GQ: THE ‘SOPRANOS’ CAST REUNITED IN LITTLE ITALY LAST NIGHT, AND YES, THERE WAS ZITTI
“As the groundbreaking HBO series turns 25, its stars and creators reminisced over red sauce.
Charmaine Bucco ordered a Chianti, so I ordered a Chianti.
New York, NY – 1/10/24 – The Sopranos Cast attends the 25th Anniversary Celebration for HBO’s “The Sopranos” held at Da Nico Ristorante – PICTURED: The Sopranos Cast-PHOTO by: Marion Curtis / StarPix for Max-Location: Da Nico Ristorante Little Italy Marion Curtis / StarPix for Max
To be clear, when I say Charmaine Bucco, I mean the actor Kathrine Narducci, who played restaurateur Artie Bucco’s wife in The Sopranos. We were at Da Nico, the Little Italy restaurant where the cast of the seminal HBO show had gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series premiere with a so-called “family dinner” and cocktail hour. Press was invited to the pre-party. The actual meal was private, but it did include a dish called “Carmela’s Baked Ziti,” so no one could proclaim, “So what, no f*cking ziti now?”
Narducci was one of the first to arrive and when a waiter came over and asked her what she wanted to drink as we chatted she announced she wanted a wine. No, specifically she wanted a Chianti. I copied her. Hey, it’s The Sopranos—Chianti felt right. And it did hit the spot.
Everyone from Charmaine to Janice (Aida Turturro) to Big Pussy (Vincent Pastore) to Furio (Federico Castelluccio) had gathered for the event. Series writer Matthew Weiner, who would go on to create Mad Men, mingled in the crowd. All the Steves were present: Steve Buscemi, who started as a series director before going onto play Tony Blundetto in the fifth season, showed up, as did the fedora-clad Steven Van Zandt who played Silvio Dante and Steve Schirripa, a.k.a. Bobby Baccalieri. When I caught Buscemi, I inquired whether he gets asked more about Blundetto or helming the beloved “Pine Barrens” in season 3. He pondered for a moment and concluded, “Pine Barrens.”
New York, NY – 1/10/24 – Steve Buscemi attends the 25th Anniversary Celebration for HBO’s “The Sopranos” held at Da Nico Ristorante -PICTURED: Steve Buscemi-PHOTO by: Marion Curtis / StarPix for Max-Location: Da Nico Ristorante Little ItalyMarion Curtis / StarPix for Max
Tony’s Escalade was parked outside, affixed with a ticket that I think was real. Even a real life partial building collapse down the street couldn’t stop the festivities. It was hard to have a conversation without someone interrupting for a hug or a kiss. A TV behind the bar ran clips from the show, and the walls were affixed with set photos in addition to the usual rows of celebrities who have visited the establishment.
So what does the 25th anniversary of the show that both redefined the mob drama and television at large mean to the gathered group? “I’m getting f*cking old,” Lorraine Bracco told me. Bracco—who played Tony’s shrink, Dr. Melfi— now has a shock of gray hair rather than Melfi’s brown mane. And the weight of time did hang over the event, despite all the celebration.
New York, NY – 1/10/24 – David Chase and Steve Schirripa attends the 25th Anniversary Celebration for HBO’s “The Sopranos” held at Da Nico Ristorante -PICTURED: David Chase and Steve Schirripa -PHOTO by: Marion Curtis / StarPix for Max-Location: Da Nico Ristorante Little ItalyMarion Curtis / StarPix for Max
Indeed, it was hard not to acknowledge the people that weren’t there. There were those who just couldn’t make it like Michael Imperioli and Edie Falco, but also, and more profoundly, those who’ve passed away, like Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini, who left us in 2013, and Tony Sirico, best known as Paulie Walnuts, who died in 2022.
“I talk to James,” Turturro, who played Tony’s wacky sister Janice, told me. After ordering a drink and handing me a potato croquette to eat, she continued, “I believe in that stuff, and it’s more like in my heart, I know he’s with me, like I talk to my mom and dad, and you know what? I’m like, Get me a f*cking job, James.” — Esther Zuckerman
See the article in GQ here.