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FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Pammylicious 2013-01-30 12:39:05


Tonight 1/30 marks the first performance of Encores! Fiorello. Seven performances at City Center. Looking forward to seeing what folks have to say.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by SondheimFan5 2013-01-30 13:04:56


Tonight is press opening right? Or was the final dress the press night?

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Pammylicious 2013-01-30 13:20:36


The 7:30 start seems like a regular opening night. Press is probably included.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by henrikegerman 2013-01-30 14:13:23


Anyone know if "Where Do I Go From Here?" has been put back in.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by AC126748 2013-01-30 14:18:11


Critics will be seeing the show tonight, but reviews will appear in Friday's papers.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2013-01-30 23:02:14


I love this show, I love this show! Floyd wasn't the only one swept off his big flat feet tonight!

Well, Encores has done it again. I can't concentrate long enough to type a coherent sentence because I can't slow down my mind and stop singing the songs.

I guess the first order of business is to beg for a recording. The OBCR is WONDERFUL, but as it turns out is fairly truncated. I mean, the Entr'acte isn't even on there. This is the perfect opportunity to finally give us a complete recording.

Jenn Gambatese is a delight as Dora. I Love a Cop was so funny and there's a dance break after the song not on the OBCR, as well as a funny reprise with a surprise I won't spoil.

Mitzi really is a tiny role, but Emily Skinner nails her song. The four dancers that finish off the number are more polished than group of dancers you'll find on a Broadway stage.

Erin Dilly is a spunky Marie, and yes she sings the revised lyric in Marry the Very Next Man.

I don't know when I fell in love with Kate Baldwin. I don't remember the crashing chord, but it was long before tonight. This was more a renewal of our vows. She gave me chills all over my body.

As a lover of flops it was a treat to see Danny Rutigliano play Fiorello, who made his Broadway debut as Ralph, the taxi driver who founded Stallion Fields in The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public!! He really was excellent. He carries the bulk of the book, and has a soliloquy-type reprise of The Name's LaGuardia in Act Two. The rough and tough, but also lovable.

The true scene stealers though are the male ensemble and Shuler Hensley. When's the last time a new show let the males sing two songs as brilliant as Politics and Poker and Little Tin Box? Even though each one of them only had a handful of lines they each managed to develop a unique personality. They weren't just a cookie cutter lineup- they were all characters, which is so refreshing to see.

Bock and Harnick have always been a favorite composing team of mine and their score is done much justice here.

Bottom line: Go see this show!!!

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by tazber 2013-01-31 06:34:37


I'm still crushed that we never got an Apple Tree recording, another underrated Bock and Harnick gem.

Fiorello is another favorite of mine. Little Tin Box was one of the songs that I first heard when I was discovering musical theater, and it helped cement my love for the form.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by mamaleh 2013-01-31 09:52:08


I'm afraid "Where Do I Go From Here?" was not restored; too bad, it's a lovely song. I've liked it ever since that first "Lost in Boston" CD.

I really liked the production, flaws and all. I've loved the OCR since my early teens when I became seriously interested in musical theater, but never saw a mounting of the show until now. Shuler Hensley braved on admirably, seemingly fighting a respiratory infection. But heck, his gravelly voice fit the character of Ben. Jenn Gambatese was delightful in her character numbers, Emily Skinner did a sassy "Gentleman Jimmy," and Kate Baldwin and Erin Dilly soared beautifully.

The ending is surprisingly abrupt, but that's a small quibble. Very glad I went.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by PalJoey 2013-01-31 10:29:29


I love when Whizzer posts reviews like that.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2013-01-31 11:00:23


Well PalJoey, I love when I can see shows like this! How much rehearsal time do these actors get? Two weeks? It's incredible what they do at Encores, and at the consistent rate that they turn out exemplary work.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by AC126748 2013-01-31 11:44:43


I'm not sure if it's changed, but the Encores rehearsal period used to be 9 days.

Seeing this tonight. Excited.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by TalkinLoud 2013-01-31 12:21:10


Seeing this tonight. I'm excited!

What was the approximate run time yesterday?

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by bwaylvsong 2013-01-31 13:13:04


I don't know about this particular production, but the one I saw clocked in to just under 3 hours, like 2:50 or so.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by WithoutATrace 2013-01-31 13:24:47


The show last night was about 2 hours and 30 minutes, and I have to echo Whizzer's comments. The show was absolutely wonderful. I honestly loved every single minute of it. The Encores series brings so much joy to my life, and this production of Fiorello was no exception.

