The Info List - Fiorello!

--- Advertisement ---

is a musical about New York City
New York City
mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, a reform Republican who took on the Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall
political machine. The book is by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, drawn substantially from the 1955 volume Life with Fiorello by Ernest Cuneo,[1] with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock. It is one of only nine musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


1 Productions 2 Synopsis 3 Background and analysis 4 Songs 5 Critical response 6 Original cast album 7 Awards and nominations

7.1 Original Broadway production

8 References 9 External links

Productions[edit] Fiorello!
opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre
Broadhurst Theatre
on November 23, 1959, moved to The Broadway Theatre
The Broadway Theatre
on May 9, 1961, and closed on October 28, 1961,[2] after 795 performances. It was directed by George Abbott, with choreography by Peter Gennaro. Tom Bosley
Tom Bosley
originated the title role opposite Howard Da Silva
Howard Da Silva
as the Republican machine boss Ben Marino. The cast featured Ellen Hanley as Thea, Pat Stanley as Dora, Patricia Wilson as Marie, Nathaniel Frey as Morris, and Broadway's future Superman, Bob Holiday, as Neil. The 1962 production opened at the New York City
New York City
Center on June 13, and closed after 16 performances, on June 24, 1962. The show was directed by Jean Dalrymple, staged by Dania Krupska, choreography by Kevin Carlisle, scenery and lighting design by William and Jean Eckart, costume supervision by Joseph Codori, musically directed by Jay Blackton, and press by Lilliam Libman. The cast included Sorrell Booke (Fiorello LaGuardia), Art Lund
Art Lund
(Ben Marino), Lola Fisher (Thea), Dody Goodman (Dora), Barbara Williams (Marie), Paul Lipson (Morris), Richard France (Neil), Dort Clark (Floyd), and Helen Verbit (Mrs. Pomerantz). One of the singing ensemble included Rosalind Cash. A staged concert production of Fiorello!
was performed at the first Encores! at the New York City
New York City
Center concert series in February 1994. Directed by Walter Bobbie, the cast featured Jerry Zaks
Jerry Zaks
as LaGuardia, Philip Bosco as Ben Marino, Faith Prince as Marie, and Elizabeth Futral as Thea.[3] To celebrate the 20th season of the series, Fiorello!
was presented by the New York City
New York City
Center Encores! as a staged concert in January 2013. With direction by Gary Griffin and choreography by Alex Sanchez, the cast starred Danny Rutigliano as La Guardia, Shuler Hensley
Shuler Hensley
as Marino, Erin Dilly as Marie and Kate Baldwin
Kate Baldwin
as Thea. The production included a new Bock/Harnick song during Act II, as part of "The Name's La Guardia" reprise.[4] The Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) production of Fiorello!
is expected to open Off-Broadway at the East 13th Street Theater on September 4, 2016, directed by Bob Moss.[5] The BTG production ran at The Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
in June and July 2016.[6][7] Synopsis[edit] The story follows the life of Fiorello H. La Guardia
Fiorello H. La Guardia
during World War I and ten years later. As Mayor of New York City
New York City
La Guardia reforms city politics by helping end Tammany Hall's vaunted political machine.

Act I

Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia
Fiorello H. LaGuardia
is reading the comics over the radio because there is a newspaper strike. As he does so, the time changes to 1915 and the law office where clients are eagerly waiting to speak to LaGuardia. His law clerks assure the crowd that he will help one and all, regardless of their ability to pay ("On the Side of the Angels"). Fiorello's secretary Marie and her friend Dora discuss a crisis. Thea Almerigatti, the leader of the women shirtwaist strikers, has been arrested.[8] LaGuardia promises to help the strikers. As the district leader Ben and his political buddies play poker ("Politics and Poker"), Marie introduces LaGuardia as a potential Congressional candidate. They want to beat the corrupt machine of Tammany Hall. While helping the women strikers, Fiorello asks Marie to dinner, but Thea, newly released from prison, arrives. She asks Fiorello to dinner to plan strategy, and he breaks his date with Marie. Marie feels foolish for caring while he cares so little ("Marie's Law"). Next year Fiorello is campaigning for Congress, and Thea introduces him. Fiorello promises to break the stranglehold of Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall
("The Name's LaGuardia!"). LaGuardia wins the election ("The Bum Won"). In another year, LaGuardia enlists in the Air Force and proposes to Thea. He and Marie say their farewells as he is about to leave for the war ("Till Tomorrow"). LaGuardia's participation in the war is presented as a series of montages, staged and on film.[9] With the war over, Fiorello returns home ("Home Again"), with both Marie and Thea waiting for him. He goes to Thea, who has agreed to marriage. Morris, the office manager, comforts Marie.

