City Center's Encores production of Fiorello!opens today, more than 50 years after the musical's premiere. The Playbill Vault revisits a vintage Playbill from the show's Broadway run.
Fiorello! opened Nov. 23, 1959, at the Broadhurst Theatre. The musical featured lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, music by Jerry Bock and direction by George Abbott. Film star Mickey Rooney was reportedly in talks to make his Broadway debut in the title role, but the part went instead to the unknown Tom Bosley in a star-making turn.
At the 1960 Tony Awards, Bosley earned a Tony for his featured performance, and Fiorello! made a bit of Tony history: a tie resulted in Fiorello! and The Sound of Music sharing the 1960 award for Best Musical. The following month, Fiorello! become the third musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The production enjoyed a 796-performance run; Bosley played all 796 performances.