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Robert De Niro directs 'A Bronx Tale' on Broadway: Why the 1993 film was a hit

De Niro, who directed and starred in the movie version of 'A Bronx Tale,' will co-direct the Broadway musical adaptation of the story. Music and lyrics will be by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.

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Robert De Niro arrives at the Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

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Actor Robert De Niro will co-direct a Broadway musical adaptation of the 1993 film “A Bronx Tale,” in which he both directed and starred in.

Mr. De Niro is co-directing the musical with Jerry Zaks, who also helmed the 2011 Broadway production of “Sister Act” and the 2004 Broadway production of “La Cage aux Folles,” among other work. 

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De Niro has starred on Broadway himself, appearing in a 1986 production of the play “Cuba and His Teddy Bear.” 

“Bronx” tells the story of a young boy whose father (De Niro in the film) disapproves of the activities of mobsters but who becomes involved with them after the young boy, Calogero, decides not to tell the police what he knows about a murder. 

When the 1993 film was released, it was mostly received positively by critics. 

Washington Post reviewer Desson Howe wrote that the film “doesn’t have an original bone in its body,” but New York Times critic Janet Maslin called the movie “a warm, vibrant and sometimes troubling portrait of the community.... [De Niro’s] work here, as both actor and director, is impressively unobtrusive.” 

And Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times found the film to be “a very funny movie sometimes, and very touching at other times. It is filled with life and colorful characters and great lines of dialogue, and De Niro, in his debut as a director, finds the right notes as he moves from laughter to anger to tears.” 

As for the musical adaptation of “Bronx,” songs will be supplied by Glenn Slater and Alan Menken, who previously collaborated for the Broadway musical “The Little Mermaid” (Mr. Menken composed the music for the 1989 film, with lyrics for the movie by Howard Ashman, who is also credited for the Broadway musical).