OLD TAPPAN, N.J. — Old Tappan native Rita Gigante came to being a spiritual healer/medium in a unique way: she is the daughter of infamous mafia boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante.
For the record, her upbringing in the Northern Valley was not easy.
She chronicled it all in her 2013 book, “The Godfather’s Daughter: An Unlikely Story of Love, Healing, and Redemption .”
Now she’s moving into another chapter of her life.
She launches her first one-woman show, “A Sit Down With Spirit,” Saturday at Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan.
The theater is right next to The Mob Museum . No coincidence.
“There’s going to be a cameo appearance,” Gigante said. “I’ll be channeling my mother and father.
“Then whatever other spirits decide they want to come in, they come.”
“The Chin,” who was the head of the Genovese crime family, died in prison in 2005. His wife, Olympia, died 10 years later.
These days, Gigante said, it brings her a lot of peace to be in touch with her parents.
She understands things even more than she did before they died.
According to Gigante, her parents teach her what they have learned from “the light.”
“Our relationship brings a lot of hope to people who lost loved ones and are left with a feeling of unfinished business,” Gigante said.
Her goal, she said, is to bring other people the peace she now feels.
Gigante said she no longer carries her past like a heavy weight.
The title of the show is a takeoff of a mob sit down.
“It’s not the kind of a sit down my father would have had,” she said.
In the mafia world, a sit down is a meeting of all the top mafia leaders to discuss business.
The tone of the one-woman show is not somber. Gigante wants it to be light, almost with the feel of a stand-up comedy routine.
With so much going on in the country and world now, she said, people are feeling down. She wants to add some laughter, love and levity.
In “The Godfather’s Daughter,” Gigante wrote about being anxious and depressed as a girl. She also experienced panic attacks, all because she sensed something was wrong with her environment.
So much violence.
So much fear.
Yet her father was revered by some people, she recalled. He helped the elderly, paid people's rent, and made sure there was food on the table for many a family.
Gigante didn’t know who her father was till she was 16, around the time “The Chin” unsuccessfully conspired to knock off his rival John Gotti, head of the Gambino crime family.
But that part is over now.
Before his death, father and daughter already started to heal their relationship.
Now, healing continues.
Gigante lives close to where she grew up – in Tappan, New York – with her wife, Bobbie. She runs Space of Grace Healing , where she offers a variety of holistic and spiritual services from massage and sound therapy to psychic readings.
For more about “A Sit Down With Spirit,” CLICK HERE .