Michael Imperioli, best known as Tony’s loyal nephew-made man, Christopher, on HBO’s The Sopranos, is directing a new play at Studio Dante, the jewel of a theater he co-founded with his wife, Victoria Imperioli, in 2004. It’s called Sisters, Such Devoted Sisters, a wickedly funny one-man show staged by Glasgow Scot Russell Barr. Dressed in fishnet stockings and sky-high heels, Mr. Barr transforms into the street-savvy drag queen, Bernice, who recounts drug-fueled misadventures, prostitution, shoplifting and violence in the seedy Glasgow underground. “It’s a bit like Last Exit to Brooklyn, a bit like Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ like his song comes to life,” Mr. Imperioli told The Observer. “I think it’s kind of a unique world that he kind of creates and presents onstage. I found it to be really, really powerful.”
Mr. Imperioli, who has directed three previous productions at the Dante, said his challenge was to stay true to Mr. Barr’s real-life drama, since the play is partly autobiographical. “Because it’s personal and it’s things that he’s lived, you don’t want to impose things that are not necessarily organic to the story. The stuff that I’ve worked on in the past, as a director, we kind of found and explored the world together, with the actors,” he explained. “In this situation, he’s the authority on it. … [Although] some of it was to kind of tune it to an American audience because there were a lot of Scottish phrases and sayings.” Indeed, Mr. Barr’s Scottish slang adds color to the dark tragicomedy. “They’ve even stolen ma hoo-er’s knickers!” Mr. Barr exclaims in the play. He explains: “For those of you that don’t know, that’s Glaswegian slang for ‘Austrian blinds’. … And ‘scoofed’ means they steal the radiators and the pipes. Can you believe Glasgow’s got a word for that?”
Sisters, Such Devoted Sisters will play at Studio Dante from Jan. 23 to Feb. 16. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. For tickets call 212-868-4444 or visit www.smartix.com.