Pietro Garinei, Lyricist and Leader of Rome's Teatro Sistina, Is Dead at 87

Obituaries   Pietro Garinei, Lyricist and Leader of Rome's Teatro Sistina, Is Dead at 87
Pietro Garinei, the veteran impresario of Rome’s Teatro Sistina, died May 9 in a Rome hospital at the age of 87.

Along with late creative partner Sandro Giovannini, he wrote some of the most successful Italian musical comedies, creating the famous “couple” Garinei & Giovannini, which became so popular to be sometimes credited on the billboards just as “G & G.”

All the most famous Italian theatre and film stars, such as Alberto Sordi, Marcello Mastroianni, Wanda Osiris, Nino Manfredi, Renato Rascel, Johnny Dorelli, Gigi Proietti and Domenico Modugno, appeared at some time of their career on the stage of Teatro Sistina in one of his musical comedies. Although his shows drew heavily on the tradition of the Broadway musical, he reinterpreted that tradition with a typical Italian taste and developed a truly indigenous “genre.”

His most popular hits, which have been often reprised on the stage of Teatro Sistina and in the largest houses around the country include Rugantino, Aggiugni un posto a tavola, Rinaldo in campo and Alleluja, brava gente. His latest show as a director was Vacanze Romane (Roman Holidays), a musical comedy which featured music by Armando Trovajoli and was inspired by the famous film by William Wyler which starred Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. He was working for a new musical inspired by the feature film “Pocketfull of Miracles” by Frank Capra, which is scheduled to open next season.

Some of the songs of his shows have become classics in the Italian culture: among them “Roma, nun fa’ la stupida stasera” (“Rome, Don’t Be Silly Tonight”), “Arrivederci Roma”, and “Domenica è sempre domenica” (“Sunday Is Always Sunday”), which was used in the opening titles of one of Italian tv’s most famous shows ever, “Il Musichiere.”

Garinei and Giovannini’s most successful show ever, Rugantino, after a triumphant run in Rome, landed on Broadway in 1964 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, where it played a total of 28 performances and one preview, starring Nino Manfredi in the role of the title, Ornella Vanoni in the role of Rosetta and Aldo Fabrizi in the role of Mastro Titta. Rome’s mayor Walter Veltroni honored Mr. Garinei in Rome’s Campidoglio on May 10. The funeral service will take place on May 11.

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