If you are on the fence about seeing this, do not hesitate to buy a ticket. The balcony was very full last night, so I do hope it is selling well.

Congrats to all involved!

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by WestVillage 2013-01-31 13:29:09


I saw it last night too, and was less than impressed. I just don't think it is that great of a show. Emily Skinner is wasted, Kate Baldwin kept going in and out of an Italian accent, Danny Rutigliano was not very interesting and didn't make Fiorello seem like a compelling enough character to have a musical written about him. Choreography was basic without an ounce of excitement. Just thought it was bland and charmless.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Lefou 2013-01-31 13:42:32


Going to have to agree with WestVillage on this one...The cast they assembled is stellar (save for Danny Rutigliano who got lucky since they couldn't find anybody else...)

The production value was weak and that choreography was seriously just terrible! I think it's a very charming show, and is nice to bring Encores! back to its roots, but I feel like this fell really flat. Shame, really.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-01-31 22:02:48


"I'm afraid "Where Do I Go From Here?" was not restored; too bad, it's a lovely song. I've liked it ever since that first "Lost in Boston" CD. "

It's prob my fave song from any of the Lost in Boston releases--but I think it would be hard to restore--the role was cut.

I saw a production of this at the Edmonton Fringe last Summer put on by a pretty good (with two great leads) group who puts on lesser heard musicals. I loved the show--I loved the score. But I have to agree with Ben Brantley on these points:

"But there’s one other trait that makes “Fiorello!” ideal Encores! fare and that makes me happy it’s come around a second time, since I missed the 1994 staging. Unlike Encores! presentations like “Chicago” and “Wonderful Town,” “Fiorello!” isn’t apt to skip over to Broadway and settle into a long run. It exudes an idealistic peppiness, especially regarding its white knight of a hero, that confines it to the era whence it came.

That doesn’t mean that “Fiorello!” is without distinctive charms, starting with its bevy of buoyant songs by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, who would go on to the greater glory of “Fiddler on the Roof.” "

But I would definitely agree that in a way--like Pipe Dream last year, it's a nice change for Encores which lately seemed to be focusing more and more on producing shows that they wanted to show *have* the potential for a major commercial revival.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by matineeidol2013 2013-01-31 23:51:48


Saw the production tonite and was quite charmed by it. Cast was uniformly strong and the direction was very clear and well paced. Unlike above comments I thought the choreography was spectacular. And who can resist that full, gorgeous orchestra?? Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket!

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by henrikegerman 2013-02-01 00:11:10


Eric, who was the character "Where Do I Go From Here?" was written for? I assumed it was Marie's song. I just checked wikipedia and it says it was for Marie in Act l.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-02-01 01:23:12


I saw it tonight and really wanted to like it more than I did. A nice score with some of the most bland Encores staging I've ever seen in my life. I think I would have enjoyed it more just listening to it at home.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by NewYorkTheater 2013-02-01 10:03:27


“Fiorello,” a musical about the beloved LaGuardia’s pre-mayoral career and love life, might be close to the perfect musical for the Encores! series, although it is far from the perfect musical. The good match is not just because “Fiorello” launched the series or because Mayor LaGuardia is the reason why City Center still survives ... “Fiorello” is close to the perfect musical for Encores! in part *because* it is far from the perfect musical — something that wouldn’t really work as a long run on Broadway anymore....

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Rainbowhigh23 2013-02-01 11:52:55


"I saw it tonight and really wanted to like it more than I did. A nice score with some of the most bland Encores staging I've ever seen in my life. I think I would have enjoyed it more just listening to it at home."

So it's worth it to just get the cheap balcony seats and forget the binoculars then?

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-02-01 11:55:06


Yeah about that - those cheap balcony seats are now $60.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Rainbowhigh23 2013-02-01 12:00:28


Aww crap, I missed the $24 Theatermania blast

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by macnyc 2013-02-01 12:06:30


I'm in the mezzanine for $62, but I don't know if any more seats remain at that price. That is more money than Cotton Club Parade (which was only $30 for roughly the same location), and $89 for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (using a discount code). TDF also had Fiorello seats available earlier.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Pammylicious 2013-02-01 12:11:12


I'm going tonight....got row G in the mezz for $24 two weeks ago.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Rainbowhigh23 2013-02-01 12:55:40


I almost bought those tickets! I have another show I'm going to tonight. I think I'll get the last two seats in the balcony in Row H for Sunday matinee. So many orchestra tickets available for the Sunday night from those who can't go!

