NEW YORK, NY — Carl Capotorto has one of the most recognizable faces in television, and a résumé to invoke envy from many of his fellow professional actors. As “Little Paulie” Gemani on “The Sopranos,” Capotorto was well-known to American and international TV audiences, many of whom are enjoying his portrayal anew through DVD and Blue-Ray, and many of whom don’t know that he is openly gay.
The actor and writer flexed his “human” muscles on Wednesday, December 12 as part of a celebrity panel of pledge-takers during a telethon that ran concurrently with the “12-12-12” benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
New York City’s Madison Square Garden played host to the event, which was simulcast live on television, radio, Facebook, iHeartRadio, and in movie theaters, as well as being streamed live in New York’s Times Square, along with Paris and London.
The benefit concert brought together a Who’s Who of rock and pop royalty, including Kanye West, Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Chris Martin of Coldplay, as well as a special performance from Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, and Roger Waters performing music by Pink Floyd.
Before the event, $32 million had been raised through sponsorships and ticket sales.
“Jim Gandolfini [who played mob boss Tony Soprano] pulled us together in an effort to help support [New Jersey] the state that gave us so much during the run of the show,” Capotorto told the Florida Agenda in an exclusive interview.
Over 130 people died in October when Sandy blanketed the U.S. east coast, and thousands in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were left homeless in the aftermath of the devastating storm, which caused billions of dollars in damage.
Capotorto told the Agenda that donations raised from the concert went to support the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which has launched a large-scale relief effort to aid neighborhoods in the tri-state area that were devastated by Sandy.
Robin Hood-funded non-profits have provided blankets, hot food, heaters, generators, and other necessities to residents from across the region. In November, the fund reported that it had provided over $8 million in grants to more than 90 different relief groups.
The New York City-born-and-raised actor says that the cultural and emotional ties between Greater Fort Lauderdale’s LGBT community and the global center of arts and culture were never so on display as during the benefit, which was organized to help those whose lives were forever changed by the superstorm.
“I’ve long said it and I’ll say it again: South Florida is New York City’s sixth borough!”