Antoinette LaVecchia

HOW TO BE A GOOD ITALIAN DAUGHTER (IN SPITE OF MYSELF)

A one-woman show that examines the hysterical and universal struggles between an immigrant Italian mother and her Americanized daughter.

Antoinette was born in a small village in southern Italy in which most of her relatives still live.  Her parents emigrated to the United States when she and her brother were toddlers and settled in the Northeast on a large private estate along the water where her father found a job as a caretaker.  As the only girl growing up there, she spent a good deal of her childhood roaming the estate by herself and nurturing her imagination.

She studied English Literature at Cornell University and then pursued her MFA at NYU's Tisch Graduate Acting Program.  She also received a certificate of study from the Moscow Art Theater, and in London, received a Fox Fellowship to study with members of Theatre de Complicite and Philippe Gaulier.  As a professional actress, she has worked on and off Broadway, at major regional theaters and appears regularly on television and film.  She was  named BroadwayWorld.com’s 2012 CT Best Actress for I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI at Hartford TheaterWorks and also won Connecticut Critics Circle Award and Urban Stages’ Award for Valuable Contributions of Italian-American Artists to New York Theatre.

She began writing in a performance class led by E. Katherine Kerr.  She always knew that she wanted to write a piece about the struggles between her immigrant Italian mother and her Americanized self.  In this workshop setting, Antoinette found the freedom to write on her feet and to explore this theme from every possible angle.  She was able to present the piece in its many stages of development to colleagues and friends over many years thanks to the Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival, Urban Stages, the Midtown International Theatre Festival, NYU's Graduate Acting Alumni Benefit and the Perry Street Theatre, until she found the strongest collaborative team and presented it off-Broadway at The Cherry Lane in 2009.  She was awarded the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust Grant to further her development as a writer/performer.

As a teacher and director, Antoinette co-directed and co-created a theatrical piece with 40 HIV+ orphans, ranging in age from four to fourteen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through Dr. Jane Aronson’s Worldwide Orphans Foundation. The performance took place May of 2006 at The National Theatre of Ethiopia to a standing-room only crowd which included members of the Clinton Foundation.  The experience was inspirational, life-changing and filled with a tremendous amount of love and generosity. Her journals of the experience were published in the Teaching Artists Journal (TAJ.)  Antoinette was also an adjunct Professor at NYU’s Graduate Acting Program for seven years. At NYU Grad, she taught Theatre Games and co-founded the advanced workshop, “Kinetics of Literature,” which challenges actors to create visceral theatre inspired by great literature, movies and art. She co-founded NYU’s Alumni Lab in which she and James Calder worked with NYU’s Graduate Acting alumni, helping them to create and work on original material. Antoinette also co-taught and co-directed NYU undergraduate theatre majors in the basics of Commedia dell’Arte with James Calder at La Pietra (NYU) in Florence, Italy and, at the New York Institute of Technology, she taught undergrads “How to Direct Actors.”  Antoinette has also taught various classes at J. Michael Miller’s The Actor’s Center where she was a Teaching Fellow. Her independent Improvisation workshops include teaching at Chamber Music America’s 2002 national conference, teaching master classes to high school students from across the country and teaching senior citizens as a visiting artist at SAGE in Astoria, Queens. Antoinette’s one-on-one coaching includes working with actors in the Broadway production of ENCHANTED APRIL on their Italian dialects, and also coaching actors preparing to audition for graduate programs and professional employment.

Antoinette is a Drama League Directing Fellow and assisted Jerry Zaks on the Broadway revival of THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER starring Nathan Lane.

She is proud to come from a long line of storytellers in Italy, and is thrilled to continue that tradition here in the States.