Act II

In 1929 LaGuardia runs for mayor of New York, after he and Thea are married. Thea, home from a visit to the doctor, exclaims her love ("When Did I Fall In Love"). At Dora and her husband Floyd's (who has retired from the police force) home, the corrupt backers of Jimmy Walker, Fiorello's competitor for mayor, meet. As one of the gang wants to have Fiorello killed at his public speech, Dora rushes to secretly warn Marie. However, Fiorello's campaign is in turmoil, with Ben being fired and his worry over Thea's deteriorating health. At LaGuardia's speech the gang's plan to kill him is foiled. But Thea dies, and Marie, Morris, and Neil have to tell Fiorello. The race for mayor is won by Jimmy Walker. Fiorello is inspired by tragedy to continue his campaign. In 1933 Ben and his political friends are again playing poker ("Little Tin Box"). Marie arrives and announces that she is quitting her job and will marry "The Very Next Man" who asks her. She convinces Ben to return to Fiorello to help him win the upcoming mayoral election. She then helps Fiorello to overcome his fears of losing and run again. He runs with Ben's help, and also asks Marie to marry him. She accepts and Fiorello finally becomes the mayor. Background and analysis[edit] The musical contains several songs built around a group of machine politicians. In "Politics and Poker", Republican machine politicians try to pick a congressional candidate in a district they consider hopeless, while playing a game of poker, and compare politics to poker.[3] The lyric is set to waltz tempo "to underscore the frivolity of their cynicism."[10] In "The Bum Won", these same politicians commiserate with one another after LaGuardia has won the election without their support. In "Little Tin Box", they imagine a series of Tammany politicians attempting to explain to a judge that their wealth came from their scrupulous habits of saving ("I can see Your Honor doesn't pull his punches/ And it looks a trifle fishy, I'll admit,/ But for one whole week I went without my lunches/ And it mounted up, Your Honor, bit by bit./ Up Your Honor, bit by bit.")[3] In "I Love a Cop", woman factory worker describes her hapless situation of having fallen in love with a policeman who was called out against a strike by her union; "The Name's La Guardia" has LaGuardia campaigning in English, Italian and Yiddish.[11] There is also a ragtime number, "Gentleman Jimmy" about bon vivant mayor James J. "Jimmy" Walker, and the comic "Marie's Law", in which Marie proposes a "law" about how husbands should treat their wives.[3] ("Every girl shall have a honeymoon, which will last at least a year,/ During which aforesaid honeymoon, every care shall disappear…".) Besides the invention of some peripheral characters, the musical changes some basic facts of LaGuardia's life. LaGuardia's first wife, Thea, died after only three years of marriage, but the fictional Thea lives another eight years, so that her death can be one more calamity during LaGuardia's unsuccessful 1929 mayoral campaign; also, the script downplays LaGuardia's generally successful congressional career to make him seem more of an outsider and increase the triumph of his eventual mayoral victory in 1933. Songs[edit]

Act I

"On the Side of the Angels" "Politics and Poker" "Unfair" "Marie's Law" "The Name's LaGuardia" "The Bum Won" "I Love a Cop" "I Love a Cop (reprise)" "Till Tomorrow" "Home Again"

Act II

"When Did I Fall in Love" "Gentleman Jimmy" "Gentleman Jimmy (reprise)" "The Name's LaGuardia (reprise)" "Little Tin Box" "The Very Next Man" "Politics and Poker
(reprise)" "The Very Next Man (reprise)" "The Name's LaGuardia (reprise)"

