
Nick Raio (King) has appeared
on America's Most Wanted, Law and Order Criminal Intent, The Sopranos and
One Life To Live. Film credits include festival winners A-Alike (picked
up by HBO), The Fighting Irish, The Wonder, Bellclair Times and the cult
favorite, Mob Queen. Numerous commercials include Mylanta.
Peter Linari (King) has done
many film and theatre productions.
Carmela Scala (Angel) was born
and raised in Napoli, came here at 21, earned a BA in Liberal Arts and
Psychology at Brooklyn College, then a Masters in Italian and Spanish Literature
at Hunter College. She is currently finishing a PhD in Comparative Literature,
with a specialty in Literature in Dialect from the Baroque to the Modern
Age. She is an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College and St. John’s University.
&nbs! p; Ida Corvino Miletich (Piano,
Accordion) is an accomplished musician, a teacher of the Italian language
at all levels and serves on the Board of several Italian American organizations.
She is the President of the Italian American Women's Center, V. P. of the
Association of Italian American Educators and a founding member of Friuli-Big
Apple, which promotes the culture of the Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
in the New York area.
Migliaccio (Percussion) is the son of the legendary comedian and singer
of the Italian immigrant stage, Farfariello. As "Arnie Mig," he is also
bandleader of the Serenaders in Blue, the official Glen Miller Marching
Barry Mitterhoff (Mandolin) is an
internationally known freelance musician/teacher who performs in various
Yvonne Mattevi (La Befana) is
pursuing a PhD in Com! parative Literature at the CUNY Grad Center. She
is a graduate of Stony Brook University which gave her an Award for Excellence
in Teaching this year. She teaches Italian through theatre.
Dr. Richard Sorrentino (Guitar/Mandolin),
an educator, is President of the American Italian Cultural Roundtable.
The AICR is producing “Jazz ItaloAmericano”on May 4, 2006, a major musical
event celebrating the Italian-American contribution to Jazz. For
info: 212 923 7800, ex. 2121.
Carolena (Flute), an OOBR award
winning musician, is a composer of original music and leader of the Electric
Mermaid group which has performed at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center.
She also leads the jazz group Juicy Flute.
Jesus A. Del Rosario, Jr (King) was recently seen in Norman Weinstein's
play Bullard. He performed in Marjorie Edwards' play Revelations From The
Deep: The S! ouls of Black Men and Arthur French III's play Bitter Apples.
He just completed principal photography in the independent films, The Tested,
Blood Money, The Slow Jam King and The Menace.
Author and Director
Dr. Emelise Aleandri (La Strega)
is Artistic Director of Frizzi & Lazzi. She has extensive experience
in theatre, film and television as both actor and producer and is a published
author of books and articles on Italian-American theatre and culture. Her
credits include Spike Lee’s films, Crooklyn and Summer of Sam, the Walnut
Street Theatre's Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasions and the teleplay,
Penguins and Peacocks as 19th century Ita! lian actress Eleonora Duse.
She also produced the documentaries: Teatro, Festa and Circo Rois - Che
Frizzi & Lazzi has given
successful performances of The Legend of La Befana for many groups in the
tri-state area, among them: the Italian-American Women’s Center of Long
Island at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Garden City, NY and at St.
Patrick’s Church in Glen Cove, NY; in New York City at the Tiro a Segno
Organization and the American Italian Cultural Roundtable at Lincoln Center’s
Fordham University Campus; the Federation of Italo-American Associations
in Astoria and in Flushing; Bella Italia Mia in Maspeth, Queens; Il Club
Italiano of Westchester Community College in Valha! lla, New York; the
Coccia Institute of Montclair University and the Center for Italian and
Italian-American Culture in New Jersey. The Frizzi & Lazzi website
shows many colorful photos from past productions.
Frizzi & Lazzi, which means
“Sparkling Theatre,” is a music and theatre company of professional actors,
singers and musicians dedicated to reviving the delightful musical and
theatrical entertainments performed by Italian-American immigrants at the
turn of the century. Frizzi & Lazzi is sponsored in part by the New
York Metropolitan Chapter of the American Italian Historical Association.
Performances are scheduled as follows:
Sunday, December 11, 2005, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm.
