You might think Steve Schirripa would be tempted to whack the next fan who peppers him with questions about "The Sopranos."

That's not the case. In fact, Schirripa, who played the overly sensitive, overweight Bobby Baccalieri on the ground-breaking series, is a panelist for the touring show "In Conversation with the Sopranos," patiently answering questions he's heard a thousand times before.

At the top of the list: Is Tony Soprano dead or alive?

"I've flip-flopped," Schirripa said by phone from his home in New York, a little more than a week before his Saturday appearance at Mystic Lake Casino alongside former cast members Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) and Vincent Pastore (Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero). "For a long time, I thought for sure he was alive and well. But maybe that was wishful thinking."

If the conservation is any indication of what the Mystic Lake show will be like, fans are in for a real treat.

Over the course of a half hour, Schirripa freely spilled dirt on original casting choices (Jerry Stiller pulled out from the role of confidante Hesh Rabkin at the last minute because he booked a more lucrative commercial), treasured keepsakes (one of Schirripa's fat suits hangs in his closet) and how creator David Chase came to his apartment to tell him he was killing off his character ("It was kind of like a real hit").

He also talked about his admiration for James Gandolfini, who won three Emmys for playing Tony Soprano. Gandolfini, who died in 2013, was famously reticent about doing public appearances. But Schirripa is convinced he could have talked his dear friend into at least one mini-reunion.

"It wasn't his thing. For years, he wouldn't even do a talk show. I don't think he thought was very interesting," Schirripa said. "But I think I could have talked him into doing one of these with us. 'Hey, Jim, come to Minnesota. We'll have some laughs and some drinks. It'll be fun.'"

Saturday's conversation, moderated by comedian Joey Kola, will include slides and clips from the show. There will also be a Q&A with audience members.

Don't be surprised if Pastore bristles about Big Pussy being eliminated way back in Season 2 or if Imperioli gets a few shout-outs for his critically acclaimed role in HBO's "The White Lotus."

"Every show is different. It's very loose," Schirripa said. "And once in a blue moon, we get an interesting question."

One of the reasons Schirripa is willing to mine the past — he also hosted a "Sopranos" podcast with Imperioli — is that he's avoided being typecast as a mobster.

He's well aware that he'll always be first and foremost recognized as Bobby, but he's also had success in recent years playing a suburban dad in ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and a retired detective on CBS' "Blue Bloods," which will shoot its 14th season once the writers/actors strike has been resolved.

"People want to see you as one thing. I knew that. So I got away from it by doing very little mob stuff since," Schirripa said. "I'm never going to play an enlightened professor but I can play all kinds of blue-collar guys. Not every Italian American is a mobster."

Schirripa believes one of the reasons interest in "The Sopranos" remains high long after the show ended in 2007 is that new generations keep discovering it. While walking the picket line earlier in the day, he was approached by a dad who said he had just introduced the series to his son.

"More people are watching the show now than when it first came out. The show holds up as if it was written yesterday," he said. "On the surface, it's a mob show. But it's so much deeper than that. It's about corporate greed, the state of America, the desire for control. Someone once said on a message board that there should be a killing every week or at least a beating. That guy didn't get the show."

'In Conversation With the Sopranos'

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake.

Tickets: $19-$49. 952-496-6563