Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lisa LoCicero Comes to Center City

Lisa LoCicero comes to CENTER CITY
The formidable actress is set to interpret a major role!


[Philadelphia, PA, June 18, 2018] We are thrilled to announce that Lisa LoCicero has agreed to join this exciting TV project set in Philadelphia. Lisa is no stranger to this exciting new pilot,  helping us a few years back at West Hollywood's Celebration Theater for a staged reading. Lisa led the other actors in bringing all our wonderful characters to life. If there is anyone who can carry off the ominous character of Olivia Falconeri on General Hospital it is this formidable actress. The natural beauty has been on screens big and small for more than a few years. She has been on three ABC Daytime Serials. Seems the Alphabet Network is taking advantage of a good thing.

Beautiful, sexy, but tough, Lisa LoCicero started on Loving in its final season, and then stayed with the character when the show was spun off as The City. When The City ended in 1997, she moved into film (The Family Man, Rush Hour 2) and television roles. From 2004-2007, she played the role of Maria Storm in the series Reno 911! In 2004, she also appeared on One Life to Live as Sonia Toledo Santi. In the fall of 2008, LoCicero again entered daytime as Olivia Falconeri on General Hospital. She has proven to be immensely popular with the fans.

We are thrilled to have the formidable Lisa LoCicero as part of the CENTER CITY team.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Center City: The Pitch


CENTER CITY
Giovanni Vitacolonna



Logline: A woman now finds herself in charge of a bustling downtown restaurant with her two sons as she struggles to keep her legacy alive while overcoming the dramas of her past.

Tag: “If secrets be the food of love, there’s a feast in Center City. Come hungry.”

Anna and her two handsome sons run a successful Italian restaurant on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. This is a passionate world full of warmth, food, music and a lot of history that will start to unravel and reveal the truth. Each character is a vivid piece of the puzzle. We are at a buffet table of emotions, good, bad and everything in between.

The pilot was written by Giovanni Vitacolonna and edited by David A Gregory.




  

THE CHARACTERS:

Anna Fontana De Marco: 50. AttractiveSicilian American restaurant owner of Gaetano's. Feminineyet formidable. A matriarch who loves her two sons more than anything. Opinionated and controlling yet caring at the same time. She yearns to love again. 

Marc De Marco: 30. Tall, athletic and hauntingly attractive. Appears calm and in control to the world but beneath the surface lies a tortured soul. Struggles with his homosexuality, his decision to leave the priesthood and his specific sexual proclivity. It is through the telling of Marc’s story that the Church is taken to task. Possible gay sexual nudity.
   
Domenic De Marco: 25. Italian-American. Strikingly good looking. Confident, cocky and flirtatious, but very much in love with his fiancĂ©e. Both street and book smart, he keeps his educated life under wraps so as not to distance himself too much from "the neighborhood" where his family is from, South Philly. Possible sexual nudity. 

Valerie Festa: 25. Strikingly beautiful Afro-Italian, Single mother. Very much in love with her fiancĂ©, Domenic De Marco. Her singing can mesmerize you. Positive and forward thinking despite the hardships that she has faced in life.  An activist and advocate for HIV/AIDS causes. Possible sexual nudity

Thomas "Tommy" Avalon: mid to late 20's. Handsome and athletic but the weight of his struggles are worn on his face. The sous-chef at Gaetano's but eager for more responsibility. Secretly in love with Marc. Not an alcoholic, but when we first meet him he has a reliance upon alcohol to soothe his demons. A former male prostitute. Possible gay sexual nudity. 

Nicola “Nick” De Marco (50) is a charming rapscallion once married to Anna and father to Domenic and Marc. He has a reputation for being a womanizer and an absentee father. His goal is to redeem himself to a certain extent with his family. He “sits” on many solutions to the puzzle.

Mike Sheehan: (38). Ruggedly handsome, Irish American. A charming rogue that may or may not be connected to the mob. He is a bartender at the restaurant and a former cop. His personable demeanor should not be cause to underestimate him. He has the ability to go from charming to deadly in the blink of an eye.





Marlena Hightower Festa:  50s. MajesticAfrican American woman. A doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Intelligent and outspoken, she isn't afraid of anyone...not even Anna De Marco. Her daughter, Valerie, is the pride and joy of her life. 

Gianni Festa 50s is a gentle soul and a musician. It is through him that Valerie gets her love of music. He adores his daughter and is a very protective father and adoring husband. He plays the guitar and used to tour as a folk-rock musician

Agato Terranova (55-60) is the most enigmatic of the bunch, very inscrutable and may very well be part of the mob. It behooves him to let Eleanora, his “Norina” to take center stage—that way less attention is paid to him.

Rita Avalon (50s) is from the old neighborhood. She has a history with the much younger Domenic . She is very devoted to her surviving foster son Tommy and wants to help him “rise up.” She has her eye on Mike Sheehan and, therefore, something of a foil for Anna.


