It's an Italian Thing. No, It's a Black Thing, a comedy which takes a dramatic turn, centers around Frankie, a middle-aged Italian-American trans woman who is faced with a touchy situation. She must meet Winnie, the African-American mother of Frankie’s younger girlfriend, Tanasia. Despite Tanasia's reassurances, Frankie is worried that Winnie will have serious issues with her gender, age and race. Frankie's brother, Jimmy, in his old-fashioned approach to relationships, first suggests Frankie bring a homemade chocolate cake and subsequently, a meat lasagna. But the encounter isn’t all smooth sailing!
Meet the Cast:
Amelia V. (Mimi) Anderson (WINNIE) has performed in many way Off Broadway productions. With the Black Orchid Theatre Group, she was member of the Chorus in The Libation Bearers, a Fury in Eumenides, the Cappodician in Salome Reversed, and the confused but loveable Mrs. Frencham in Not Now, Darling. Characters that evolve or are not who they seem to be are great challenges to her and she found them in Morning’s at Seven, The Cemetery Club and Steel Magnolias with The Snarks and as the slightly weird but knowing housekeeper in Any Number Can Die with the Amateur Comedy Club. It all started with Triangle Theatre where she performed in Ancestral Voices, Doubt, Relative Values, and Light Up the Sky. She also played Dorrine in Tartuffe with Triangle and then reprised the role with The Snarks. Performing with the St. Jean’s Players she got to practice her Irish accent playing the role of Mrs. Donohoe in The Workhouse Ward by Lady George and then took a comedic turn in The Man Who Came to Dinner as Miss Preen. She has lent her voice and played the witch Baba Gaga in an animated short and has belted out “When You’re Good to Mama” on quite a few stages and “I’m Growing Older” at Club Cumming. She finished filming a horror movie, Love Bites, in which she played the psychiatrist.
Tamika A Haywood (GLADYS) was born in Brooklyn, NY but raised in Queens, NY, an only child. Tamika surrounded herself with music. Listening to her mother play the songs of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and James Cleveland had a strong influence on her musical taste. Those different styles of music as well as a strong presence in the church helped to shape Tamika as a singer as well as a person.
A shy child, she learned to express herself through song. Singing her first solo in church at the age of 10 she would soon learn the power of praise and worship. As strong soprano she would discover the true power of not only her voice but of music. Tamika’s love of all types of music grew as she studied at the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and of the Performing Arts in Manhattan, NY. There she would discover her true love of gospel music. As a member of their gospel choir she would sing background for Natalie Cole and Bishop Hezekiah Walker. It was not long before she would hear the call of the stage. She served as understudy for an Off- Broadway production of Hairspray. She would then go on to work on several theater company productions. In 2014, she would enter the Guinness Book of World Records as a member of the McDonalds Gospel Super Choir. With the choir she has gone on sing background for such artists as Shirley Caesar, Cissy Houston, Jennifer Holiday, Vickie Winans, Yolanda Adams , Fantasia, Melba Moore , Bishop Hezekiah Walker and Lady Tramaine Hawkins.
In 2017, she starred in the production of In Name Only as a member of the Christian Drama Workshop. Prior to the pandemic, Tamika lent her talent to several local bands On Point and Smooth out of Brooklyn, Friends & Strangers in Long Island. Since the entertainment world is starting to open again, Tamika has worked as cast and extra for several new projects and is currently working on a recording with a local ensemble group.
Fran Sisco (FRANKIE) is an award-winning actor, entertainer, and transgender female advocate and activist for Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Her community theater stage work includes roles in the musical “Mame” with Harrison Players, in the play "Used" at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC, showcase presentation scenes and workshops with Axial Theatre, Ossie Davis Theatre, and with the Brazen Giant Ensemble at Players Theatre, and in a virtual show called "An Evening of Shakespeare" with Chill Bucket Productions and a virtual show called "An Evening of Quentin Crisp" at the Gene Frankel Theatre, NYC. Fran has sharpened her acting skills via intensive acting classes and workshops with Vincent Pastore and Maureen VanZandt at HB Studios and Vince Curatola in Nyack and New Jersey, and Peter Von Berg at Episcopal Actors Guild in NYC. Fran has appeared in over 100 cabaret and comedy shows, including as a member of The Imperial Court of New York.
Fran's work in films include IMDb award-winning short films Happy Trans Girl Like Me, Being a Trans Girl, Stonewall Thanks!, Awakening Arlene, The Lady Yang and Invisible and an MNN comedy sketch show. Fran has also served as host, emcee, spokesperson, and interviewer at film festivals & showings, art shows, and plays.
Gene DiNapoli (JIMMY) although a newcomer to the acting world, Gene has been entertaining people for over 41 years’ since when he first stepped onstage at the age of 14 to perform some Elvis Presley classics to the delight of the audience. It was that night that Gene realized he wanted to be an entertainer to spread joy, good feeling and of course make a living. For close to 30 years Gene concentrated on his Elvis tribute show which took him all over the United States. Then adding a tribute to The Blues Brothers gave Gene an extra punch to offer people. Gene sprinkled in gigs where he does Doo Wop, Pop, Disco and Standards from the 50’s thru the 80’s.
Fast forward a few years and Gene was asked to do a small part in a YouTube video and the Producer is floored with Gene’s chemistry and tells him to contact an agent in the city and that she might have something for him. Well, Gene calls, auditions, and beats out 5,000 guys on both coasts to be cast in a docudrama called Kingpin which has Gene fly to Bogota, Columbia South America for 13 days. Not bad for a first timer. After a few TV Docudramas and a play, where Gene received great reviews, more will follow; you can be sure of that as there is no stopping him in his quest to keep on entertaining people.
For more on Gene and to see his upcoming shows and projects, head to www.genedinapoli.com
Alyssa Palmigiano (ANGELA) is a New York City based actress. She graduated in 2020 from Hofstra University with a BFA in Theatre Arts Performance and a minor in Musical Theatre. While at school, she got to perform as Olivia in Twelfth Night and Sybil In Noel Coward’s Private Lives. She is so excited to return to live theatre again for the first time since the pandemic! “Thank you to Chill Bucket Productions and everyone involved! I’m so happy to have the opportunity to work with you and create art again!”
Tahyira Savanna (TANASIA) is an actor, producer, screenwriter, and lyricist from Brooklyn, NY. She creates and performs her music underneath the moniker ‘Tee Slaves’ . Tahyira has been working in tv and film for over ten years. She started as a talent manager back in 2011 in New York City and produced her first feature length documentary entitled New Minds In New York in 2012. In 2017 she moved to Hollywood garnering credits with CBS appearing on an episode of Let’s Make a Deal where producers told her “she had something special”. Since the pandemic she has returned to her first love, screenwriting, and has produced 3 pilot packages and 2 spec scripts which she hopes to pitch in 2022. Her passions includes performing arts, activism, and having fun. Her Instagram is @iletthegoodtimesroll and she owns that handle with pride.