Fiorello!

Fiorello! is a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, a reform Republican who took on Tammany Hall. The book is by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock.

It originally opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on November 23, 1959 and ran for 796 performances. It is one of only seven musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was directed by George Abbott with choreography by Peter Gennaro. Tom Bosley originated the title role opposite Howard Da Silva as the Republican machine boss Ben Marino. The cast featured Ellen Hanley as Thea, Pat Stanley as Dora and Patricia Wilson as Marie.

The story follows the life of Fiorello H. La Guardia (1882-1947) during World War I and ten years later. As Mayor of New York City, La Guardia beats the odds and reforms city politics by helping end Tammany Hall’s vaunted political machine and by fighting vice and corruption. Meanwhile, he falls in love with his loyal secretary, Maria, and they eventually marry. Some inaccuracies about LaGuardia’s life exist in the musical in order to increase the triumph of his mayoral victory.

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