Gaetano Fontana (43-50) Anna’s fraternal twin and Nick’s best friend is an artistic soul who is also an executive chef. He almost has celebrity status as the original “star” of the restaurant his disappearance and/or possible death is the trigger for the plot.

Eleanora “Norina” De Marco Terranova (47) is a generally happy and caring person, more devoted to her former sister-in-law than her own brother. She loves a good time, she is also caring and wise. Her catch phrase is ‘una calatt’ i.e. tutto in una calata  (down the hatch). Her secret: she fears her husband may have mob ties.

Enrico “Harry” Terranova: 25. Italian-American. Recently deployed to the Middle East and now back home. He is his mother’s pride and joy and confounds his father, Agato. Heis brooding but best friend to his more expansive cousin, Domenic.

Filomena DeMarco: 75. Old school South Philly matron, somewhat demented. She drinks and smokes. Something of a Greek chorus. A bit of comic relief now and then.

Jacob Scaletta (45) is for all intents and purposes a good priest who teaches at the local high school. He is a powerful, athletic man with a wrestling obsession and an erotic asphyxiation fetish. He is in love with Marc. The combination of all of the above does him in.

Joe “Jungle Joe” Avalon (deceased) is a contemporary of Marc’s. He was brought up by Rita. He worked for Agato. He is a swarthy tough guy, whose life and death touch more than one character.

Lorenzo Festa (6) is Valerie’s son, curly headed tyke who, like his mother, is Italian and Black. He is smart and something of a handful. The revelation of his paternity is pivotal for this character driven story.



Italians are the spice of life and while not everyone in Center City is Italian, it is Anna and family who are the nucleus and set the stage. The history of the Fontana-De Marcos and their network of friends and family is at the center of the story. It will provide ample opportunity for back story. Where in the world is Gaetano Fontana? Is he really dead? The answer to that question and other unresolved secrets provide a backdrop for the ensuing character driven story. “A bottle of red, a bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite. I’ll meet you any time you want in our Italian restaurant.” (Billy Joel). The tapestry of the diversity of Philadelphia culture is the backdrop for our story.

This passionate world will draw you into a complex yet endearing group of identifiable people dealing with such issues as interpersonal relationships, the hypocrisy of organized religion, gay story lines and a touch of the mob.  Anna Fontana is a South Philly girl moved uptown to Center City and Rittenhouse Square. She wants to maintain the upward mobility of her family.  Anna wants to maintain control over events and things, even those over which she has no control. While she likes to run the show, she loves her family, even those who are no longer around.


Giovanni Vitacolonna

12th & Latona Productions                                                       Telephone:  646.246.6346

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pitching Center City



In the long history of the development of Center City there existed idea of pitching it to ABC and SoapNet with Frank Valentini as the Executive Producer. Agnes Nixon's creations, All My Children and One Life to Live were based in a fictional suburban Philadelphia where the inhabitants were often going to Center City, which is what Philadelphians call their downtown area.

The critical success of General Hospital's Nightshift was the inspiration for the idea. In an earlier incarnation Center City was called Between Two Rivers. We decided to draw on the history of the wonderful characters in Pine Valley and Llanview and have them crossover to interact with the Fontana-De Marcos and other core families who live in a fictional Philadelphia.

It's unfortunate that it looks like Agnes Nixon's "stories" will be no more even in their Prospect Park forms. SoapNet, too, will be going away permanently at the end of December. We believe there is a strong, solid market for storytelling with a long story arc. While Center City is not precisely a Soap Opera in the sense of Daytime TV's "stories" it is a serial drama with a long story arc and rich back story. We're convinced there is a place for it and we continue to pitch it where we think appropriate and continue to look for "names" to attach to it. The biggest hurdles seem to be to get the right people to look at the solid pilot script and the unique story behind it.

It could also be something of a mini-series in the vein of NBC's Dracula, i.e. a series extending for ten episodes or so. The Bible is complete in the sense that we know exactly where this story is going.

The center of the action is an Italian restaurant in Rittenhouse Square. A divorced Sicilian American mother of two grown sons struggles with the disappearance of her fraternal twin and co-owner of the restaurant she now runs to keep the family legacy alive.There is a diverse cast of characters depicting the tapestry of the Philadelphia ethnic landscape. In addition to the Italian matriarch, Anna--we had fond hopes to get Annabella Sciorra involved--there is a strong Black matriarch in the person of Marlena Festa.

Our stage readings have been memorable. General Hospital's Lisa LoCicero brought Anna to life at West Hollywood's Celebration Theatre last Spring.

