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From 'Sopranos' to the stage

Dominic Chianese may not have won television's Emmy for playing the vicious Junior Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos," but there may be a Tony or another theater award in his future.

Mr. Chianese is planning to portray Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright and novelist Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) in a one-person play next year. Chianese is writing the Pirandello play and is in talks with New York's Castillo Theatre about first doing it off-Broadway before it moves to Broadway.

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For Chianese, acting in live theater is a chance to learn "what you're good at, where your strengths are, and where your weaknesses are as a performer. Plus there's a great deal of satisfaction that comes from the ensemble atmosphere of a stage play - something that you don't get in the movies."

Playwright Pirandello is known for his classic work "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1921), in which the characters are left by the playwright to finish their own drama. Chianese, who began his acting career in the theater, says he "became increasingly fascinated with the complexity of Pirandello, the man, his work, and his politics."

In one of his most criticized acts, Pirandello, who initially supported Mussolini before becoming disillusioned, gave the Italian government his Nobel gold medal to melt down to help finance a military campaign.

Chianese has also been cast in Al Pacino's upcoming new stage production of Sophocles "Oedipus," with Mr. Pacino in the title role.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society