From Brooklyn to Broadway and Beyond: JCU Welcomes Tony Lo Bianco
By Joanne Bergamin
On June 14, 2017 actor, writer, director, and producer Tony Lo Bianco gave the presentation “From Brooklyn to Broadway and Beyond” at JCU. The talk, part of the Institute for Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, covered a myriad of topics including dedication, inspiration, motivation, and overcoming fear.
Lo Bianco’s one-off appearance in Rome marked a break in the Italian-American actor’s tour of the United States giving this inspirational presentation. Brooklyn-born Lo Bianco, who has appeared in over 100 films, television programs, and stage performances, was characteristically direct with the audience: “My being here is not to make you comfortable! But in the end, if the shoe fits, I hope you wear it comfortably and completely. There’s nothing like the feeling of a new pair of shoes that you never expected to own.”
Growing up in adverse conditions in the melting pot of Brooklyn, he says, gave him the tools not just to survive, but to thrive throughout his life and he encouraged students to embrace any difficulties thrown at them and to work even harder. “Nothing is as satisfying as hard work,” he said. Everything he has achieved in life, he has fought for, learning first to fight on the street corners of Brooklyn and eventually becoming a Golden Gloves boxer. At school, a drama teacher discovered his theatrical talent and encouraged him to pursue it, thus his love for acting was born. Lo Bianco’s passion for his calling – he refuses to call it work – overflows into all areas of his life. He attributes his success to the blessings of a loving family, his Italian heritage and of course, extremely hard work.
He reminded the JCU audience of the importance of living in the moment instead of having heads bowed, “buried in the computer, iPad, laptop, cellphone, texting, tweeting, emailing, or watching television.” He asked the students, “How many hours a day do you do this? And what is it you miss the most? I’m hoping your answer will be human relations or human contact.”