I was able to get Row K in balcony for $24 for tomorrow's matinee. Will be bringing my binoculars to get a good glimpse of Emily Skinner in Act 2.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Pammylicious 2013-02-01 15:45:45


Do you think they will have a moment of silence tonight for Ed Koch, the other crazy mayor of NYC....just a thought.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by goldenboy 2013-02-02 10:48:22




Went last night and there was no moment of silence for Mayor Koch---but somehow his presence was felt in the room.

I have never been a huge fan of the score from the original cast recording much preferring Bock and Harnick's She Loves Me, Tenderloin, Rothchild's and of course Fiddler, but hearing it with a full orchestra totally highlighted its strengths. I am looking forward to a fuller richer recording of this and do hope they record it to enhance the mediocre OBC.

This is my second viewing of Fiorello. This Fiorello was far better than the Reprise Version in Los Angeles with Tony Danza.
Tony Danza made it feel like the Tony Danza show and not the Fiorello LaGuardia story. That version made me feel like Fiorello is an over-rated show. Pulitzer Prize?? You're kidding me.



This version was far superior. I almost understood it's Pulitzer Prize as this Fiorello was much larger on the humanity. Danny Rutigliano gives a strong and interesting performance as Fiorello. I don't know why some of the critics were iffy about him. Having an unknown in the role made me plug into the story better. He was an optimistic go getter but I got to feel and understand his pain as New York doesn't vote for him the first time around as Mayor. I loved the addition of the new song for Fiorello. It was Fiorello's answer to "Rose's Turn" and it added to the humanity of Fiorello and showed his vulnerability.

The staging of this was well done and I really got involved in the story.


I thought the choreography was spot on as were the dancers.

The beautiful Kate Baldwin, was glaringly miscast as an Italian woman. She needs to be back in Gloccamorra like places where she belongs. Her When Did I Fall In Love stressed the singing more than the acting. Emily Skinner was in fine voice and bravura prescence but when she came out with her hair down, it seemed totally out of period as was her costume. It was like the 1980's Cabaret dress plunked down in the middle of the 1930's. She was in strong voice however and her performance batted it out of the park--just an odd choice of dress and hair.

Shuler Hensley, Adam Heller, Andrew Samonsky were all spot on as was Erin Dilly as Marie and Jenn Gambatese who was lots of fun as Dora.

Overall, a solid fluid well sung and orchestrated production which made me appreciate Fiorello much more than I had in the past. . The singing and orchestra were rich and I look forward to a cast recording.



FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by goldenboy 2013-02-02 10:49:58


Encores is quite special --putting on lost (and not so lost) musicals that are ready for (or almost ready for) Broadway in record short rehearsal time. Gentlemen Prefer Blonde's was very impressive and that made me hope that Randy Skinnner would choreograph more on Broadway than he does now. Pipe Dream was quite odd but so good to finally see a production of it.

Wish they'd do Dear World, Henry Sweet Henry, I Had a Ball!
Never saw those shows.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-02-02 14:16:08


Henrik in the Lost in Boston notes it says the character was cut out of town... It would make sense, though, for Marie to sing it--but I can't see why such a great song would be cut, then?

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by henrikegerman 2013-02-02 16:11:20


Thanks, Eric, seems to be a conflict between the LIB notes and Wikipedia. So, who knows (although certainly the LIB notes one would think might be more reliable).

As to why they would have cut it had it been Marie's, my theory was always that they might have preferred an upbeat, comic torch song to a ballad; hence "Where Do I Go...?" out, "Marie's Law" in (put in the perspective of that long tradition of lovelorn women not getting anywhere romantically with their bosses, they opted for "You Can Always Count on Me" type tone rather than a "The Gentlemen is a Dope" one... bad, example as that's also somewhat upbeat but you get the idea).



FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by muscle23ftl 2013-02-03 02:39:20


I had a great time! The show was lovely, the guy playing Fiorello La Guardia was absolute perfection! And the whole cast was very strong. Erin Dilly was fabulous, glad to see her in a role where she can showcase her talents, the same goes for Kate Baldwin, who got to use her higher register a lot in this show. Jenn Gambatese also got to sing with her lovely soprano voice, Jenn is dream come true, there is nothing she can't do! Brilliant performances by the entire cast.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Greatwhiteway3 2013-02-03 07:31:58


Goldenboy "The beautiful Kate Baldwin, was glaringly miscast as an Italian woman. She needs to be back in Gloccamorra like places where she belongs."

AGREE. Love Kate, but she was cast because she is friends with Sheldon Harnick,

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/arts/music/kate-baldwin-at-feinsteins-review.html?_r=0

,and also Encores casting agent Jay Binder and Artistic Director Jack Viertel, both whom she worked with on Finian's.

