Every so often a new face lights up Broadway. Christiani Pitts happens to be one of those new faces. As Jane in “A Bronx Tale,” Pitts, whose considerable talent matches her striking beauty, offers a compelling performance in her Broadway debut. Under the direction of Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks, Pitts and a strong cast of accomplished actors take you into a world of mobsters, love and betrayal. With her endearing stage presence and a powerful, melodic singing voice, Pitts captivates the audience.
The talented creative team behind the musical reads like a veritable Who’s Who of film and theater. Written by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, with songs by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken and three-time Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater, “A Bronx Tale” is the perfect blend of musical nostalgia and fast paced dialogue.
BELLA NYC recently spoke with Pitts.
What’s it like to be making your Broadway debut?
It is absolutely awesome, like a dream come true. I saw “Lion King” on Broadway when I was nine and ever since then I dreamed of being on the stage. I realize how blessed I am to have this opportunity and so I never take a moment of it for granted.
Where does your powerful singing voice come from?
As a young girl growing up in Decatur, Georgia, I sang in the church choir. Southern Baptists are known for their singing so there was a lot of pressure to do well. The choir had some of the best vocal coaches imaginable, so I learned an awful lot about singing with passion from them. I later honed my vocal techniques while attending Florida State University while receiving a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts.
How did you land the role?
When I first auditioned there were lots of actors vying for various roles, but after a few weeks they narrowed it down to a few. I actually couldn’t attend the final call back due to a situation beyond my control, but Chazz Palminteri was kind enough to see me audition the next day and offered me the role of Denise on the spot. Eight months ago I took over the role Jane.
Describe the relationship you have with the cast.
Everyone is so supportive of each other, and even the legendary creative team treats everyone as equals. It’s like one big happy family in a very open environment. The directors always put the cast at ease.
How do you like New York City?
It’s like a mythical dream land that never gets old. While growing up in the south for most of my childhood I only heard about New York with its skyscrapers and bright lights.
Do you have plans for the future beyond this show?
I have been offered a major role of Ann in the upcoming Broadway production of “King Kong” which previews on October 8. I am thrilled to be part of this new musical as there are many similarities between Ann and my current role as Jane.
What do you do in your spare time?
Since coming to New York I’ve begun to take yoga lessons which really helps alleviate some of the tension that comes with performing eight shows a week. I also enjoy trying different restaurants for dinner.