The Altos is a Samuel French Musical/Comedy Murder Mystery that spoofs The Sopranos as well as Italian stereotypes in general in service of the plot. At the beginning of the show, the audience has been invited to the funeral of Tony Alto, who died when his car exploded outside of a motel at 2 AM. Attending are his widow Toffee Alto, his nephew and righthand man Chris, his mother Nona, his uncle Uncle Senior, his priest Father Flip, and his psychiatrist Doctor Malaise. It's quickly revealed that there's more to Tony's death than was immediately evident, and that someone at the funeral was in fact behind it.
What follows is four acts of comedy and occasional musical numbers as the family tried to unravel the mystery with the help of the audience, who is frequently invited up to play supplemental characters.
This show exhibits the following tropes:
- Almost Dead Guy: The first hitman survives most of the song, "Come Clean" before expiring before he can reveal his information.
- Attending Your Own Funeral: As revealed within the first few minutes, Tony was not actually blown up with his car, and is attending the funeral as "Antoinette", his stripper cousin.
- Backup Twin: After an audience member is picked out as "Micky Blue Eyes", someone who informed on the family and went into Witness Protection, they're gunned down offstage and then returned as their "twin brother, Mikey Blue Eyes" and given the same seat.
- Dirty Old Monk: Father Flip is indicated as this in the script, told to hit on all of the females in the audience during his mingling scenes. In-plot, he and Toffee Alto have a thing.
- Everyone Is a Suspect: As is typical for a murder mystery, every character has motive and means to do the crime.
- Evil Matriarch: Nona, Tony's mother, is a bitter old woman who proudly states that she has the number to several hitmen and that she'll make the call if Tony makes her mad. Except she can't remember if she already made that call...
- His Name Is...: The first hitman really does try to reveal the identity of who hired him, but the family keeps cutting him off in the course of "Come Clean" before he can actually make the reveal.
- Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: The Altos run a series of strip clubs, and commit several killings during the course of the film, but they're also targeting rival criminals in the latter case.
- The Shrink: Dr. Malaise claims to be Tony's psychologist, but is apparently plying him with copious amounts of Prozac and lithium (psychologists are not authorized to prescribe medicine. Psychiatrists are). She offers some rather dubious case studies of patients she's worked with and in fact claims to the audience during mingling sessions that she specializes in "dubious cases". And, of course, she was the one who attempted to killed Tony because she couldn't stand the pressure of knowing about his criminal activities and because she realized that as soon as he felt cured, he'd have her killed to keep his secrets.