Tony Lo Bianco Reprises Role in MNA Productions' THE LITTLE FLOWER, Opening Off-Broadway 10/23
MNA Productions, Inc. announces that Tony Lo Bianco will reprise his award-winning role as Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in THE LITTLE FLOWER, which begins performances Off-Broadway on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 (Opening Night) at the Dicapo Opera Theatre (184 East 76th Street between Lexington and 3rd Ave). Written and directed by Mr. Lo Bianco, adapted from the play Hizzoner! by Paul Shyre, THE LITTLE FLOWER will play a special limited-run through Friday, November 2, 2012. Tickets for THE LITTLE FLOWER are $40 - $50 and are on sale now via SmartTix.com (212-868-4444).
A solo play set in the office of Fiorello H. La Guardia on his final day as a three-term Mayor of New York City in 1945, THE LITTLE FLOWER presents a historic look into the life and career of the great statesman. A champion of the poor and underprivileged, La Guardia’s voice resonated throughout America, and he became a father figure to millions that lived through the hard times of the 1930s and 40s. He transcended political party barriers, running as a Fusion Party Mayor, and held strong convictions on family values, inflation, women’s suffrage, financial responsibility, education, unions, political corruption and prohibition. A courageous and flamboyant personality who cleaned up city politics and also made the time to read the comics on the radio to children during a newspaper strike, La Guardia set a new standard for American politics.
THE LITTLE FLOWER is a new version of a play that originated as Hizzoner! Originally written by Paul Shyre and directed by John Going, Hizzoner! was first performed at The Egg - Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts in Albany in 1983. It was then filmed for WNET Public Television (with narration by Ed Koch) in 1984, winning five Emmy Awards, including one for Lo Bianco. After several out-of-town performances, the play was presented on Broadway in 1989. After, Shyre’s death in 1989, Lo Bianco continued to both perform (nationally and internationally, including special performances in Moscow, Russia) and develop the play. This new version is being presented for the first time as THE LITTLE FLOWER.
Tony Lo Bianco is an award-winning writer, director, and producer who has had the privilege to collaborate with many of the brightest creative minds in the performing arts, both past and present, throughout his distinguished career. On stage, Mr. Lo Bianco won an Obie Award for Best Actor for the Off-Broadway production of Jonathan Reynolds’ Yanks-3, Detroit-0, Top of the 7th . On Broadway, his memorable performance as Eddie in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge earned him a Tony Award nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actor. On film, he starred as Sal Boca in the Academy Award-winning film The French Connection opposite Gene Hackman, and as Ray Fernandez in cult classic The Honeymoon Killers. He co-starred in such films as The Seven-Ups with Roy Scheider, Bloodbrothers with Richard Gere, F.I.S.T. with Sylvester Stallone, City Heat with Clint Eastwood, Oliver Stone’s Nixon with Anthony Hopkins, The Juror with Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore, and Jerry Schatzberg’s The Day the Ponies Came Home. His most recent film appearance was 2011’s Kill the Irishman alongside Vincent D’Onfrio, Val Kilmer, and Christopher Walken. For his work in television, Mr. Lo Bianco won a New York Area Television Academy Award and a Daytime Emmy Award for “Hizzoner! The Life of Fiorello La Guardia.” A former Golden Gloves boxer, he starred as fighter Rocky Marciano in 1979’s “Marciano,” and also appeared in the 1999 remake, “Rocky Marciano” with Jon Favreau and George C. Scott. He starred in Franco Zeffirelli’s acclaimed 1977 mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth” with Robert Powell and Laurence Olivier, the 1982 miniseries “Marco Polo,” and La Romana with Gina Lollobridida, for which he earned the Festival International Canne Fipe D’Or- Best Actor Award in 1989. Other television movies include starring in “The Last Tenant” opposite legendary acting teacher Lee Strasberg; “The Ann Jillian Story;” and “The Engagement Ring,” opposite Patricia Heaton and Lainie Kazan. He has also appeared over the years in several episodes of the renowned police series “Law & Order” and “Homicide,” having starred in many episodes of the groundbreaking series “Police Story,” and directing several others. His other directing credits include the feature film Too Scared to Scream, and several other television series. Mr. Lo Bianco co-founded the Triangle Theater in 1963. He served as the theater’s artistic director for six years - during which time lighting designer Jules Fisher, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jason Miller, and actor Roy Scheider passed through its doors – directing eight productions and producing twenty-five others. The Triangle actively continues to produce theatre on the Upper East Side today. A proud Brooklyn-born New Yorker and Italian-American, Mr. Lo Bianco served as the National Spokesperson for the Order Sons of Italy. His many humanitarian efforts have earned multiple awards, including The New York’s Finest Foundation Humanitarian Award; FDNY Columbia Association Italian American of the Year Award; Law Enforcement Support Foundation of America Award; Man of the Year for Outstanding Contributions to the Italian-American Community from the Police Society of New Jersey; a Man of the Year Award from the State of New Jersey Senate; a Lifetime Entertainment Award from the Columbus Day Parade Committee; the 1997 Golden Lion Award; the Humanitarian Award of the Boys' Town of Italy; Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award; Heartshare Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award; Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award; Glaucoma Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee Award.