NEW HAVEN – Being Italian in New Haven isn’t just about pizza. It’s about a rich, romantic family life, a deep cultural heritage and a strong connection to one’s past.

It’s also about shared experience. Nearly 20 percent of Connecticut residents surveyed in the 2009 U.S. Census said they had Italian ancestry, outpacing New Jersey (17 percent) and New York (14 percent). And, New Haven particularly was known as a nexus for Italian immigrants upon arriving in America. In fact, for example, there are more Amalfitani – the descendants of the people born in the southern Italian town of Amalfi – in New Haven than there are back on the coast of the Mediterranean.

Long Wharf Theatre, through its production of John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedyItalian American Reconciliation, wants to celebrate that rich cultural history by hearing stories and seeing photos of Italian-American life in New Haven.

The theatre is looking for family photos of the Italian-American experience prior to 1980 to display on the set of Italian American Reconciliation and in the lobby prior to the show. Families together, weddings, christenings, first Holy Communions, holidays, first love, vacations – in short, the photos from a life richly lived – are perfect for the display. The photos should be e-mailed to italianamerican@longwharf.org. All photos should be hi-res, between 300-600 dpi. No original photos, please.

In addition, Long Wharf Theatre’s artistic staff is interested in hearing stories about individuals’ and their families’ lives as Italian Americans. People interested in answering the question, “What does it mean to be Italian American today?” can submit short videos, written accounts, or come to the theatre Tuesday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 12 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. to be interviewed by a member of the Long Wharf Theatre staff. The stories and video will be used in the theatre’s lobby exhibits.

Italian American Reconciliation, by the author of the film Moonstruck, tells a bigger than life story of love in New York’s Little Italy. Huey Bonfigliano is still stuck on his ex-wife even though she’s torn his heart out. Enlisting the help of his best friend Aldo, Huey woos her one final time in this fanciful, lighthearted and zestfully comic play. The show runs on the Mainstage from April 27 through May 22. Tickets are $40-$70.

For more information, contact Steven Scarpa, director of marketing and communications at 203-772-8255 or at steven.scarpa@longwharf.org,