After considering early retirement from the theater in exchange for a stable life in real estate, Nick Cordero earned his first Tony nomination as Bullets Over Broadway's Cheech — a thick-skinned mobster with a flair for the dramatic. On August 24, after five months and hundreds of "off"-ings on the St. James stage, Broadway says goodbye to its Bullets and Cordero gets released back into the theatrical wild. But first, he offered TheaterMania some juicy tidbits from the run, including a few words of wisdom from the show's comic mastermind Woody Allen.

Nick Cordero (center) with the cast of Bullets Over Broadway at the St. James Theater.
Nick Cordero (center) with the cast of Bullets Over Broadway at the St. James Theater.
(© Paul Kolnik)

1. What is your favorite line that you delivered?
Cheech: My father used to listen to the Opera. He loved the Opera. If a guy stunk…
David: What, he'd kill him?
Cheech: Once. In Palermo.

2. Everyone loves inside jokes. So tell us…

a. What is the best one from your show?
"Anyone here into guys?"—Brooks Ashmanskas
b. Since there probably is one — what is the punch line of your cast's most unprintable inside joke?
"Hide the Peep." Don't ask.

Cordero and Zach Braff share the stage in a scene from Bullets Over Broadway.
Cordero and Zach Braff share the stage in a scene from Bullets Over Broadway.
(© Paul Kolnik)

3. Every show experiences technical difficulties. What was the worst technical difficulty experienced during your show and how was it handled?
There are two doors onstage that would open, and lifts would rise carrying actors or set pieces, etc. During previews these lifts were operating on the same hard drives as all the other automation, so they would get stuck and not close properly and we'd have to pause the show, and Zach [Braff] would go out onstage and tell jokes until it was fixed. Live theater folks. Soon after they were put on their own hard drive, problem solved.

4. What was the most "interesting" present someone gave you at the stage door?
A drawing of me with a bobble head. A not-so-inaccurate rendering.

5. Who is the coolest person who came to see your show? (You can't say family!)
Dianne Wiest.

6. If you had a gangster name, what would it be?
I have a gangster name.

7. What is the best performance note Woody Allen ever gave you? (If not you, then one of your castmates)
"Don't push the punchline. Just say the line like you'd say anything else, and if you get a laugh, great, if you don't then it's my fault and not yours."

8. You carry out your illicit business onstage in a 1929 Model-A Ford each night. What would be your real-life getaway car of choice and why?
A Jaguar F-Type Coupe. 'Cause I'm Batman.

9. Cheech reveals an unexpected talent for drama. What's your hidden talent?
Beatboxing.

10. If Cheech wrote his own play, what would it be called?
Moonlight in Bensonhurst.