Sometimes it's not how right you are for the part. but whose buddy you are...

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by henrikegerman 2013-02-03 07:52:32


I enjoyed it. Encores did a very nice job and it is well worth seeing.

But I was surprised that it's really nothing more - or less - than a pleasant, enjoyable musical with a rather thin book and bouncy songs. I don't doubt Abbott's original production was very strong, but how it possibly won the Pulitzer in the year of Raisin in the Sun, Gypsy, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Tenth Man, The Sound of Music, I will never understand.



FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by AC126748 2013-02-03 13:17:09


Henrik, I couldn't judge the book of this--or any--musical based on how Encores presents it. They heavily edit and present the books as "concert adaptations". This is the only production of FIORELLO I've seen, but the friend I went with (who knows the show quite well) informed me there had been quite a lot of cutting from the book.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-02-03 13:18:22


From what I understand they absolutely massacred the book.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by henrikegerman 2013-02-03 13:24:52


Thanks for that AC and Jordan, it helps to possibly explain why this show could have received its acclaim..

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by frontrowcentre2 2013-02-03 20:36:55


I don't know how much the Encores staging trimmed from the script, but if you are curious it was published in book form when the show was new (as were most musicals then) and later (1975) re-published in Stanley Richards' book GREAT MUSICALS OF THE AMERICAN THEATRE Volume 2.

There are longish book scenes between the songs, and if one is to read the script without the musical numbers it paints a fairly compelling portrait of Laguardia - documenting his ongoing battle with Tammany Hall. It is likely on the strength of these scenes that the Pulitzer was awarded. Capitol's original cast album preserves the songs, but without the book scenes they do not have the same impact. Also, as a George Abbott show, it includes many numbers designed to please the traditional "tired businessman" audience of the day. (Which explains why "Mitzi" and some chorus girls turn up in an Act Two part scene to do a tap routine supposedly from a current hit Broadway revue. Such specialties were very rare by the end of the Rogers and Hammerstein era, but Abbott still saw their value.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by D2 2013-02-03 21:26:17


They did massacre the book -- at times it seemed like they were just going from song cue to song cue.

At least in the first act. I didn't stay for the second. It was a major disappointment for me. I soooo wanted to love it. And I soooo didn't.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Scarywarhol 2013-02-03 21:32:45


I saw the Encores production and liked it well enough, but did think it seemed awfully thin in the book, even for a musical of its age. Can someone who knows elaborate on the major cuts?

frontrowcentre2, it's interesting that much of the cut material had to do with his battles with Tammany Hall. It seemed to get real short shrift, considering that it's a huge part of Laguardia's legacy.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by AC126748 2013-02-03 21:53:48


I stayed for both acts, although mostly because my companion wanted to. I have to echo D2's sentiments. I tried to love it, but I didn't. The score has some knockouts. But Rutigliano, Dilly, and Baldwin were all pretty underwhelming. Gambatese and Hensley walked away with their numbers and the show. Skinner was doing her Emily Skinner act, but at least she was lively and fun. Easily the least fun I've ever had at an Encores staging.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by D2 2013-02-03 22:19:56


I just re-read the first act. No book scenes were missing, but a lot of individual lines that established character relationships and motivations were trimmed to the bone or cut completely.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by matineeidol2013 2013-02-03 22:40:25


Spoke with Kate Baldwin's husband, actor Graham Rowat today; he says shes been battling laryngitis for the entire run! She sounded just as perfect and angelic as usual when I heard her Thursday evening. What a trooper!

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by newintown 2013-02-04 09:54:53


I thought she sounded lovely, but her accent veered wildly between Ireland and Italy.

Pleasant enough evening; the senior citizens around me were in heaven whenever they were awake.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by Rainbowhigh23 2013-02-04 13:00:59


Wow! She sounded fine while singing but her eyes looked a little wonky up close; the same way Patti's eyes looked the night before she called out sick at 54 Below.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by RaisedOnMusicals 2013-02-04 14:25:46


On Saturday night, the only time I heard her veer into any accent was when she said, "Fiorello", rolling the R in a very heavilly Itlalian accented way. It did sound a bit out of place, as it sort of came out of the blue. Her singing was impeccable.

FIORELLO! at City Center REViEWS
Posted by macnyc 2013-02-04 18:35:30


Her singing was lovely. I was at the Sunday matinee. I think she did drop whatever accent she had been attempting in the earlier shows.