A Brooklyn Love StoryManhattan Repertory Theatre, Off Off Broadway
BOTTOM LINE: A tender look at the loving relationship that develops when a 20-something granddaughter moves into the home of her nonagenarian granddad.
When Chiara Montalto was a college student in the mid-1990s, her grandmother died, leaving Pop, her grandfather, alone in his Bensonhurst, Brooklyn home. Montalto promptly moved in, becoming the cook, caretaker and best friend of the then-85-year-old retired City worker. The story of their evolving relationship — which ended in 2005 when Pop, AKA Andrew Struzzieri, passed on — is affectionately recalled in A Brooklyn Love Story. The play has gone through numerous iterations — from staged readings in 2009, to runs at The Cherry Lane Theatre in 2010 and at Los Angeles’ Theatre 68 in 2012. (The show was originally called Emergency Used Candles but the name was changed last year.) The latest version, directed by Ronnie Marmo, showcases Montalto playing both herself and her granddad. The result is humorous and poignant. And while the production is sentimental, it never lapses into the maudlin or sappy.