Is it “gravy” or “sauce?” Why do Neapolitans cut off the vowels at the end of words? And just what the heck is “bru-shetta?”
These and other long-simmering issues are placed on the front burner with They Call It Gravy, We Call It Sauce!, a traveling “musical dramedy” that camps out at Middletown Arts Center for a weekend-long engagement that begins Friday night.
Conceived and co-written by Lakewood native Lenny Gatto, the original musical tells the story of a Sicilian-American Rosa, who’s disowned by her family when she falls in love with Jewish boy Aaron and becomes pregnant out of wedlock.
Years later, the couple’s daughter, Barbara, goes in search of the blood relations that she was barred from ever knowing, with the notion of reuniting her mother with her Sicilian parents — a plan complicated by the fact that Barbara’s own boyfriend is a young man of (horrors!) Neapolitan heritage.
A clash of cultures/ confluence of flavors spiced with a score of Gatto-composed songs, They Call It Gravy… offers performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets ($25) may be reserved by calling (732) 706-4100.