Alessandro (second from far right) won a Sudbury Celebration of the Arts Award in 2018.
“It wasn’t until recently, experiencing other cities, countries, cultures, and artists that I was able to truly appreciate the singular brilliance of our community with all its beauty, opportunity and its many challenges,” says Alessandro Costantini, who considers himself very fortunate to be an artist born and raised in Sudbury.
Alessandro appeared in the Toronto production of Dear Evan Hansen and is a member of the touring company travelling across the United States. He is also one artists working on as made-in-Sudbury musical.
He is the founder of YES Theatre, which has provided a vehicle for Sudbury artists to perform and get paid to do it. With productions of Mama Mia!, Rent, and Fiddler on the Roof – to name a few – YES is a big success.
“One common thing I hear at our YES Theatre productions is, ‘Wow I can’t believe all the talent we have in Sudbury.’
“Some of the most prominent people working in the Canadian arts and culture sector are Sudburians. Let’s continue to support these individuals, organizations, magnificent artists, so that we may continue to learn, grow, heal, question, rise up, and move forward to a more unified and beautiful life,” he says.
Over the last decade with YES Theatre, he says he has been inspired and moved by the commitment and passion of the artists and audiences.
“There is a ferocious love surrounding the work and an appetite for this local movement that centres community at the heart of the form.”
“I believe that the theatre as an art form is an instrument of civilization. It is a place of congregation. A communal space where we can be enlighten, challenged, moved, escape, our whole beings and lives can be questioned and changed. In the same piece, the same song, the same utterance or movement, it can be both escapism and a fierce weapon of justice and progression.
“As I look to the future, I see an incredible opportunity to build upon the already prosperous arts and culture community. We are city with a distinct cultural identity. The people, the melting pot of cultures and experiences create a platform for extraordinary art.
The 26-year-old is optimistic about the future of his hometown
“I envision a cultural community that is central to the city and its identity. I envision a deep understanding and appreciation for the various levels of arts and culture that contribute to a vibrant and healthy cultural ecology. I envision programming that pushes the boundaries of what we know, what we feel comfortable with, and creates an opportunity to provide local artists with bountiful work. I envision our education institutions integrating arts and culture learning in a more significant way. I see our city becoming one of the cultural cornerstones of our country.”
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.