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Fiorello! (1959 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording

4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, September 18, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

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The team of composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick came up with only six shows--but what shows! In addition to the phenomenally successful Fiddler on the Roof, aficionados usually gush about 1963's She Loves Me and 1959's Fiorello!. The latter turned a not particularly appetizing topic--the years leading to Fiorello LaGuardia's election as mayor of New York--into a great musical. (It even won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, only the third musical to do so.) Harnick and Bock's versatility was in evidence as they wrote numbers in every Broadway style: novelty, ballad (about sweatshops), duet (the absurdly catchy and funny "Marie's Law"), and, of course, a rousing number that doesn't really fit anywhere but is so good that it simply must be included (Eileen Rodgers's "Gentleman Jimmy"). This may be one of the wittiest, most melodic shows you've never heard. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jerry Bock, Patricia Wilson, Nathaniel Frey, Ellen Hanley, Tom Bosley, et al.
  • Composer: Jerry Bock
  • Audio CD (September 18, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Angel
  • ASIN: B000002SOJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,523 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When I read the following phrase in the review which will (soon enough) be directly below mine - "The music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (best known for "Fiddler on the Roof") are certainly not spectacular" - I just had to add my two cents. "Fiorello" is spectacularly brilliant!
Here's just a snippet of Sheldon Harnick's masterful lyrics:
From "Unfair": "Must we sew and sew solely to survive/So some low so-and-so can thrive?/NO!!! He'll fry in Hades/If it's up to the ladies/Waistmakers' Union, Local 25!"
From "I Love a Cop": "Then there's Thea...Oh, how gruesome!/Can you see me introduce 'em?/'You remember her? She detested you./You remember him? He arrested you.'"
From "Marie's Law": "Here's another law we women'll/Do our best to legislate:/It shall be completely criminal/For a man to break a date./Each offender shall be rapidly thrown in jail where he belongs./Thus we'll write our Bill of Wrongs."
They just don't write them like that anymore (sigh).
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
FIORELLO! is a lovely, ahead-of-its-time musical, based on the career of New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia. It starred Tom Bosley as La Guardia with a dream cast including Ellen Hanley, Pat Stanley and Eileen Rodgers.
The score, an early collaboration from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (SHE LOVES ME, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) is very strong, and includes several show-pieces like "Politics and Poker", "Little Tin Box" and "On the Side of the Angels".
Ellen Hanley (who had previously been criminally under-used as Polly Bergen's understudy in FIRST IMPRESSIONS) glows in the role of feisty Thea, the sweatshop workers' leader. She has two of the score's best ballads, "'Til Tomorrow" and "When Did I Fall in Love".
Pat Stanley (who earned a Tony for her performance in the disastrous GOLDILOCKS) gets the cute number "I Love a Cop". Eileen Rodgers (who later starred in a successful off-Broadway revival of ANYTHING GOES) sings the showstopping "Gentleman Jimmy", a manic flapper tune. FIORELLO! is a fantastic show in that it has no less than 3 strong female roles.
For those who only started following Tom Bosley's career during his 'Happy Days', the fact that he was a top-drawer musical theater talent will come as a big surprise. Bosley played the entire run of 795 performances. Bosley later made many more successful Broadway appearances including BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and (as of this review's writing) a triumphant stint in the Sam Mendes revival of CABARET.
This lovely reissue on the Angel Broadway label sounds as fresh as paint. An excellent remaster job and an excellent cast album.
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Format: Audio CD
FIORELLO was the 3rd musical in history to be awarded the Pulizer Prize for drama. It also won the Tony award for Best Musical of the season (1959-60). After a successful Broadway run the show closed and has seldom been seen since. No movie was made. No TV adaptation. Nothing. A shame because this show has a wonderful score (preserved here) and the book is very well written.
Broadway Angel has done their customary outstanding job transferring this early stero recording to CD and the extensive liner notes in the booklet provide fascinating information about the creation of this musical. The booklet also includes a detailed synopsis.
Outstanding numbers: Politics and Poker; Till Tomorrow; Litle Tin Box; and (one of the best love songs ever written for the stage) When Did I Fall in love?
The cast is good. A young Tom Bosley played Fiorello H. Laguardia. Not the greatest singing voice but then he only sings the title song. (The show is constucted so that Fiorello does not sing except during his campaign speech...all the other characters sing about him. Another innovation.) Ellen Hanley as his loving wife has a somewhat overipe operatric voice (with a bit of a wobble) but it's so in character that she makes her big number (When Did I Fall in Love?) all the more dramatic. Actually the same comment applies to most of the cast: The voices are not terribly musical but so loaded with character that they sound real. And Sheldon Harick's lyrics are dazzlingly conversational.
Get the Cd - then petition your local community group to revive the show. (A Broadway revival of this one is needed!)
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Format: Audio CD
FIORELLO!, with Tom ("Happy Days") Bosley in the title role, ran a whopping 795 performances, nearly two full years, a very long run for a 1950s Broadway musical. It tells the story of Fiorello LaGuardia's struggle against corrupt Tammany Hall politics, his election as U.S. Congressman and subsequent defeat in his first run for Mayor of New York City against Jimmy ("Gentleman Jim") Walker. The full-bodied score matches characters to songs very well, whether it's the cynical "Politics and Poker" by an all-male group of pols, or Pat Stanley's rousing solo, "I Love a Cop." In so doing, song styles of the Teens and Twenties are exploited to the max for the benefit of a nostalgic audience.

Despite several revivals, though, FIORELLO has not exercised a hold on memory as much as other successful musicals of the era. Perhaps that's because of the highly Noo Yawk milieu of the show, or perhaps because there are no hit breakout tunes on the order of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from GYPSY or "Hey, Look Me Over" from REDHEAD, or THE SOUND OF MUSIC, in which practically every song is a hit. It's good listening in this re-mastered version, but perhaps not in the very first rank of collectible CD's of Broadway musicals.
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