Bay Ridge legend was actor, playwright and journalist
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“Tom loved the community and the community loved him back,” said Camille Orrichio Loccisano, a friend of the late Tom Kane.
Orrichio Loccisano is just one of hundreds of people expected to turn out for a special ceremony on May 31 in which a Bay Ridge street corner will be officially renamed by the city in Kane’s honor. Kane, who wrote “Citizen Kane,” a popular column for the Bay Ridge Eagle, a newspaper owned by the Brooklyn Eagle, was a local legend; an actor, playwright and all-around promoter of the arts. He died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 53. Hundreds of people attended his funeral mass at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Bay Ridge.
The street renaming ceremony, which will feature musical performances, along with speeches and the official unveiling of a new street sign, will take place on Saturday on the corner of Colonial Road and 88th Street at 11 a.m. Kane grew up on that block. Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who sponsored the legislation authoring the street renaming, will be the host of the ceremony.
Known for his robust personality and a sunny optimism, Kane was the co-founder, along with Anthony Marino, of brooklynONE Productions, a Bay Ridge-based theater company that specializes in productions of bold, original new plays. He worked tirelessly to encourage young people to pursue their dreams of a life in the theater. In addition to his role as a co-founder of brooklynONE, he was also a playwright and an actor who often played musical comedy roles. In 2009, he made audiences roar with laughter as the crooked Max Bialystock in the Ridge Chorale’s production of “The Producers.”
In the non-performing side of his life, Kane was a member of the board of directors of the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, a non-profit group that helps children with cancer.
Orrichio Loccisano, who started the foundation after her son Francesco Loccisano died of cancer at the age of 17, said Kane was a valuable member of the board. “He did so much for people,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “To have a street sign up there with his name on it forever is a wonderful way to memorialize him. Maybe years from now, a young person passing by that corner will see the sign and decide to learn all about Tom; who he was and what he did.”
Kane, who was born and raised in Bay Ridge, was a graduate of Xaverian High School, a Catholic school for boys. He was active in the sports program at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, serving as a baseball coach, umpire and a commissioner.
Last year, Community Board 10 voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council approve the street corner renaming. “Tom was a baseball coach, umpire and commissioner of the St. Patrick's Little League. He organized and supported children’s theater, worked with the Xaverian theater group. He was a fund-raiser for the Loccisano Foundation, a supporter of the Ridge Chorale. And he was a columnist for the Bay Ridge Eagle. These are just of few of his contributions,” Transportation Committee Chairman Doris Cruz stated at the meeting where the vote was taken.
Another board member, Fran Vella-Marrone, said she was happy with the vote. “I knew Tommy Kane for pretty much my whole life. If there’s anyone who deserves a street naming, it’s him,” she said.
Brooklyn Eagle Publisher pays tribute to Kane
Dozier Hasty, the owner and publisher of the Brooklyn Eagle, paid tribute to his friend Tom Kane by describing him as a larger than life figure. “Tom Kane was 'bigger than life,' to use a phrase that often does not accompany his other lovable traits: he was benevolent, quietly flamboyant and a sensitive listener. If called upon to be loud and expansive, he could command a stage like the most gifted of performers,” Hasty said.
In the production of “The Producers, “Tom transformed himself into an unforgettable Max Bialystock for the packed house,” Hasty said. “When Tom departed this earthly vale, the packed house was St. Patrick's in Bay Ridge, where so many who loved him told stories and sang his praises at his standing-room-only memorial service,” the publisher recalled.