Update: Sudbury’s Alessandro Costantini has a starring role in Lost in Yonkers at the Jane Mallett Theatre in Toronto until June 10. He co-stars with Sheila McCarthy (Little Mosque on the Prairie) and Marion Ross, who is famous for her role as the mother on the TV show Happy Days.
Richard Ouzounian, veteran theatre critic for The Toronto Star says,” Lost in Yonkers is basically just the tale of the crusty old grandma, the grandkids who learn from her and vice versa. His lukewarm review has praise for the two grandkids played. “ Jesse Shimko has a nice cheeky charm as the younger Arty and Alessandro Costantini really knows how to hold a stage as the poor, beleaguered older brother, Jay. He’s got presence, comic timing and probably the best New York accent of the bunch.
Costantini is studying theatre arts at George Brown College.
The original Sudbury Living article
Congratulations to Alessandro Costantini who won a Community Builders Award in the Young Leader category Feb. 17, 2010. The award is presented by Northern Life.
If you haven’t heard of Alessandro Costantini yet, you will. The kid has talent. Lots of talent.
The 18-year-old actor, who has appeared in numerous community theatre productions over the years, as well as on the Sudbury Theatre Centre stage, started a theatre company earlier this year. This past summer, he produced, directed, and starred in Youth Entertaining Sudbury’s (YES) first production, Hair.
“I was listening to the musical on my way to Toronto and really liked it. I decided then I wanted to make it happen in Sudbury,” he recalls.
“When I arrived at the Toronto hotel, there was a vase with the flower from Hair in it,” he says. That was a good sign.
With a lot of leg work and paperwork, he started the year-long process to stage The Age of Aquarius musical for Sudbury audiences.
Costantini and his HAIR tribe raised $30,000 to foot the bill for the production. They knocked on the doors of local businesses and held fundraising gala at the Caruso Club.
The teenage thespian was born in 1992, shortly after his parents Irene and Filippo moved to Canada from Rome, Italy. He started performing in kindergarten, and when he was 13, he signed with his first agent.
Theatregoers will recognize him from his roles as James in the STC’s 2006 production of James and the Giant Peach. Last year he played a teenager in The Full Monty. In addition to his work on the Sudbury stage, he has had several movie roles. He appeared in Wisegal Alyssa Milano and James Caan. He belongs to the Canadian Actors Equity Association and is a member of ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists).
STC education co-ordinator Judi Straughan says she believes Constantini has all the right stuff to do well in the business.
“Working in theatre requires you to work with a group people on the same goal, and you need to be a people person and get along with others,” she explains.
The young producer asked Straughan and STC artistic director David Savoy for advice about producing Hair. “He showed up to talk to David and me with his briefcase. Told us he had met with the mayor,” says Straughan.
“I couldn’t help but feel, oh my goodness you have no idea how hard this is to do, this isn’t going to happen. Producing, raising the money, and maybe going into debt. I asked him what happens if the bills don’t get paid? He answered, ‘I guess I will have to pay them’.”
“He delivered. The first few nights, we had small audiences but word spread, and by the second week, it was hard to get tickets. The kids exploded on stage,” she says.
A graduate of St. Charles College, Costantini is considering enrolling in the fine arts program at Laurentian University. Although he realizes the opportunities are in Toronto, he’s happy to start his studies here at home.
For the time being, he has decided to take a break from school. “I decided I am going to take the year off and audition for as much film and TV work as I can down in Toronto, as well as work on YES theatre.
“I can easily get to Toronto for auditions or work. For every 20 auditions, you will get one role…Do auditions and then forget about them…You can make a good living (acting) and you don’t need to be famous.”
He enjoyed his role as producer and director, and watching his vision come to life. “I liked experimenting as the director,” he says.
He credits his supportive parents, Philipo and Irene Costantini, for his success to date.
“I have the best parents in the world. They saw my passion and got right behind it.”
What’s next for Constantini? The YES company is planning a Christmas show to benefit youth-orientated charities. A fundraising gala at the Caruso Club is in the works. YES plans to produce the musical, Rent next summer.
“It’s going to be a great year!” says Constantini.