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Actor Steve Schirripa on his sports history, 'Sinatra Meets The Sopranos' & more

Steve Schirripa
Steve Schirripa
Modified 07 Feb 2019

When you ask a New Yorker about the greatest television shows of all time, odds are that The Sopranos will be named within a matter of seconds. While the series stopped making new episodes more than a decade ago, most of the Sopranos cast members continue to work steadily, and Steve Schirripa is one of the prime examples of that.

Beyond being part of the cast of the hit CBS crime-drama Blue Bloods, Schirripa has worked steadily as a producer, author and voice artist. He also has his own line of organic, vegan pasta sauces under the business name of Uncle Steve's Italian Specialties Group. The Brooklyn native also has dozens of Tonight Show appearances under his belt.

Merging together the old and the new, Steve Schirripa will be performing as part of Sinatra Meets The Sopranos at New York's NYCB Theatre at Westbury on May 4th. The Sopranos stars will be seen alongside Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), Vincent Pastore (Sal Bonpensiero), Michael Martocci and host/comic Joey Kola.

The Sopranos actors will be telling stories and answering audience questions about the acclaimed David Chase series while Martocci will be performing actual charts from Frank Sinatra's conductor and musical director Vincent Falcone.

Below are some of the sports-related highlights from my phone chat with Steve Schirripa, while the full chat will be appearing later on the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz.

Before The Sopranos, I know that you had a past as a competitive athlete. You were a great basketball player, right?

Steve Schirripa: I played basketball in college, a long time ago and a hundred pounds ago. (laughs) But yeah, I played basketball in college and played the [Madison Square] Garden in my senior year. I played for Brooklyn College three years and that was a big part of my life at one time. Sure thing.

I saw that you had been part of TNA Wrestling for a storyline. Was that enjoyable?


Steve Schirripa: Oh listen, there are certain things that you get offered, you know? Especially coming off The Sopranos, you know, how many times am I going to get a chance to do this? (laughs) So I went down to Florida and I was part of that wrestling team and it was just a lot of fun. But the guy did tell me, "Listen I'm gonna swing, make sure you duck." It was a real swing. It ain't make believe! (laughs) You're gonna get hit, you know. So that was a lot of fun.

But, fortunately, you didn't get hit.

Steve Schirripa: Nah, I didn't get hit. So that was a lot of fun. There are a lot of things like that where you get a chance... I impersonated [New Jersey governor] Chris Christie at the Night Of A Thousand Stars at the Beacon [Theatre in New York] with an all-star cast. Another time we did songs for West Side Story with the cast of The Sopranos and Tony Danza and Jesse [L.] Martin. It affords you a lot of opportunities.

Most of the things I really enjoyed, so I took advantage... Throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium or at Wrigley Field or stuff like that. There are certain things where you go, "You know this is pretty cool. How many chances are you gonna get to do this?"

Published 07 Feb 2019, 10:43 IST
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