Vito Vitale, proprietor of "Vito's Place", a once-fashionable
bar-restaurant in mid-Manhattan, NYC, is visited by Alan Craigan,
who has come to tell him he wants to marry Vito's daughter, Jennie, and to
ask for Vito's blessing. Like the widening ripples from a pebble dropped in water,
news of this impending marriage sets in motion the plans for a betrothal party,
and a circle of actions and reactions that change the relationships of everyone
affect everyone in the family
complications which take plac
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Vito Vitale, just turned 83, has been the dominant force in the lives of everyone
inhis family. A man of enormous gusto, born the poorest boy in the poorest town
in Northern Italy, he has built a small empire of influence via his bar-restaurant,
"Vito's Place", a once-fashionable watering hole for NYC' famous. Though he is a
loving man, he distrusts love, itself, because, as he says, it can hide behind many guises,
whereas fear tells you who a man or woman is, what is his or her price. This has led him
to play what he and the family call his "Money Game", which consists of putting one in or cutting
one out of his will. His operating credos are, "You take from my hand, you do as I
say" and "Do as I say and I'll make you rich". This latter saying is not an idle boast: Vito
had learned the market well and has made millions.
His family nemesis, however, is his daughter Jennie, who has not only refused
"to do as he says", she has moved out of the house long ago. Now, however,
she wants to get married in the house she was born in, before it can be torn
down by the developers who are bull-dozing the brownstones surrounding the
one in which Vito lives and which houses the latest version of "Vito's Place".
to get her wish, she has to ask Vito for permission to hold the wedding there.
How she is to get her wish without knuckling under to Vito, sets up the contest
of wills that takes place at the Party For Lovers - the gala that Vito holds to celebrate
ADAPTED FROM "A PARTY FOR LOVERS"
(c) 1982 Kevin O'Morrison
(VITO VITALE'S MASTER BEDROOM IN A NYC'S EAST FIFTIES BROWNSTONE, HREE STOREYS ABOVE THE LANDMARK BAR-RESTAURANT VITO RUNS WITH HIS SON, MANO. IT IS EARLY MORNING. FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY, 1973, THE DAY AFTER VITO'S 83RD BIRTHDAY. VITO COMES STRAIGHT OUT OF YOGA MEDITATION TO RAIL AT THE ENCROACHING WORLD OUTSIDE HIS WINDOWS)
VITO: Vandals! Destroyers! Hypocrite Real Estate Developers! Tear up West
Fortyeight' Street, I move "Vito's Place" West Fifty Second Street. Tear up West
Fifty Second Street, I move "Vito's Place" East Fifty Five Street. How many time
you think can make happen new "Vito's Place"! A restaurant is not just "own it" -
to give life, must make happen! Last night I am 83! (disgust) Why I tell
you this, you not care. Nobody care! You think Vito old - can not defend self.
(rises in rage) I show! (beat) But what I do? What best for family.
(addresses books in bookshelf respectfully, as if each is the author, himself)
Signor Croce. Signor Leakey. Signor Russell. Signor Zeno. Signor Shapley.
Signor Shaw. (he dips his head to them in respectful bow) You tell world
how is. Tell me: what I do? (holds up restraining hand) Do not tell me do
what can not do. When I am boy in Sabbia - this is where I am born, Italia - I have
nothing. Not little - nothing! Hunger is in belly there can never be food for - see
something, anything, I want! I want, I get! I get - (dismay) - can not let go.
(earnest) You understand? Have family - am same man - (appeals to books again) -
can not let go. Is more than just - "be reasonable". I know self. I let go one thing -
(reaches for way to say it) - is -- like pull thread in sweater. (he has the word, now) -
Unravel! No use to anybody. Die, even. Sometime - think die not so bad - (waves
hand in sudden scorn at thought) I am man! Cannot abdicate. Have obligation.
(beat) Oh, I tell you - each day I live he is one son of a bitch!