Brooklyn remains forever in my heart. This is the story of that city of dreams, how I grew up there. How I got out. How the place never quite left me once I got out.
~ Melvin Kapolfkis
The moment the talented Danny DiTorrice steps onto the stage he commands it. He works it with his overall sweet charm, telling funny stories and he’s pretty hard to miss in wearing shiny and colorful jackets. He’s got loads of charisma, which I’m sure, the audience secretly admires. He’s a young man with dreams and ambition on making it to the top like his heroes, Shecky Greene, Don Rickles and Don Adams. He began as a nerdy, timid little Melvin Kapolfkis and transitioned into Mel King, a Brooklynite for life, grew up in the Brownsville section, who made it to the big time. Kapolfkis/King had a lot of help in elevating his career. There was radio DJ Big Brucie, based on former radio DJ Bruce Marrow know better as Cousin Brucie, from WABC radio in New York. His annoying little sister Zoe whose faith in her older brother is insurmountable. Maxie Mordough, Brooklyn’s answer to the William Morris Agency, offers King a helping hand by booking weddings and bar mitzvahs. Gotta start somewhere! Even the neighborhood thug Vinny Scarmoochie and his minion Nicky Parmesan get in on the action.
Scarmoochie has poor Melvin be the bagman collecting “protection” money from the store owners—whether they needed it or not. Eventually, Kaplofkis as Mel King gets invited to the holy throne of comedy—a guest spot on The Tonight Show. You would think his family would be proud of him. That would be a hell no! His mother Hortense, she goes by Horty or what the neighborhood kids call her “Mamala,” wants him to marry a nice Jewish girl and live close by. His father Jacob him says that Mel is “not funny ….Funny looking? Yes. Talented Funny? No!” Mel is in a noose-tightening situation. He’s gonna need some help to escape this purgatory that’s consuming him. That’s where Big Brucie comes in and books Mel with appearances at the Catskills. From there, Mel King becomes one of the idols that he grew up imitating and worshipping.
Writer and director Mark Wesley Curran does a remarkable job in conveying an inspirational and funny story about making your dreams a reality. Di Torrice is beyond terrific in playing this role. He’s captivating to watch, who can carry a tune whether singing it or playing his clarinet. He’s already a star. Mazel tov!!
FOREVER BROOKLYN runs on Saturday nights until February 9th at 7:30 p.m., playing at The Whitefire Theater located at 13500 Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oaks. For ticket reservations call 800.838.3006 or log on to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3613939.