Once Upon A Time In New Jersey is an Off-Broadway and Regional Theater Musical taking place in 1950s Hoboken. It was written by Susan Di'Lallo and music by Stephen Weiner.
Vinnie Lo'Bianco is a sweet nerd who works in his mother's deli with his best friend/crush Angie. The only problem is that she only has eyes for Vinnie's cousin, the local playboy, Rocco. But of course Rocco only has eyes for any girl with a pulse. Soon, Rooco's inability to control his libido leads to trouble when he has an affair with Celeste Castiglione, the wife of Billy, a local mobster. Billy, finds out and calls out a hit on Rocco. Rocco finds out and decides to go into hiding, but needs to keep up his reputation around town, so he convinces Vinnie to disguise himself as Rocco. Because Vinnie sees this as a chance for Angie to love him, he agrees. What follows is a series of mistaken identities, weird pick-up tips, and a lot of fake Italian. Naturally, hilarity ensues.
Includes examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Angie towards Rocco; Celeste towards Billy and Rocco; pretty much every girl except Mrs. Lo'Bianco towards Rocco. One of the Ettas even winds up with Ed Vendetta at the end.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Rocco's epic opera-styled song "Quando Scungilli" runs on this trope and Gratuitous Foreign Language. He even Lampshades this when he asks Angie if she speaks Italian, after she says no he starts singing. Its Awesome.
- Anti-Love Song: Angie sings a song called "Someone that I Hate." Its Angie lamenting about how she can't stop loving Rocco, even though he's a jerk. So it could also count as an attempted Break-Up Song
- Cannot Spit It Out: Vinnie can't tell Angie he loves her until he is dressed up as Rocco, so of course she thinks that means Rocco has changed...
- The Casanova: Rocco is so over the top he's done it with almost every girl in town, a bunch of female celebrities of the 50s, and even Eleanor Roosevelt!
- Clark Kenting: Vinnie as Rocco and Rocco as Lou. Even though his disguise is even worse, he acts like a complete nerd and even changes his voice, unless he's talking to girls, then he tries to act like himself, but his disguise makes him seem like just a lame Casanova Wannabe instead.
- Crowd Song: Many, including such gems as Quando Scungilli, The Floor of the Deli, and of course Once Upon a Time in New Jersey.
- Final Love Duet: "Always Only You," but it might count as a subversion at first since Angie and Vinnie sing it while he is dresses as Rooco. Happens for real in the Reprise, once Angie realizes that Vinnie is the right guy for her.
- Hitman with a Heart: Ed Vendetta, the hitman Billy hires to take out Rocco seems to be one. He finds happy endings filled with love to be beautiful and winds up teaching second grade.
- Kavorka Man: Rocco is at least a borderline example since he gets more women than seems humanly possible, but all he has at his disposal are some run of the mill pick-up lines and a bad attitude. Subverted because at the end, ALL the women in the show turn him down at once.
- Meaningful Name: Ed Vendetta - "Revenge Specialist"
- Medium Awareness: There are definite touches of this. The Act Two opener has the narrator, followed by the the entire cast come on stage and sing to the audience with the memorable line, "come right in/ take your seats/ put away your crinkly paper treats." In "On the Floor of the Deli," the cast follows Vinnie as he goes back to the deli. Everyone following him is narrating that he is being followed by Billy and Ed, who are ready to kill him, thinking he is Rocco.
- Pair the Spares: Buddy and Tony end up with two of the Ettas. The last one winds up with Ed Vendetta.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Two examples. First, everyone in town believes Vinnie to be Rocco just because he gelled his hair and is wearing a leather jacket, although Vinnie thinks his mom could potentially see through it. The second is Rocco who instead of leaving town to hide winds up disguised as "Lou" the new guy at the deli. His disguise seems to consist of glasses and a tie.
- Prince Charmless: Rocco, again
- Romantic False Lead: Rocco
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Angie
- Tenor Boy: Vinnie
- Those Two Guys: Buddy and Tony, Rocco's sidekicks. They're almost as interchangeable as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Then, there's Etta, Conchetta, and Loretta, whose main purpose seems to be being in love with Rocco and to have their extreme ditziness be in contrast to Angie.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Vinnie towards Angie at least at first.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Again, Vinnie and Rocco