Category Archives: Celebrity Interviews

Bayonne’s Tammy Blanchard in her first Disney film: INTO THE WOODS


An Interview with local actress Tammy Blanchard

INTO THE WOODS Punch, Baranski and Blanchard ,
Lucy Punch, Christine Baranski and Bayonne actress Tammy Blanchard in a scene from Disney’s INTO THE WOODS
Actress Tammy Blanchard at home before the INTO THE WOODS Premiere Dec. 8th, 2014 Photo: Ava Jean Entertainment(c)
Actress Tammy Blanchard at home before the INTO THE WOODS Premiere Dec. 8th, 2014
Photo: Ava Jean Entertainment(c)

After the presents have been opened on Christmas Day, it’s always fun to go out and catch a movie. That’s what Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Stephen Sondheim fans will be doing when the movie musical INTO THE WOODS opens nationwide on Dec. 25th.

Meryl Streep stars as the Wicked Witch and a troupe of wickedly talented stars including Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski and Bayonne’s Tammy Blanchard join her for a romp in the woods. “Be careful what you wish for” is the film’s tagline because although it’s about Grimm Fairy Tales, this is no kiddie movie. Sondheim and co-writer James Lapine have taken several fairy tale characters on loopy adventures where very adult things happen, and not every journey ends happily ever after.

Disney’s INTO THE WOODS is the filmed version of the Tony Award winning musical which debuted on Broadway in 1987 starring Bernadette Peters as the wicked witch, and directed by Hal Prince. It has been performed throughout the world, has had several revivals here and in London, and has taken almost 30 years to go from stage to screen.

During her career, Bayonne’s Tammy Blanchard earned Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for her portrayal of Judy Garland in LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND; ME AND MY SHADOWS; and two Tony Award nominations for supporting roles in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS…(with “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe) and GYPSY starring Bernadette Peters. Continue reading Bayonne’s Tammy Blanchard in her first Disney film: INTO THE WOODS

TEN INGREDIENTS: Chef Rob Burmeister Fans the Flames of Reality TV

 By Sally Deering

rob burmeister photo 2
Chef Rob Burmeister
Chef Rob Burmeister on the Food Networks CUTTHROAT KTICHEN
Far right Chef Rob Burmeister
on the Food Networks

A foodie with a gutsy attitude, Chef Rob Burmeister of Staten Island won the competition on a recent episode of CUTTHROAT KITCHEN on the Food Network when he made New England clam chowder with whipped cream and cognac. Not many chefs could stand up to the challenge, but Chef Rob’s signature cooking style – “international fusion with a hint of American comfort” suggests his versatility as a chef and now with a taste of stardom on his lips, Chef Rob hungers for his own reality TV food show.

No side dish, Chef Rob has been featured on CHOPPED, RESTAURANT STAKEOUT, THE NEXT PORK PERSONALITY with GUY FIERI, and STATEN ISLAND CAKES. He also does the Tuesday night podcast CHEWING THE FAT WITH BIG AND BEEFY with co-host Clemenza Caserta, Jr. who was featured on Season 10 of HELL’S KITCHEN with Chef Gordon Ramsey. (Tuesday nights on, 7-9 pm.)

Chef Rob is also executive chef for Harvest Café in Staten Island, a training facility/restaurant for adults with mental disabilities to learn restaurant skills to obtain work in the community.

Let’s meet Chef Rob and ask him the Ten Ingredients to his success.

RVO: Chef Rob, where you were born & raised and who introduced you to cooking?

Continue reading TEN INGREDIENTS: Chef Rob Burmeister Fans the Flames of Reality TV

LIFE AFTER SOPRANOS Actor Vincent Curatola Picks up where Johnny ‘Sack” Left Off

By Sally Deering 

On the HBO award-winning TV series THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007) it was easy to like Vincent Curatola’s character Johnny “Sack” Sacramoni, a mobster who worshipped his heavyset wife. Sure, Curatola’s character was a cold-blooded killer and he was scary to watch, but there was always a touch of humor, especially when he had to endure wisecracks about his wife’s weight. Curatola was so convincing that when Johnny Sack winced at a fat joke, the viewers did, too.

