The one woman show, Italian Bred, now enjoying a run at the Hudson Theatre, lives up to its name. It is an autobiographical journey, written and performed by the ever charming, witty, and beautiful Candice Guardino. A niece of veteran Hollywood actor Harry Guardino, show biz is obviously in the family blood. Hailing from the self described ‘forgotten borough’ of Staten Island, Guardino describes her former stomping grounds as a “neighborhood where every guy is named Vinnie, Anthony or Joey.”
Candice tells her incredible story of love, life, and growing pains, as she creatively dons props and costumes, portraying her mother, father, grandmother, and sister, each one with a distinct persona. Church was obviously a central landmark for this passionate Italian Catholic family, yet independence was also highly touted. States her grandma (always with a cigarette dangling,) “forget about the knight in shining armor on a white steed; if you want to get married, buy your own dress.” One poignant line (in typical Sicilian fashion) was uttered by Candice’s father: “even though the goings on may be catastrophic, repeat to yourself – I know nothing; I do nothing.”
One stereotypical yet hysterical sketch portrayed the grandma, boasting that her “sauce would save the day.” Clearly her language was as spicy as her famous meatballs. A life lesson she imparts to young, impressionable Candice: “if men don’t behave, grab ’em by the balls.” From a very young age, Candice, the ever aspiring actress, attended Broadway shows with her grandma, piquing her interest in the great Gene Kelley, in favorites like On the Town, An American in Paris, and Singing in the Rain.
A very powerful scene was during Candice’s college audition, where she belted out “On My Own,” quite the tearjerker, leaving the audience entranced. Strong and resilient, Candice, at show’s end declares, “when life throws you curveballs, bend and accept it.”
Italian Bred is playing at the Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. For more information, visit www.italianbredshow.com.