An additional song, "Where Do I Go from Here?" (originally written for Marie to sing in Act I) was cut out of town; it can be heard on the Liz Callaway album Lost in Boston (Varese Sarabande VSD-5475). "Till Tomorrow" and "Unfair" were written "on spec" before Bock and Harnick were hired for the show. "Little Tin Box" was added on the road in Philadelphia.[12] Critical response[edit] In his review for The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson
Brooks Atkinson
wrote: "...It is exciting; it is enjoyable and it is decent ... Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock
has set ... a bouncy score ... [A]s the writer of lyrics, Sheldon Harnick
Sheldon Harnick
is in an unfailingly humorous frame of mind ... [U]nder Mr. Abbott's invincible stage direction, the whole show comes alive with gusto ... [T]he cast could not be more winning or in better voice."[13] Louis Calta wrote: " 'Fiorello!' is the town's latest stage hit ... the attraction earned flowery praise from all of the New York drama critics."[14] Original cast album[edit] The original cast recording of Fiorello!
was made by Capitol Records on November 29, 1959, just six days after the show opened, and was released on December 14. The album debuted on Billboard's best-selling albums chart January 11, 1960, peaked at #7 and remained on the charts for 89 weeks. It has been reissued on CD twice, first by Capitol and then later in a much improved release on EMI's Broadway Angel label (CD #ZDM 7 65023-2). Awards and nominations[edit] Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result

1960 Tony Award Best Musical Won

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Tom Bosley Won

Howard Da Silva Nominated

Best Direction of a Musical George Abbott Won

Best Choreography Peter Gennaro Nominated

Best Conductor and Musical Director Hal Hastings Nominated

Best Scenic Design William and Jean Eckart Nominated

Pulitzer Prize for Drama Won


^ "Ernest L. Cuneo, 82; Owned Newspaper Service", The New York Times, March 5, 1988. Accessed April 23, 2010. ^ Esterow, Milton. "Bosley Can Boast A Perfect Record", The New York Times, October 28, 1961, p. 12 ^ a b c d Holden, Stephen."Review/Theater; La Guardia Administration In a Dramatic Comeback", New York Times, February 11, 1994 ^ Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth. "Pulitzer Prize-Winning 'Fiorello!' Returns to City Center Jan. 30; "New" Song Added" Playbill, January 30, 2013 ^ Clement, Olivia. "Acclaimed ' Fiorello!
'Revival to Arrive Off-Broadway" Playbill, August
2, 2016 ^ Viagas, Robert. "The Name's LaGuardia: 'Fiorello!' Musical Headed Off-Broadway This Fall" Playbill, July 6, 2016 ^ Plemmons, Chesley. "A CurtainUp Berkshire Review. 'Fiorello!'" curtainup.com, accessed August
3, 2016 ^ Fiorello!
c. 1960, Popular Library Edition, Random House, pp. 16, 42 ^ "Fiorello!". The Guide to the Musical Theatre. Retrieved December 9, 2010.  ^ Ostrow, Stuart. "Present at the Creation" (2006). Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 1-55783-646-9, p. 31 ^ Shea, Tom. "Broadway's Most Wanted" (2004). Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-596-0, pp. 123–124 ^ Frank Kelly, Unofficial Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock
and Sheldon Harnick
Sheldon Harnick
Appreciation Page, accessed January 1, 2010. ^ Atkinson, Brooks. New York Times, "Little Flower Blooms Again", November 24, 1959, p. 45 ^ Calta, Louis. New York Times, " Fiorello!
Gets Landslide Vote", November 25, 1959, p. 19

External links[edit]

at the Internet Broadway Database Fiorello!
at the Music Theatre International website Tony Awards listing for 1960, Musical Pulitzer Prize Winners by Category - Drama

v t e

Musicals by Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock
and Sheldon Harnick

The Body Beautiful Fiorello! Tenderloin To Broadway With Love She Loves Me Fiddler on the Roof The Apple Tree Baker Street The Rothschilds

v t e

Pulitzer Prize for Drama


Why Marry? (1918) Beyond the Horizon (1920) Miss Lulu Bett (1921) Anna Christie
Anna Christie
(1922) Icebound (1923) Hell-Bent Fer Heaven (1924) They Knew What They Wanted (1925) Craig's Wife
Craig's Wife
(1926) In Abraham's Bosom (1927) Strange Interlude
Strange Interlude
(1928) Street Scene (1929) The Green Pastures
The Green Pastures
(1930) Alison's House
Alison's House
(1931) Of Thee I Sing
Of Thee I Sing
(1932) Both Your Houses (1933) Men in White (1934) The Old Maid (1935) Idiot's Delight (1936) You Can't Take It with You (1937) Our Town
Our Town
(1938) Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1939) The Time of Your Life
The Time of Your Life
(1940) There Shall Be No Night (1941) The Skin of Our Teeth
The Skin of Our Teeth
(1943) Harvey (1945) State of the Union (1946) A Streetcar Named Desire (1948) Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
(1949) South Pacific (1950)