 A Jersey guy, Curatola grew up in Englewood a residential community just north of the George Washington Bridge. According to his website – – he always had the acting bug and it was his wife Maureen who encouraged him to take classes. Soon after Curatola brought Johnny Sack to life.

In the seven years since the show ended, Curatola has made a few movies, appeared in several TV shows and taught acting in New York. He recently taped five episodes as an exasperated judge on the CBS hit show THE GOOD WIFE starring Julianna Margolis. Has it been difficult for Curatola to reinvent himself after eight years in a hit series? Do all roles pale in comparison to Johnny Sack? 

On a recent afternoon, Mr. Curatola took time from his busy schedule to speak to River View Observer about what it’s like to continue his career after THE SOPRANOS.

RVO: Mr. Curatola, can you tell us a little about your background; where you grew up?

VC: I was born and raised in Englewood and I had a unique paper route on the block I lived on. My customers were Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Wilson Pickett, Lesley Gore, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughn. I used to deliver The Record. My father had a masonry business and I started one on my own in the mid-1970s, but I had fantasies (about acting). So I went to study with Michael Moriarty.

 RVO: Did you do much acting before being cast in THE SOPRANOS?

VC: Michael got me on LAW & ORDER and I wrote a one act play about a funeral guy called DEARLY BELOVED. I also did the show EXILED.

Continue reading LIFE AFTER SOPRANOS Actor Vincent Curatola Picks up where Johnny ‘Sack” Left Off

The Dead Celebrity Cookbook – Bringing Oscar Favorites To Your Very Own Party

Eat like a celebrity with the Dead Celebrity's CookbookNew York, NY, January 30, 2013 – For anyone who loves Hollywood memorabilia, is an entertainment junkie, and loves to eat and cook – they will treasure Frank DeCaro’s The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen (HCI Books). Frank compiled favorite recipes from some of Hollywood’s biggest names; including Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Sonny Bono, Liberace, Michael Jackson, John Denver, Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, Humphrey Bogart, and Peter Falk, just to name a few.
“Flip on a movie channel and get cooking! Required reading.” – Billy Heller, New York Post.
“We hear Rock Hudson’s Cannoli is delicious!” – Entertainment Weekly.
“In The Dead Celebrity Cookbook, author Frank DeCaro has collected and presented an array of recipes by beloved (and dead) stars….” –
“Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol may be gone, but their favorite dishes will never be forgotten. Try one tonight!” –
“While Halloween might come only once a year, there’s never a bad time for The Dead Celebrity Cookbook.” – Continue reading The Dead Celebrity Cookbook – Bringing Oscar Favorites To Your Very Own Party

The Play’s the Thing for Chazz Palminteri

 Popular Film Actor takes Center Stage in his One-Man Show, A Bronx Tale on Saturday, September 29th at The Harbor Lights Theater Company in Staten Island

Our River View Observer Interview with this Oscar Nominated Actor


By Sally Deering

Fans of ABC-TVs Modern Family know Chazz Palminteri as Jay’s metrosexual friend and the celebrated actor plays the recurring role with a comedic flair that keeps the audience guessing “Is he or isn’t he?”  Film-goers loved his portrayal of Customs Agent Dave Kujan in The Usual Suspects and his comedic turn as “Cheech” in Woody Allen’s film Bullets over Broadway that won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing comedy or drama Palminteri always gives a stand-out performance because he’s a risk-taker.

 On Sat, Sept. 29, Palminteri is at it again – performing live without a net – when he takes center stage at The Harbor Lights Theater Company in Staten Island to portray 18 characters – including two women – in his semi-autobiographical one-man-play A Bronx Tale. It’s a one-night stand, so to speak, and Palminteri can’t wait to perform in front of a live audience. 

 It was during his salad days as a struggling New York actor that Palminteri wrote A Bronx Tale to give himself a great role that would get him noticed – and it did. When Robert DeNiro saw him perform his show Off-Broadway, DeNiro decided he wanted to direct the film and with the proviso that Palminteri play one of the leads and write the screenplay, Palminteri and DeNiro sealed the deal with a handshake. Continue reading The Play’s the Thing for Chazz Palminteri

Peter Perrotta: The Singing Wall Street Consultant

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 Peter Perrotta, AKA Tony Roman on “Gene Simmons “Family Jewels” Keeps His Toes in Show Business and His Eyes on Wall Street

By Sally Deering

Take a drive with Peter Perrotta and he’ll sing in the car. Visit his New York office on the 50th floor overlooking Manhattan and he’ll burst into song working at his computer. Perrotta sings like some people talk – it’s a reflex, he just  can’t help himself – the guy’s a natural.

