Living... unglamorously, in New York City in 1962. Tony’s spent his whole life in the Bronx and it’s pretty much the only world he knows.
Visiting... the Midwest and Deep South on an eight-week tour.
Profession... bouncer at the Copacabana.
Interests... pizza, pasta, and hot dogs.
Relationship Status... happily married with two kids. Tony loves his wife Dolores more than anything, but he sometimes has trouble expressing how he feels. That’s particularly true when Dolores asks Tony to write her letters while he’s away on tour.
Challenge... driving and protecting a world-famous pianist. When the Copa is closed for renovations, Tony takes on a rather unusual job to help make ends meet. He agrees to spend eight weeks serving as a driver and bodyguard for renowned pianist Dr. Don Shirley. Their tour through the Midwest and Deep South will put Dr. Shirley, who’s black, in many dangerous situations. It’s Tony’s job to serve as Dr. Shirley’s protector, using The Negro Motorist Green Book guide to find places where he’ll be allowed to stay safely. Along the way, Tony must confront his own racism and prejudice too.
Personality... larger than life. Tony’s big personality is outmatched only by his endless appetite. (No one can beat Tony in an eating contest—so don’t even try.) His nickname “Lip” comes from the fact that he never seems to stop talking. He’s a plainspoken, unpretentious guy who’s fiercely proud of his working class Italian-American roots. As he puts it, “My father used to say, ‘Whatever you do, do it a hundred percent. When you work, work. When you laugh, laugh. When you eat, eat like it’s your last meal.’” Though Tony sees himself as a good guy, he has a strong sense of ingrained racism and prejudice. He also has a nasty temper that can come out when he’s provoked. He’s far more comfortable throwing someone out of a nightclub than mingling with its wealthy clientele. At his core, however, Tony has a magnanimous spirit and the potential to see the error of his ways.
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