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Thursday, June 4, 2020

‘Blue Bloods,’ ‘Sopranos’ star Steve Schirripa on His Jewish Roots and Kosher Sauces

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When you talk about the greatest television shows of all time, odds are that “The Sopranos” will come up in that conversation. While “The Sopranos” has not produced a new episode in more than a decade ago, many of the “Sopranos” cast members continue to work steadily, and Steve Schirripa is clearly one of them.

Beyond being part of the cast of the CBS hit “Blue Bloods,” Schirripa has found success as a producer, author, voiceover artist and show creator. Schirripa also has his own line of organic, vegan (and kosher) pasta sauces, Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties Group. The Brooklyn, New York native also has dozens of “Tonight Show” appearances under his belt.

Bringing together the old and the new, Steve Schirripa will be performing as part of “Sinatra Meets The Sopranos at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, New York on May 4. Schirripa will be appearing alongside Michael Imperioli (“Christopher Moltisanti”), Vincent Pastore (“Sal Bonpensiero”), singer Michael Martocci and host/comic Joey Kola.

The “Sopranos” actors will be telling stories and answering audience questions – as moderated by Kola — about the acclaimed David Chase series while Martocci will be performing actual charts from Frank Sinatra’s long-time musical director Vincent Falcone.

Below is a snippet from my January 2019 phone chat with Steve Schirripa, while the full chat will be appearing next month as part of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast.

Jewish Journal: Not everybody realizes that you’re part-Jewish. Were you bar mitzvahed?

Steve Schirripa: No, I was not bar mitzvahed. My mother was Jewish so I had a whole Jewish side of the family. My mother’s maiden name was Bernstein. My grandmother’s name was Moskowitz, so I know all about that world. So I was raised Catholic, but I very much identify as being Jewish as well. I had all kinds of aunts and uncles and I had the best of both worlds.

JJ: Are there any projects or events that I didn’t touch upon that you’d like to mention?

SS: I’m hosting the Garden Of Laughs. It’s a charity event at Madison Square Garden. Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart and Brian Regan… It’s April 2. It’s the third time I’m hosting that, that’s for charity, the Garden Of Dreams Foundation. All the money goes for kids in the Tri-State area .

JJ: Finally, Steve, any last words for the kids?

SS: My thing is, “Listen man, stay the course.” Try to do something that you like. It doesn’t come right away. Listen… I never had any dreams of being an actor until I was in my mid to late 30s. It came out of nowhere. It wasn’t a dream that was simmering. So you never know where it’s going to take you, you know?

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