Pulitzers Play Little Rock: FIORELLO!

IMG_3737Winner of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Fiorello! has been described as the best musical you’ve never heard of.

Based on the life of New York politician Fiorello H. LaGuardia, it was a surprise winner of the Pulitzer.  Produced by Robert Griffith and Harold Prince, it featured a book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott (who also directed) and a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.

In 1961, the national tour played in Little Rock at Robinson Auditorium.   The production used the original Broadway direction and choreography (by Peter Gennaro) and design (sets, costumes and lighting by the duo of William and Jean Eckert).

The cast was led by Bob Carroll as LaGuardia (taking on a role created by Tom Bosley).  Others in the cast were Rudy Bond, Charlotte Fairchild, Paul Lipson, Jen Nelson, Zeme North and Clint Young.

It does not appear to have been produced in Little Rock since then.

ROCKing the TONYS – Helen Hayes

Rock the TonysHelenHelen Hayes

Little Rock connection: Appeared at Robinson Auditorium in 1942.

Tony Awards connection: Received a Tony in 1947 (first ceremony) for her performance in Anita Loos’ Happy Birthday. In 1958, won the Actress in a Play Tony for Time Remembered.  Served as a host/presenter of the ceremonies in 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956.  Presented awards at ceremonies in 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1978, 1981 and 1986.  In 1987, she made a special Tony appearance as part of a tribute to George Abbott on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Her final appearance on the Tony Awards was at age 89 at the 1990 ceremony.