By Nancy Oliveri
Binghamton lost a piece of its soul yesterday (May 15 ) when Angelo Zuccolo died suddenly of a heart attack.
Many people remember “Ange” from his long tenure at Broome Community College as theater professor and director of department productions at the Little Theatre there, but he was also a poet and the author of several books celebrating the Italian experience. He continued to teach conversational Italian and a few other subjects for BCC’s community education program, and he facilitated a group on spiritual empowerment that met Sundays at Binghamton’s River Read Books. I promised myself I’d sit in one day, but never did, much to my regret.
Coincidentally, I was at the Little Theatre last night to hear the BCC College Choir in its final performance under retiring director Gerald Grahame. I couldn’t help but be keenly aware of the spirit of Mr. Zuccolo, present there in the intimate space of that theater, and when the choir surprised their outgoing director with Stephen Paulus’ song “The Road Home,” I was hard-pressed not to feel a catch in my throat for Ange.
I have a large gap in my knowledge of what Angelo had been up to since I left BCC in the mid-’70s, but I did run into him from time to time. I knew that he had married a beautiful woman I had known in high school, Lisa, and that he’d had two beautiful daughters with her, Angelique and Marielle, and that he was a cancer survivor.
Last year, I thought it would be fun to be in a show, and I auditioned for a bit part in The Wizard of Oz with a church group. Much to my delight, Angelo came to the show and brought me an envelope containing two black and white stills from the show in which he had cast me in the lead, Passion, Poison and Petrifaction. I learned more about facing my fears, and getting out of my comfort zone when I acted in that show, and it was during that time that I made some of my dearest and longest-lasting friendships. I thank Angelo for that.
This space is dedicated today to your memories of him. Please feel free to post them here and share them.
According to the obituary in the Press & Sun-Bulletin, calling hours will be 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday (May 19) at the James V. DeMarco & Son Funeral Home, 737 Chenango St., Port Dickinson. Services will be 11 a.m. Monday (May 20) at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 183 Riverside Drive, Binghamton, with prior viewing beginning at 9:30 a.m. Interment will be at Riverhurst Cemetery in Endicott. Contributions to the Angelo Zuccolo Scholarship for Excellence in Theatre may be made to Broome Community College Foundation. In lieu of flowers, Angelo’s desire was for friends and family to celebrate his life with dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant “in the company of someone special, someone lonely or someone in need.”
Good night, Mr. Zuccolo — beloved BCC theater professor remembered
By Nancy Oliveri