The Shrike (1952) Picnic (1953) The Teahouse of the August
Moon (1954) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
(1955) The Diary of Anne Frank (1956) Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey into Night
(1957) Look Homeward, Angel (1958) J.B. (1959) Fiorello!
(1960) All the Way Home (1961) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962) The Subject Was Roses (1965) A Delicate Balance (1967) The Great White Hope
The Great White Hope
(1969) No Place to be Somebody (1970) The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1971) That Championship Season (1973) Seascape (1975)


A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line
(1976) The Shadow Box (1977) The Gin Game (1978) Buried Child
Buried Child
(1979) Talley's Folly
Talley's Folly
(1980) Crimes of the Heart (1981) A Soldier's Play (1982) 'night, Mother (1983) Glengarry Glen Ross
Glengarry Glen Ross
(1984) Sunday in the Park with George
Sunday in the Park with George
(1985) Fences (1987) Driving Miss Daisy (1988) The Heidi Chronicles
The Heidi Chronicles
(1989) The Piano Lesson (1990) Lost in Yonkers
Lost in Yonkers
(1991) The Kentucky Cycle (1992) Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (1993) Three Tall Women (1994) The Young Man from Atlanta
The Young Man from Atlanta
(1995) Rent (1996) How I Learned to Drive (1998) Wit (1999) Dinner with Friends (2000)


Proof (2001) Topdog/Underdog (2002) Anna in the Tropics (2003) I Am My Own Wife
I Am My Own Wife
(2004) Doubt: A Parable (2005) Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole
(2007) August: Osage County (2008) Ruined (2009) Next to Normal
Next to Normal
(2010) Clybourne Park (2011) Water by the Spoonful (2012) Disgraced
(2013) The Flick (2014) Between Riverside and Crazy (2015) Hamilton (2016) Sweat (2017)

v t e

Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Musical


Kiss Me, Kate
Kiss Me, Kate
(1949) South Pacific (1950) Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls
(1951) The King and I
The King and I
(1952) Wonderful Town
Wonderful Town
(1953) Kismet (1954) The Pajama Game
The Pajama Game
(1955) Damn Yankees
Damn Yankees
(1956) My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
(1957) The Music Man
The Music Man
(1958) Redhead (1959) The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music
/ Fiorello!
(1960) Bye Bye Birdie
Bye Bye Birdie
(1961) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
(1963) Hello, Dolly! (1964) Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof
(1965) Man of La Mancha
Man of La Mancha
(1966) Cabaret (1967) Hallelujah, Baby!
Hallelujah, Baby!
(1968) 1776 (1969) Applause (1970) Company (1971) Two Gentlemen of Verona (1972) A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music
(1973) Raisin (1974) The Wiz
The Wiz


A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line
(1976) Annie (1977) Ain't Misbehavin' (1978) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979) Evita (1980) 42nd Street (1981) Nine (1982) Cats (1983) La Cage aux Folles (1984) Big River (1985) Drood
(1986) Les Misérables (1987) The Phantom of the Opera (1988) Jerome Robbins' Broadway
Jerome Robbins' Broadway
(1989) City of Angels (1990) The Will Rogers Follies (1991) Crazy for You (1992) Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) Passion (1994) Sunset Boulevard (1995) Rent (1996) Titanic (1997) The Lion King (1998) Fosse
(1999) Contact (2000)


The Producers (2001) Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) Hairspray (2003) Avenue Q
Avenue Q
(2004) Monty Python's Spamalot
(2005) Jersey Boys
Jersey Boys
(2006) Spring Awakening (2007) In the Heights
In the Heights
(2008) Billy Elliot the Musical
Billy Elliot the Musical
(2009) Memphis (2010) The Book of Mormon (2011) Once (2012) Kinky Boots (2013) A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
(2014) Fun Home (2015) Hamilton (2016) Dear