And he’s great at it, too. On a CD he recently recorded, Perrotta sings tunes from the Great American Songbook and his voice has soul, passion and ranges a couple of octaves. He can sound like his heroes Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, yet  his sound is pure Perrotta, big, robust and full of life.


Continue reading Peter Perrotta: The Singing Wall Street Consultant

Jersey City Film Producer PJ Leonard Lends a Helping Hand With The Premiere of Falling Faithful

Executiver Producer PJ Leonard
Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid!


 Film Producer PJ Leonard Rolls out Red Carpet for Little Curly Top at NYC Premier of “The Fallen Faithful”

 By Sally Deering

 Film producer PJ Leonard grew up in Jersey City at a time when mothers taught sons to do the right thing with a smack in the back of the head. He’s one of those tough-talking types with the heart of a marshmallow, like when Bogart says bye-bye to Bergman in “Casablanca.”  Bogey, too, had to do the right thing and maybe his mama cracked him good because he ended up sacrificing his only crack at freedom for the woman he loved.

fallenfaithfullposter_final-001web1 “The Fallen Faithful” is Leonard’s second crack at filmmaking as Executive Producer doing what producers do best – making a movie from script-reading to film screening. As Executive Producer of Other Side of the River Productions Leonard raises money, puts creative teams together, hires actors, negotiates contracts and scouts locations – the bim, bam, boom of movie-making. It’s also his job to get his new film seen, which is exactly what Leonard put in place for Monday, October 25th at the Director’s Guild Theater in New York City where “The Fallen Faithful” makes it’s NYC premiere. It promises to be a glitzy night with the film’s stars Sonny Marinelli and Obba Babatunde attending and one special name on the guest list that isn’t in the credits. 

maggierusso1 Meghan “Maggie” Elizabeth Russo, a curly-topped two year-old from Staten Island was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that forms in the eye. Currently in treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, little Meghan has a tough road ahead as she prepares for a bone-marrow transplant and a series of chemo. Her dad, Mike is a NYC Firefighter and mom, Mary Beth, left her full-time job to care for Maggie, her older brother Michael and baby sister Mary Kate. Keeping the family healthy and happy are Mike and Mary Beth’s number one priority, and according to Leonard, “they look like the happiest people in the world, always doing things together,” but they can use a helping hand paying for necessities like Pampers and babysitters. That’s where Leonard plays a part.


Continue reading Jersey City Film Producer PJ Leonard Lends a Helping Hand With The Premiere of Falling Faithful

Big Brother’s Enzo Palumbo -Bayonne to Hollywood with the Meow-Meow!

enzo-p-photo-3Bayonne’s Enzo Palumbo Loses “Big Brother” Cash but Keeps an Eye on the Hollywood Prize- River View Observer Exclusive Interview

By Sally Deering

Photo sent  by Enzo Palumbo

      First, an explanation of the “meow meow.” It’s like “etcetera, etcetera,” mixed with “yada yada” with a hint of “Oh yeah? What’s it to ya?” It’s also the nickname of Enzo Palumbo, a handsome, funny, “tell it like it is” insurance adjustor from Bayonne who spent 75 days as a contestant on CBS’s “Big Brother” this summer.  Let’s let Palumbo describe the “meow-meow.”

enzo-p-photo-5“Meow-meow” it stems from back in the day,” Palumbo says. “Years ago, I was with my friend and we were with two girls. One sits in the front seat with me and before I put my radio on, she farts in my car and tries to blame me. I ask her, what are you doing?  She says, ‘whatever, meow, meow. That was the end of it. Meow meow.  I’m a straight up cool cat.”

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Continue reading Big Brother’s Enzo Palumbo -Bayonne to Hollywood with the Meow-Meow!