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Miranda Theatre Company Presents a Revival of "Snow Orchid" at the Lion Theatre
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Miranda Theatre Company Presents a Revival of "Snow Orchid" at the Lion Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Miranda Theatre Company

Presents a Revival of:

Snow Orchid
(Snow Orchid Website)

By Joe Pintauro
Directed by Valentina Fratti

At the
Lion Theatre
Theatre Row
(Theatre Row Website)
410 West 42nd Street

With: Robert Cuccioli, Angelina Fiordellisi, Timothy Hassler
David McElwee, Stephen Plunkett

Scenic Design: Patrick Rizzotti
Costume Design: Brooke Cohen
Lighting Design: Travis McHale
Sound Design & Original Music: Quentin Chiappetta
Production Stage Manager: Sean McCain
Prop Design: Gillian Albinski
Production Manager: Kenneth Horgan
Fight Director: Joseph Travers
Assoc. Producer/Casting: Anne Berlin
Press Representative: The Publicity Office/Jeremy Shaffer
General Manager/Exec. Producer: Rachel Reiner
Marketing: The Marketing Division

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 12, 2015

A tale of a very sad family in 1964 Brooklyn has been revisited by Miranda Theatre Company, with Valentina Fratti reviving Snow Orchid. Joe Pintauro’s 1982 play about the Lazarra family, directed by Ms. Fratti, is performed at Theatre Row’s Lion Theatre, with rooms in the brownstone delineated with a bit of furniture here or there. The father, Rocco (Robert Cuccioli), returns from a longtime stint in a mental hospital, dressed in a smooth suit and hat, carrying three orchids as gifts for his wife and two sons. While he was “away”, due to ongoing domestic violence and self-implosion in a tunnel, Rocco learned to care for the fragile, white orchids from a friend. Now he returns home to care for his semi-closeted, seething gay son, Sebbie (Stephen Plunkett), his troubled younger son, Blaise (David McElwee), and his recluse, Sicilian wife, Filumena (Angelina Fiordellisi). Mother and sons have adapted to their lot, with Blaise leaving school for drugs, Sebbie (from St. Sebastiano) about to leave home for a new partner, Doogan (Timothy Hassler), and Filumena remaining indoors for years, afraid to walk into American air, on an American street, even to the church, as she sees the world through her glass window and old albums.

Unlike the vibrant By the Water, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in late fall, about a storm-battered, emotionally torn family, that managed to survive, Pintauro’s play is brutally sharp, with domestic violence flying from every corner. The only character who remains mostly calm is Rocco, who has had time to heal and practice new means of communicating. His patience is thick, although by mid-play, he appears ready to explode. Filumena has turned her older son into a private dresser (he buttons and zips her clothes); he even saves his salary at a factory and buys her a new coat and dress. She’s even turned Sebbie into a “Hollywood kisser” in one of the more disturbing scenes. Sebbie has tricked Rocco into a far more disturbing scene, with what may have been forgiveness flashing into degradation. Blaise has tried to fill the newly open void of “favorite son” by quickly maturing. Unfortunately Filumena’s inner fears are projected onto her husband, two sons, and the sadder orchids, which had arrived in colorful tissue and ribbons. Her obsession with a St. Anthony, tiny statue, becomes another source of hurt.

Valentina Fratti has directed to maximize the shock value of her new production of Pintauro’s play. Patrick Rizzotti’s sets are threadbare, to fit the intimate Lion Theatre stage, and costumes, lighting, sound, and a bit of original music are all well suited for this volatile drama. Of the five actors, Ms. Fiordellisi and Mr. Cuccioli were the most persuasive and nuanced. Yet, there’s little love lost between audience and characters, and I left with a desire to buy a snow orchid that may have a chance to actually bloom. One hopes that the fantasy sequel to this play includes a bit of air.

(l-r) Stephen Plunkett, David McElwee,Robert Cuccioli
Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel

Robert Cuccioli and Timothy Hassler
Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel

Robert Cuccioli, Angelina Fiordellisi, David McElwee
Courtesy of Jeremy Daniel

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at