Sponsored by The National Organization
of Italian-American Women and The United Federation of Teachers Italian-American
Committee at 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, New York City (take the 4 or 5 train
to Wall Street or the R train to Rector Street). Bring your families and
friends, adults and children of all ages, for this celebration of Italian
Christmastime tradition and culture. Refreshments will be provided. Children
will receive gift bags and biscotti. Admission is free. Reservations required
by Dec. 4, 2005. Phone: 212 - 237-8574! . Fax: 212 - 489-6130; Email: NOIAW@aol.com.
NOIAW (445 West 59th Street, Suite 1248, New York, NY 10019) was founded
in 1980 and is the only national membership organization for women of Italian
ancestry. NOIAW serves to promote ethnic pride through scholarships and
cultural, educational and social programs dedicated to women. For more
information go to http://www.noiaw.org/
or call 212 - 237-8574. The UFT Italian-American Committee is dedicated
to the study and preservation of Italian-American heritage and its many
contributions to American culture, the labor movement and the teaching
profession. The IAC actively seeks to recruit teaching professionals and
support staff who share an interest in this tradition and can offer their
experience and skills to achieve the committee’s goals. UFT members
should RSVP George Altomare, Director of Pro! fessional Committees, at
212 598 7772.
Saturday, December 17, 2005, 1 pm
The North Tonawanda History
Museum will welcome La Befana to the 2nd Annual Ethnic Christmas: Italian
Christmas at the DeGraff Community Center, 139 Division Street in North
Tonawanda, NY. This program is made possible through a grant from Speakers
in the Humanities, a program of the New York Council for the Humanities.
The Board of Trustees of the North Tonawanda History Museum will honor
a number of its volunteers, donors, and other supporters for their contributions
in the Museum’s first two years of existence at this event as part of their
Italian Christmas program on December 17. The program is free and open
to the public. Italian Christmas refreshments, prepared by Barbara Wickman,
will be served, including goodies prepared from recipes in the 1956 “Wurlitzer
Centennial Cookbook,” many of which originated with the Wurlitzer family
over three generations. Parking is available behind the Community Center,
which is located between Tremont Street and Christiana Street. Call the
Museum at 716 213-0554 or email at email@example.com for further
information. The mission of the North Tonawanda History Museum, located
at 314 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda, NY. 14120, is to assemble, preserve,
protect, and exhibit collections pertaining to the history of North Tonawanda,
its people and community life, focusing especially on our rich immigrant
heritage and role as an important shipping and manufactur! ing center strategically
located on the historic Erie Canal and Niagara River in the 19th and 20th
centuries. As a research and educational institution, it is both an active
participant in the historical and cultural tourism focus of North Tonawanda
and a focal point for students of all ages to participate in historical
studies and activities of the City.
Saturday, December 18, 2005, 3 pm
Dante Hall Theatre of the Arts,
located at 14 N. Mississippi Avenue (adjacent to St. Michael’s Church)
in the heart of Atlantic City New Jersey’s “Ducktown” neighborhood, presents
this musical play (A Family Series Event – Tickets $5) that will delight
the entire family. Dante Hall Theatre of the Arts, an intimate 243-seat
theatre, seeks to serve Atlantic City and the surrounding communities as
a vital cultural center. To achieve the goal! of the development of new
audiences, Dante Hall, a member of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance (SJCA),
presents a diverse range of professional and amateur performances with
the goal of attracting a wide variety of patrons who will come to see Dante
Hall as their home for the performing arts. For member press releases as
well as downloadable photos, the media is invited to visit the SJCA pressroom
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State
Council on the Arts/Department of State through the Local Arts Development
Grant Program administered by the Atlantic County Office of Cultural &
Heritage Affairs. For Tickets and Information contact: Joanna Sykes-Saavedra,
Executive Director 609-344-8877; http://www.dantehall.org/.
Dr. Emelise Aleandri, Artistic Director
Frizzi & Lazzi The Olde Time Italian-American Music
& Theatre Company
President, Metropolitan New York Chapter American Italian
140 Riverside Drive #1P NYC 10024-2605
212 769 8920; fax 212 769 2078; cell 917 821 1036