STATEN ISLAND, NY – Staten Island comedian Eric D’Alessandro has already delivered. He made his crowd of 1,900 people burst into laughter at the sold-out St. George Theater. But his latest entertainment was a punch the public never saw coming.
At the end of his homecoming performance at the North Shore, D’Alessandro summoned his longtime girlfriend Leanna Kostalos on stage, knelt down and asked her to marry him, putting an exclamation mark on an unforgettable spectacle.
“The idea came to my mind when they [the tickets for the show] was first put up for sale, ”he said of planning the proposal. “I just thought that would be a really cool way to do it, very unique to me, not something typical that I really see someone else doing and it would be really cool to make it my own.”
D’Alessandro and Kostalos, both from Staten Island, have been dating for eight years.
The proposal came as a surprise to everyone in the audience, including the couple’s friends and family, and was captured by photographer Dave Giordano.
D’Alessandro said that while he planned to perform during the St. George Theater show, he got the engagement ring back on Saturday morning. When asked how many people knew he would be proposing, he said “no one”. But since many of their family and friends were all going to the show, it was the perfect opportunity, he explained.
“I told my photographer just before I took the stage,” D’Alessandro said. “I said, ‘Hey, at the end, I want to have a cool picture with the audience and I’m going to ask Leanna to come on stage and I’m going to propose to her.'”
Giordano captured the intimate moment of the scene. Images, available above, show the comedian and his bride-to-be embracing as hundreds of attendees cheer in the background.
The crowd erupted for joy at the proposal – taking photos and videos to capture the special moment. D’Alessandro said he couldn’t believe how loud the audience was.
“The laughter filling the room was uplifting for all of our staff and what an epic moment for Eric and his family with his proposal on stage,” said Doreen Cugno, President and CEO of St. George Theater. “Last night was an amazing night for everyone and an exciting way to reopen our venue!
After the show, D’Alessandro said they returned to his family’s home for a “simple” and “low-key” celebration.
“Eric has been one of my best friends since I was 5 years old, so it was a great honor for me to be able to work on this special,” said Vincent Innocente, Director of Marketing and Public Services for the St. George. Theater. “It was great to see so many people we know from St. Roch, St. Peter’s, and more to support Eric!”
The Westerleigh native is a local celebrity in the borough – going viral with a series of YouTube videos good-naturedly poking fun at Italian-American stereotypes. He created sketches featuring original characters derived from Staten Island stereotypes like “Maria Marie”, as well as celebrity prints like Drake. These videos, and her original, timely and relevant social media content, have led to her over 165,000 Instagram followers.
He currently has over 26,000 subscribers on YouTube and also made his theatrical debut in “Nerve” in 2019.
He now resides in Austin, Texas.
“I want to thank everyone, it was one of the coolest nights of my life and I am extremely grateful,” he said of the show and the Saturday night proposal.
If you missed D’Alessandro at the St. George Theater, there are several local shows coming up soon. You can visit its website, www.ericdalessandro.com, to purchase tickets.
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