Massimo Cannistraro, Ste-Rose actor/comedian performs in ‘Guys and Dolls’
Local fans of stage musicals have until October 28 to catch a performance by a fellow Laval resident who is performing in the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts’ opening production for their 2012-2013 season of the classic Broadway musical Guys and Dolls.
Born in Vimont and now residing in Sainte-Rose, Massimo Cannistraro plays Big Jule in the Tony Award winning musical set in the gritty streets of 1940s New York, which was inspired by the mythical short stories of iconic American author Damon Runyon.
Guys and Dolls, which was turned into a movie during the 1950s starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, tells the converging stories of big city rascal Nathan Detroit and notorious high-roller Sky Masterson. With all of the hottest gamblers in town, Nathan Detroit is desperate to raise some cash to keep his infamous floating craps game going.
In January it will be 13 years since Massimo (who likes to be billed by his first name only) became involved in acting as well as stand-up comedy. He’s now considered one of the staple stand-up comedians in Montreal.
“When I was younger I did stand-up comedy, but I also wanted to get into acting or some kind of stand-up performing,” he said in an interview with the Laval News. “When I finished high school I wanted to go into fine arts. I did a lot of oil painting of canvas. A lot of abstract.”
After high school he attended Concordia University, although he was still unsure what path he would follow in life. At one point he decided just to concentrate on stand-up comedy. Since then, he’s done some stage acting, television, and the Just for Laughs Festival here in Montreal.
On the subject of stand-up comedy, Massimo has no fixed idea as to what can be potentially funny. “It’s usually more of a storyteller approach,” he said. “I talk about men and women. I talk about my family.
“I talk about my Italian upbringing. I talk about TV shows or songs. I don’t really have one subject. Some comics do a lot of relationship material. It’s basically whatever I think is funny at the time. To me the entire world is funny.”
Keeping it fresh
While stand-up comedy often looks spontaneous, according to Massimo it tends more often to be scripted and very exact, “but you do it in a way that it looks spontaneous. But I’m always running new material. So for me that’s how I always keep it fresh. If it’s not a new joke, then I’m adding something new to an already-existing one or making it tighter and better.”
Performances of Guys and Dolls are being given at the Segal Centre on Côte Ste. Catherine Rd. in Montreal on Mondays and Thursdays in the evening, with early afternoon performances Saturdays and Sundays. Additional information is available at the centre’s web site: www.segalcentre.org.