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WLIW21 Celebrates Family, Tradition and Amore in THE ITALIAN AMERICANS
WLIW21 celebrates the fantastic dynamic of a distinctly Italian way of life in America in the WLIW21 production, THE ITALIAN AMERICANS.
Actors Joe Mantegna, Stanley Tucci and Kaye Ballard, author Gay Talese, comedian Pat Cooper, Mary Ann Esposito of television’s Ciao Italia, Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and others share their personal recollections and experiences in WLIW21’s tribute to Italian Americans. This one-hour program celebrates the strength, resiliency and connectedness to family and community that enabled Italian immigrant families to bring Old World values to fruition on America’s shores with extraordinary impact. From the glorious tones of the opera house to the familiar gestures that reveal a thousand words unsaid in one motion, it is most recognizable in the range of emotions and means of expression that is decidedly and distinctly Italian. As noted by Geraldine Ferraro, this passion for the possible stemmed from the sense that everyone “belonged to each other.” As Stanley Tucci describes it, “everything always came back to being Italian.” But perhaps Joe Mantegna says it best in his definition of amore in Italian families — “it’s everything, it’s what you feel about life.”
If being Italian defined a way of life for families starting out in “Little Italy”s across the country, many found their allegiance to America tested like no other group of immigrants during WWII, when buying war bonds pitted them against the Italian villages they once called home. THE ITALIAN AMERICANS explores the ties that bound generations of Italian Americans to the glory of their magnificent history and held the promise of their future — honest toil, love, devotion and, above all, la famiglia — family.
THE ITALIAN AMERICANS follows WLIW21’s critically acclaimed celebration of Jewish culture in America, A LAUGH, A TEAR, A MITZVAH, and Irish culture in America, MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU, both seen nationally on PBS. This program is funded in part by grants from Bertolli USA, Inc. and Sorrento Cheese Company, Inc.
Executive Producer: Roy Hammond
Producer/Director: Roman Brygider
Producer: Ron Rudaitis
Writer/Producer: Sam Toperoff