The Humble Early Beginnings of Saturday In The Park
STARTED OUT FOR THE STAGE
The screenplay for Saturday in the Park is based on Larry Romano’s stage play bearing the same name. Saturday in the Park was first presented as a work in progress by Anna Strasberg at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City under the title “We Ain’t Kids No More.”
The play continued to progress when it was produced Off-Off-Off Broadway in New York City, as “Suitcase of Memories.” Larry had the play produced at The Burbage Theater in Los Angeles as Saturday in the Park. The play impressed critics as a snapshot of rough urban life in The Bronx, New York circa 1986.
From The Stage To The Screen
Larry Romano has been working to bring Saturday in the Park from stage to screen for over 20 years. It has been silently nagging at him in the back of his mind, like something he forgot to do, but instead of a chore, it was a pursuit to bring Saturday In The Park alive once more. Like a doting father, he wanted to bring his baby up as best he could, then set it free to go where it may. He adapted the original three man play to screenplay including several new characters and added plot.
The concept is the same however, do you grow up and take responsibility as the world changes around you or do you just let it ride and go along to get along?
Larry had left New York to go to Los Angeles to film “Lock Up” with Sylvester Stallone and was featured as Madonna’s boyfriend in Her “Oh Father” video but soon after there was a lull and he had to return to New York. It sparked his imagination. When he returned to L.A. for a short time to stay with his brother. ” I started writing the screenplay there. I like to write scripts ‘cuz I got a lotta good stories to tell.” But the real stories are lived in New York, especially the Bronx. “It seems everybody out here is writing a movie, everybody back home in the Bronx is living one.”
“Saturday in the Park is about two guys who are lifelong buddies. One’s a guitar player and one’s a drummer. The drummer is leaving the Bronx for California, and this is their last night together in the park wherer they grew up. The guitar player will never leave the Bronx, but the drummer is looking for a new start, a chance to break away from the mean streets.”
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT MIKEY?
The first “character” you will meet in Saturday In The Park is the Bronx. The toughest of New York’s five boroughs. The crime ridden streets of the Bronx circa 1986 is perhaps more of an antagonist than protagonist in this story, however, it is the catalyst for many of the characters personalities, thoughts, morals and actions.
The principal characters are Mikey and Danny, lifelong friends who have grown up in the hard streets in a neighborhood just outside of Yankee Stadium. Danny is a drummer and is planning a trip to California. Danny has even sold his drums to raise money for the trip. Mikey, who plays guitar and is fronting a new band wants his lifelong friend to stay in the Bronx so that he might join the band.
In their interaction you can see the mean streets ebb and flow. They often discuss their bedroom triumphs and even “finesse” a friend out of his money and his watch. But the core of the conversation is about the future. Danny ponders if he can ever “make it” in New York City, and that is why he wants to try California. Mikey is staying, he is a “New York Guy.” We learn how close these two have become and how difficult the decisions they are making are.