…a dual-narrative, multi-generational saga.

Meet the Players—

Click a pic for casting recommendations (as of 08-2022)

The Present

Brooklyn, NY 1963

The Gravetti and Sons Funeral Home is at a crossroads of survival and demise during a year mired in racism and the Kennedy assassination.

Buono Gravetti (at 42 y/o)

Extended Breakdown

Scroll to bottom of page for an animated excerpt with Buono and his father, Luca.

Luca Gravetti
(at 80 y/o)

A beaten, guilt-ridden man closer to the end than any beginning. Luca’s dementia worsens, and his funeral home is on the brink of extinction. In and out of reality, he spends more and more time in the attic where old photos of his past consume his thoughts with whatever comfort he can find. When an infamous event triggers one last memory in him, he sets off on a journey of redemption, attempting to fulfill a promise made and long abandoned.

Michael Gravetti (35)

Extended Breakdown

Abbey Herschel (32)

Extended Breakdown

Scarlett Herschel (8)

A dead ringer for Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Scarlett is a real live wire. Impressionable, her use of racial epithets—because the badass Greasers next door use them—worries most her mom and Buono. A tomboy for sure, but a precocious one, she’s a proficient reader of novels, and she loves helping Buono learn to read. When she witnesses firsthand the hardships of a heartbroken man, things change for her.     

Freddie Freeman (55)

Abbey’s hard-working peer, sadly, Freddie’s child is dying, and he needs Buono’s help for last honors. Freddie won’t do it within his ghettos; they call him an Uncle Tom for working for a Jewish owner, let alone the jealousy for him just being one of the few working Negros during the “last hired-first fired” bias of 1963. But Buono’s Brooklyn streets are just as polluted with racism, and even con-doned by his own brother.

Lt. Cavanaugh (60)

The stern lieutenant and his wife visit the Gravetti funeral home in hopes of finding a worthy casket for their fallen son. Things turn quite interesting when they prefer one of Buono’s masterful wooden caskets and not any of Michael’s metal cookie-cutter “car trunks.” What starts off as a terrible introduction to Buono will one day end in a life-changing event for both of them.

Molly Hill (28)

A Teddy girl right out of West London, Molly is Michael’s pugnacious dearie. And when it comes to scotch and cigars, she can keep up with his unquenchable appetite for Johnny Walker swigs and blazing Montecristos. Turned-up jeans, a black coat, and something to tie around her neck, it’s all about attitude… Molly and Michael, a match made in hell. 

The Past

Tuscany, Italy 1928

It’s a heat-wave month in the impoverished peasant hills of Monte Chiaro just prior to the Gravettis immigrating to the New World.

Buono Gravetti (at 7 y/o)

A jovial, perceptive kid with the innocence only youth could offer…or take back. A dead ringer for Toto from Cinema Paradiso, but when Buono waves his stick, he’s really Zorro— “swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!” He skips class just to hang out in his loving grandpa’s woodshop where Leo teaches him the trade that will help define the rest of his life. Dire, life-changing events, however, will instantly force him into manhood well beyond his grasp and test the strength of his autonomy.

Luca Gravetti
(at 45 y/o)

Extended Breakdown

Isabella Gravetti (32)

Extended Breakdown

Leandro “Leo” Gravetti (75)

Extended Breakdown

“Fatty” Providenza (80)

A menacing shipping tycoon has put Fatty, the local strongarm, in charge of clearing out the sleepy town of Villa Roundo. A massive shipping port will soon be remapping the coastline, and after forcing out all the peasants, the archdiocese with its parish chapel is the last remaining landowner in Fatty’s way. Things will not come so easily for Fatty when Luca inadvertently becomes the last hope for the desperate villagers.

Carmela Ricci (40)

The local baker and Isabella’s best friend, Carmella is always there to lend a helping hand. She sees with her own eyes what Isabella has to go through with a stubborn husband like Luca. She always comes to Isabella’s rescue in one form or another, and she’ll be taking swings at Luca in no time. One of the tough women from the 1920s, they don’t make them like this anymore.

Oswaldo Garibaldi

As the poetic and surprisingly thoughtful kingpin of a worldwide shipping empire, Garibaldi still has only one thing in mind—his new, modern seaport that will soon be accommodating his expanding shipping needs. When things do not go his way, he’ll show just how thoughtful he can be…for himself.

Emilio Ippolito (80)

A cranky general store owner (where Luca works) and as practical a man as the items he offers—rice, flour, and gravedigging. And why not? He already stocks the god-forsaken shovels! Entirely baffled by just what a funeral director is—Luca’s American dream of parading the dead, he’ll insist—he has a much simpler view when it comes to the dearly departed: you dig a hole and say goodbye.

Face Painters opening excerpt, scenes 3-9
“…Bodies, Papa, not worms.”