Oftentimes a rite of passage in childhood is learning to play an instrument and hating every second of it. The pleading with your parents to take you out of lessons is all too real for many. Celebrities like Ray Romano may even be able to relate. Scenes from his eponymous show, Everybody Loves Raymond, support the theory that Romano can play the piano.
Season Two of Romano’s show includes an episode entitled, “Mozart.” Like many children before her, Ray’s daughter on the show, Ally, is fighting against having to continue piano lessons with her grandmother. To be a good role model for his daughter, Ray decides he will be the one to take lessons from his mother so he can show Ally what is possible.
Throughout the episode the audience learns more about Ray’s musical past. He fondly recalls his time taking piano lessons with Marie, his mother.
The episode’s defining moments are the final ones as Romano sits at the piano surrounded by his family. As Ally looks on, he plays the entirety of ‘Love Story (Where Do I Begin)’– the theme song from the 1970 movie, Love Story.
Many aspects of Everybody Loves Raymond are factual and 90% based on the real lives of Romano and executive producer Phil Rosenthal. When Ray finishes playing the song on the piano in the final moments of the episode, the audience and cast members’ reactions seem as genuine as the performance they just witnessed.
So how much of this episode was based on Ray’s real life? As it turns out, probably quite a bit.
Ray Romano can play the piano because his mother was a piano teacher by trade. In fact, she is a Juilliard graduate who studied to be a concert pianist. She gave it up to raise her family but she taught lessons for 50 years.
As a child Ray spent time taking lessons and learning from her, much in the way his character does in Everybody Loves Raymond. The time he spends playing piano has diminished over the years, just like his character. In 2016, Ray claimed to “play little piano,” and these days prefers to play drums and listen to rock ballads.
Ray Romano did grow up like many children learning to play an instrument. The piano lessons he took as a child from his mother later became the inspiration for a plotline on his show. And in the final moments of the episode, “Mozart,” he is able to show off his real talent for piano.
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