Our hope is to bring a "name" into the fold, especially in the characters of Anna, Marlena, Nick and Gaetano. We have some exceptional talent attached to some of the other roles. Actors love it: "I just finished Center City and I’m really impressed. Your dialogue is real and witty and often moving– it rolls off an actor's tongue. On a personal level, its so refreshing to a read an authentic story about a piece of my beloved hometown … you have juicy, interesting, three dimensional characters living in a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with me." ~ actor/playwright Mark Borkowski (Boardwalk Empire) Contact: papag at center-city.net

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Anna Fontana De Marco

My parents were from a small town in Sicily and migrated to South Philly where I was born, along with my fraternal twin, Gaetano. The restaurant they opened downtown in the Italian Market area was named after my brother and it did so well we were able to re-locate uptown to Rittenhouse Square. Now, I am the only one left of the four of us. God knows what happened to Guy. One day he walked out the door to go to the market. That was it. Gone. My sons Marc and Domenic are with me now. My former husband Nick rarely comes around and sometimes stays away for months. I used to think that when I was older, I’d know everything, I’d have all the answers. I thought when my sons would ask me, “What should I do, Ma?” I’d know exactly what to say. But nobody ever told me all the answers. They act as if they know everything, but you know how much they don’t know, because you know how much you don’t know.






On April 29, 2013 We had the good fortune of having the very talented Lisa LoCicero reading the part of Anna and showcasing CENTER CITY in West Hollywood at Celebration Theatre. It speaks well of her talent that she was able to interpret the part of an older woman. She did bring elan and panache to the reading, showcasing Anna as she ought to be.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Passion of Marc

One of the compelling storylines in the “bible” of Center City is that of former prfiest Marc De Marco. Marc left the friary where lived in common with other priests and brothers, among whom is his mentor and sometime lover Father Jacob Scaletta. His relationship with the older cleric propelled him to leave religious life and re-examine his identity as a professional Christian and a gayman. His story examines much of the hypocrisy that exists within the Church regarding sexuality.

Marc De Marco was well liked and much admired for the brief time he taught at Ascension High School run by the Ascensionist Friars. That he was a faculty advisor for the athletic department made him even more sought after by students. However, his placement on that pedestal did not make his struggles any easier. The handsome young cleric was tortured by things present and past. His personal gods showed him no mercy. In fact there didn’t seem to be much difference between the gods and demons within him.

He comes off as strong and calming, but the demeanor belies his inner turmoil.
Jacob is not about to let him go, and there is always Tommy Avalon waiting in the wings.

It is our fond hope to involve scenes with landmark Philadelphia venue the Bike Stop, a place with a rich history. It would be great to tell the story of this triangle and these three men using Philly’s well known leather/sports bar.

Pictured: David Moretti as Marc and Brian Gaskill as Father Jacob for the staged reading of Center City at Celebration Theatre 29 April 2013 in west Hollywood. David Moretti was attached to this project as Marc and Brian Gaskill was a revelation as Father Jacob


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lisa LoCicero Comes to Center City


If there is anyone who can carry off the ominous character of Olivia Falconeri it is the formidable actress Lisa LoCicero. The natural beauty has been on screens big and small for the last fifteen years. She has been on three ABC Daytime Serials. Seems at least in this case the Alphabet Network is taking advantage of a good thing. 

About.com has this to say: Beautiful, sexy, but tough, Lisa LoCicero started in daytime as Jocelyn Roberts Brown on Loving in its final season, and then stayed with the character when the show was spun off as The City. When The City ended in 1997, she moved into film (The Family Man, Rush Hour 2) and television roles... In 2001, after [the birth of her son] she took a small break, doing voice overs. From 2004-2007, she played the role of Maria Storm in the series Reno 911! In 2004, she also appeared on One Life to Live as Sonia Toledo Santi. In the fall of 2008, LoCicero again entered daytime as Olivia Falconeri, Kate Howard's cousin, on General Hospital, and has proven to be immensely popular with the fans.

We are proud to announce that the very talented Lisa LoCicero will read the part of Anna Fontana DeMarco for the staged reading of the Center City pilot.


CENTER CITY COMES TO WEST HOLLYWOOD MONDAY APRIL 29 7:00-9:00 PM



New York, New York (April 17, 2013) --12th & Latona Productions in conjunction with John Colella and Giovanni Vitacolonna are pleased to announce a staged table reading for the pilot for CENTER CITY, a television series created by Mr Vitacolonna. Actors attached to the series who will be participating are: Lisa LoCicero (General Hospital, Reno 911), Don Jeffcoat (Eagle Eye, One Life to Live), Colton Ford (Naked Fame, The Lair), David Moretti (Scrooge and Marley, The Lair), Richie Nuzzolese (Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night", Voodoo Academy 2), Danny Donnelly (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and Daphne Di Cinto (Gente di Mare).

The acting communities in Philadelphia and New York have lent overwhelming support to CENTER CITY. Now it's a great opportunity to stage our pilot in Los Angeles. This is a rich and complex story taking place in the heart of Philadelphia. The script is especially well received across the board. The reading in California will provide a focus group experience and an opportunity for potential supporters to have a first hand experience of this great character driven story. 

 - CONTACT: Giovanni Vitacolonna (papag@center-city.net 646.246.6346) John Colella (jc@johncolella.com)