30 Jan 2013
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.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.