Gargiulo Ferri Calabretta

Natasha Gargiulo (right) with Claudia Ferri and Tony Calabretta.

I think it is safe to say that so many radio listeners miss the voices of Natasha Gargiulo and Freeway Frank since they were let go last summer by Virgin Radio. But for the past week and until Jan. 26 fans can see Natasha up close and personal in her new role as an actress in the presentation of The Glam Mothers at the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre.

Written by Tony Calabretta and directed by Antonio DiVerdis, audiences are already eating up this hilarious and heartwarming comedy-drama about family life. There is laughter, a few tears, and plenty of glamour and bling when two gorgeous grandmothers, who are “frenemies,” step into their stilettos and come together for the sake of their loved ones.

The stellar cast includes Calabretta, Gargiulo, Claudia Ferri, Tony DeSantis and Hudson’s Brittany Drisdelle, a native Montrealer. Veteran music producer and highly acclaimed filmmaker Antonio DiVerdis is the director.

Gargiulo is proud of her West Island roots and shares this story. “My father went for a drive with his best friend when they were living on Marquette Street near Little Italy,” she says. “At that point I hadn’t been born. But when my dad drove to the West Island with his buddy to see some new home developments on Grilli Street in Pierrefonds, he made the decision that the suburbs was a great place to raise a family while he drove every day to work to and from the East End .

“I have great memories of growing up in the West Island, nothing better than endless summers days and nights spent playing outside with friends on the street and at parks. I never went to summer camp; my mom was more of a ‘go outside and play and come home for lunch person.’ That is very different from my daughter’s life today.”

A graduate of Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, Gargiulo says she was very involved with everything from the variety show to the year book. “I competed as cheerleader for the North Shore Lions and Mustangs for four years,” she recalls. “We won every provincial championship competition.”

From Pierrefonds the family moved to Kirkland “and that is where I started to dance and act for five years with The Becket Players Way Off Broadway shows.That was my first introduction to musicals and plays and the organizing committee will have have a place in my heart. My first job was at 15 years old working as a cashier at Cavallaro in The Marche de L’Ouest. Then I Worked at Fairview Shopping Centre during my last years of high school and first year at Vanier College. It was part time work, and Fairview was the regular after school hang out.”

Gargiulo did end up moving to the Plateau for a couple of years, but she soon returned to the West Island with her daughter. She is making her theatrical acting debut as “Maria,” a role she admits has pushed the media personality out of her comfort zone and into a newfound love of the arts

As for Drisdelle, she grew up in Hudson where she attended both elementary (Mount Pleasant) and high school (Westwood Senior). She studied social sciences at Marianopolis College before moving to New York City to study theatre. There was a stint in Toronto. She still likes to hike and cross country ski in Hudson. Her fiancé is from Pointe Claire. She wants to thank the producers for entrusting an Irishwioman to bring out the very best of an Italian character named Vanessa. The LDV Centre is located on Lacordaire. Info: www.cldv.ca.

BRYAN BAYNES RETIRES: Pierrefonds native Elysia Bryan Baynes will “retire” next week at the age of 38 from Global TV. Find why on my blog.

Something to share? Email mcohen@thesuburban.com, follow me on Twitter @mikecohencsl and on our blog section at www.thesuburban.com

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