Following its successful run of the dance-infused musical Chicago back in December, Pacheco Theatre Company is betting audiences still want to dance. In the figurative sense anyway.
The company shifts gear from fosse to mambo as it presents Mambo Italiano at the McManus Studio Theatre May 3 to May 12. With few actual dance numbers to speak of, the comedy is more about the complex dance between family members and cultures as a gay man comes out to his traditional Italian family in contemporary Montreal.
The action begins when Angelo, a writer, reveals to his immigrant parents that his accountant ‘roommate’ Nino is in fact his lover. Reacting in proper fashion for traditional parents, they send him to his room. Thus begins a hilarious, touching and insightful back and forth between Angelo, Nino and their families as they struggle to navigate the stigmas, expectations and choices that ensue.
Though he was eager to do the show, Pacheco says it took some time before he found the right people.
“What I’ve found over the last few years was (difficulty) finding the actors to do the show because the two leads are gay and they’re not in the closet,” he says. “A lot of actors can play ‘in the closet,’ but being out isn’t always easy to do. After having done some shows over the years I’ve been able to hone in on who could do this if I put on the show.”
That process led him to Nick D’Oria, who jumped at the chance to tackle the role of Angelo.
“I figured I might be able to bring some authenticity to the character of Angelo because I have experience coming out as a gay man to my Italian parents in Canada,” D’Oria says.
Born and raised in London, D’Oria, 29, came out to his parents when he was 23. But unlike his character in the play, there wasn’t much comedy around it at the time.