Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Fiorello!"

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note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Larry Stark


"Fiorello!"

Book by Jerome Weidman & George Abbot
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Frank Roberts
Music Direction & Orchestrations by Barry Singer
Choreography by Charley Borden

Set Design by Matt Woods
Lighting Design by Stu Kazin
Costume Design & Construction by Linda Burtt
Sound Design by Fred Cohen
Production Managers Don Richardson & Richard Sullivan
Stage Manager Marsha Jackson

Fiorello LaGuardia..........David Giagrando
Dora.........................Eileen Parsons
Thea.........................Sheri Ziccardi
Marie.............................Ann McCoy
Mitzi Travers...................Beth Martin
Ben Marino........................Joe Daisy
Floyd McDuff...................Tom Lawrence
Neil.........................Cliff Liberman
Morris......................Larry Labagnara
Mrs. Pomerantz..............Jamie Steinbach
Mrs. Lopez/Ensemble.............Amy DeMarco
Mr. Zapatella/Ensemble............Don Hovey
Newsboy.......................Dan Eggleston
Senator/Police Commissioner.......Brian Ott
Frankie Scarpini/Ensemble...Brian Brannigan
Florence/Ensemble.............Kim Eggleston
POLITICAL HACKS
Peter Ambler, Thomas Andrews, David Kehs, Bob Pascucci, Michael Roth, Ben Stevens
ENSEMBLE
Diane Cohen, Libby Fallon, Melinda Mogel, Jennifer Powers

ORCHESTRA
Piano.............Barry Singer
Reed I............Wayne Demsey
Reed II.............Jeri Sykes
Trumpet..........Gerry Barrett
Trombone..........Robyn M. Amy
Bass.........Chahan Nercessian
Drums........Samuel W. Karroll

What a delightful musical! It's an "old style" musical, with a clear and integrated balance between good songs and swift dialogue, unique characters and multi-level interacting stories, satire, history, full-throated patriotism, and even a quartet of leggy ladies tap-dancing in short skirts and smiles for the men in Bald-Head Row. And even without amplifiers, the voices on stage can be clearly heard over the heads of excellent musicians on the orchestra pit. What a Delight!

There is a cast of twenty-six here, on a set with not one but two revolving walls (Thank you Matt Woods!) that make scene-changes swift and smooth and also provide a variety of playing spaces on what is really a deep but narrow stage. Director Frank Roberts can spill that stage full of picketing seamstresses, arrange a quintet of poker-playing political hacks, or (with the help of Stu Kazin's lights and follow-spot) tighten focus to a single meditative singer or a pair of love-birds. When called for, Choreographer Charley Borden can send politicians strutting smartly across the stage in their three-piece suits (Thank you Linda Burtt!) or give a quartet of chorines a snappy tap routine.

Fiorello LaGuardia ("When I make a mistake, it's a beaut!") was always an underdog, brashly battling New York's Tammany Hall Democrats for a God-forsaken seat in the U.S. House (Act I) and tapped to run for Mayor (Act II). He spent the act-break shooting down German airplanes in WWI, and before elbowing his way into politics his law office became famous for pro bono advocacy for the people and for strikers against their bosses. Elected mayor shortly after F.D.R. became president, he proved that even a Republican could uphold populist roots.

Short, wide David Giagrando, in a wide black stetson hat, is the man at the head of this ticket. Ann McCoy plays his silently love-struck secretary, and Sheri Ziccardi his first wife, in a whole separate plot-line. Cliff Liberman and Larry Labagnara are his overworked legal aides, while Eileen Parsons and Tom Lawrence play a striker and a cop falling in love on the picket line. The precise economy of this Jerome Weidman-George Abbot book juggles all these plot-lines (and more) with vivid clarity, and the excellent cast, from principals down to one-scene-stealers like Dan Eggleston or Beth Martin, comes alive out of the pages of the past.

What a Delightful musical!

Love,
===Anon.


"Fiorello!" (11 - 27 April)
ARLINGTON FRIENDS OF THE DRAMA
22 Academy Street, ARLINGTON CENTER MA
1(781)646-5922


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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