NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 9:42 PM
“Sopranos” starring (from l.) Vincent Pastore, Michael Imperioli, James Gandolfini, Steve Van Zandt, and Tony Sirico.
The real-life “Sopranos” crew is having a family reunion.
More than a dozen actors who made their bones on HBO’s classic mobster saga — most of whose characters ended up sleeping with the fishes — are together in two separate projects this week.
On Monday night, Vinny Pastore, who played soldier-turned-snitch Salvatore (Big Pussy) Bonpensiero, is hosting a benefit stage show at the Cutting Room in Midtown that features seven “Sopranos” alumni, including Steven Van Zandt, aka Silvio Dante, Tony Soprano’s loyal consigliere.
And opening Friday for a limited run is “Friends and Romans,” a charming indie comedy about a group of Italian-American actors who keep getting typecast as gangsters. It features eight “Sopranos” cast members, including Michael Rispoli (ex-boss Jackie Aprile Sr.), Tony Sirico — sociopathic capo “Paulie Walnuts” — and Annabella Sciorra, one of Tony’s many mistresses.
Vinny Pastore is hosting a benefit stage show at the Cutting Room in Midtown that features seven “Sopranos” alumni.
Rispoli says it’s hardly a coincidence such a large number of actors from the show are working together more than eight years after “The Sopranos” ended its six-season run in 2007.
“It’s like a brotherhood,” says Rispoli, whose character met a rare nonviolent death — he succumbed to stomach cancer early in the series.
“A lot of the guys knew each other for years before (“The Sopranos”). We’d see each other at the same auditions and movie sets; we were doing Off-Broadway at the same time. And then when that show hit, it was great because suddenly all these guys’ faces became known. They were all terrific talents who got the chance to blossom.”
That includes Pastore, who left his mark on “Sopranos” lore despite only appearing as Big Pussy on the first season, when his torment over betraying his New Jersey crime clan led to a watery grave at the hands of his former friends.
“Everyone knows who we are,” because of the show, says Pastore, who recently played a singing gangster in the musical version of Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway.”
Pastore is using the friendships forged on “The Sopranos” for a good cause. Monday’s theater event is a fund-raiser for the family of Jack Ferry, a firefighter and actor who died this year from a stroke at 45.
All proceeds from the show, which includes live music along with Pastore and pals performing scenes from plays, go to a college scholarship fund for Ferry’s young son, John.
“All I had to do was ask,” says Pastore about getting his former castmates to participate. “We’ve stayed together over the years.”
For Rispoli, working with some of his old friends again in “Friends and Romans” was one of the best times he’s had on a set, even if the reunion stirred memories of the late James Gandolfini, whose portrayal of conflicted mob boss Tony Soprano was the heart and soul of the series.
“Jimmy was a huge presence for everybody associated with the show,” says Rispoli. “There is not a time when the show is discussed, or when that time is remembered, that James is not missed.
“Yes, there is a large-hearted piece missing from the whole equation.”