Francesco Cicchella: But have you ever filled the Manzoni Theater? I do!

Thursday 25 Novemberto the Manzoni Theatre from Milanwill be staged BIS!the new show, included in the bill Laugh bigwhich sees the protagonist Francis Cicchella. It will be an opportunity to enjoy a great artist, full of energy and talent, with music, dance and imitations. A show directed by Cicchella himself who, with Gennaro Scarpato and Vincenzo De Honestis, conceived and wrote an event entirely aimed at the public that has followed him since the days of Made in South and who will now be able to applaud him also for the many surprises that will emerge.

Franesco Cicchella photographed by Marco D’Antonio

Francesco, with this BIS! you will propose your strong points in imitations, from Massimo Ranieri to Achille Lauro, but you will also find yourself trying out unpublished characters in front of a theatrical audience: a good challenge. Any sneak peeks?

As in my practice, in addition to the characters I’ve already proposed on TV and the performances I’ve already seen, I’ll reserve a large amount of new material for the public. I am exalted by the idea that whoever enters the room has an image of me and discovers many other things only during the evening, getting to know me live. I think this is the magic of the theater. I can say that there will be a hilarious parody of Tony Servillo but also many other issues in which Francesco will not have the mask and will not play the role of other artists. In this my second theater show, I tell anecdotes and play with music, my first true love from a young age, which I like to always keep at the service of laughter.

A one man show that doesn’t see you just on stage, however.

That’s right: you relive the atmosphere of a variety show a bit. There will be my loyal sidekick Vincenzo De Honestis, an eight-piece band led by Maestro Paco Ruggiero and two dancers, Naomi Buonomo and Giusy Chianese, directed by Margherita Siesto’s choreography.

Naomi Buonomo and Giusy Chianese with Francesco Cicchella. Photo by Marco D’Antonio

So in your stories there will be an autobiographical fil rouge?

Yes, somehow I confess in front of the audience, telling how I started doing imitations when I was less than three years old. I had discovered that adults laughed at what I was proposing and this excited me a lot: since elementary school, I liked to surprise them and amuse people. Then the thing got out of hand: I came to do imitations even during the questions at school!

What student were you?

Abnormal for the career that I then embarked on. Many comedians say that they did badly in school, but I graduated with honors from classical high school, but I was still one of those who made the most noise! I made them all laugh, managing to remain serious myself.

Anyone who sees one of your shows at the theater has the sensation of seeing not just one protagonist during the evening, but many personalities. Do you also feel accompanied on stage by other characters, in addition to the band and artists we were talking about earlier?

Yes, even if when I get into characters I always leave a good part of myself in them. I don’t alienate myself from Francesco Cicchella to fully enter the imitated artist: I make personal portraits of whom I choose to parody. Mine become caricatures. The spectator therefore sees many people on stage, but in each of them he always finds Francesco present. I enjoy this game on a fine line between being believable as the character but never giving myself away.

Has anyone ever been offended by the impersonation you dedicated to them?

No! (laughs, ed.). Or at least…they didn’t tell me! When I’ve met characters I’ve imitated, they’ve always given me great compliments, perhaps because I’m never offensive, I always try to be polite even when I push my joke a little more. Then, proposing above all imitations of the singers, I feel like saying that I probably do them some justice vocally too. This is my hope so I work every time to make it happen.

Cicchella in the irresistible role of Ultimo

The Teatro Manzoni in Milan is almost sold out, where Ultimo has never been. If you see him you can say: “Have you ever filled the Manzoni?”

I will do it! I am so proud of this evening in Milan and I can’t wait! We sold the last tickets just a few days ago, an immense joy.

Now touch everything you want, even what can’t be said, but if Napoli win the Scudetto this season, have you already planned something for a party that gradually seems to become more and more possible?

A few days ago it occurred to me when Checco wrote the song “We are a very strong team” and Italy won the World Cup a month later. I thought that if such a thing happens that I dare not even utter, it should be honored in the same way. Then, however, I immediately abandoned the thought: superstition took over. Now that you make me think again, I think it would be nice to have a big party in Piazza Plebisicito with all the most representative artists of our city who could share the stage. It would be the second time we deserve victory on the field, after the fabulous year with Sarri. The celebrations would last at least a week, so a whole day of entertainment would be needed, from morning to evening, dedicated to Naples. There are now few occasions in which this happens: Neapolitan artists, unfortunately, have somewhat lost the tendency to team up as once happened and still happens in other parts of Italy. Football could help bring everyone together!

Massimiliano Beneggi

Francesco Cicchella: But have you ever filled the Manzoni Theater? I do! -INTERVIEW