Giovanni “Nino” Cinquimani (David Proval) is worried that he’s not going to make Sunday mass. This should be the least of his worries however, since his lawyer, Sanford (David Deblinger) has just presented him with a proffer agreement, otherwise known as a “queen for a day” letter. The contract, drafted by US Attorney, Patricia Cole (Portia), will provide Nino immunity for any comments he makes about his younger brother and mafia kingpin, Pasquale (Vincent Pastore).
Michael Ricigliano, Jr.’s drama, A Queen for Day certainly does not cover new ground. Two of its stars, Proval and Pastore, were featured on the hugely popular HBO Series The Sopranos. Here, they both do the best they can with the material, but it often feels like a parody of the “bada-bing, bada-bang” brand. Sure, a major plot twist occurs which, to my knowledge, has never been attempted; the likes of which further challenge the bond of brotherhood. And yet, the script rarely manages to raise them above the level of caricature. Deblinger’s Sanford also reads as the cookie cutter, highly neurotic lawyer, while Portia’s Patricia Cole appears on the scene as a relentless pit bull. There are deep secrets, but few layers in any of Ricigliano, Jr.’s one dimensional characters.
Andreea Mincic’s dank, foreboding warehouse set, combined with Isabella F. Byrd’s moody lighting design appropriately set the tone for a gangster hide-out. The 90 minute show will presumably appeal to followers of the leading men and hard core fans of the mobster genre. But for the rest, you can simply, “Fuggetaboutit.”
A Queen for a Day is now playing at Theatre at St. Clements, 423 West 46th street between 9th and 10th aves. For tickets and information, visit http://aqueenforadayplay.com/tickets/