“Mobsters and Music,” a mix of the spoken word and jazz, explores the intersection of music and the mafia. The show is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 in the Deane Center’s Coolidge Theatre at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro.
“Our show is a chronological overview of the mob in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas and Havana, Cuba,” said George Anastasia who wrote about organized crime as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1974 to 2012 and is the author of six books about the mob, from “Blood and Honor” in 1991 to “Gotti’s Rules” in 2015.
“We look at the cultural connections between organized crime and the music of the day. Our show is somewhat historical but we keep it fun and light,” said Anastasia. “Afterward, we will answer questions from the audience.”
Anastasia will recount tales of organized crime and the mob during different time periods in the 20th century, from the rise of speakeasies to casino gambling, from Al Capone to Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano.
After each tale, Denis DiBlasio, renowned jazz baritone saxophonist/flautist, and over-the-top guitarist Brian Betz will perform musical interludes of tunes popular at those times, such as Benny Goodman’s “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” and Frank Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon.”
“Mobsters and Music” came about because of the professional and personal relationships between these three men. DiBlasio and Anastasia are cousins. Betz was a student of DiBlasio’s. Today, the three teach at the same university in Glassboro, New Jersey. Betz and DiBlasio perform and record together. Anastasia attends their concerts and they attend his talks on organized crime. The three are close friends.
The audience is encouraged to bring snacks and beverages and reserve a table free of charge. For tickets and a table, call 570-724-6220 or visit www.deanecenter.com or purchase tickets at the door, if available.