Fiorello!
76

Fiorello! NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(76 Reviews)
Positive
76%
Mixed
21%
Negative
3%
Members say
Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing, Dated, Relevant

About the Show

Berkshire Theatre Group presents a rare revival of the Tony-winning musical about Mayor La Guardia and his battle for the people of NYC. Created by the songwriting team behind 'Fiddler on the Roof' and 'She Loves Me.'

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Member Reviews (76)

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65
A good summer stock production, Good songs, disappointing book

See it if you've never seen Fiorello. I saw it shine at 2013 Encores. This one was inferior, but the songs (both lyrics and music) still delight.

Don't see it if you want a professional production; this is summer stock/college level. Dora, tho, was a standout. A pleasant outing, but not NYC quality.

80
Delightful, Entertaining, Ambitious, Great staging, Classic

See it if You want to see a seldom produced show that's really an old gem. Like watching a classic black and white movie.

Don't see it if You can't appreciate a show on a shoestring. The music is a little on the light side with just a piano and a violin but voices are 1st rate.

85
Delightful, Romantic, Refreshing, Upbeat, Tuneful

See it if You would like a fun biographical show with catchy songs and zippy dances. I loved the barbershop pieces by the 6 guys.

Don't see it if You want something deeper, more dramatic, or more modern.

75
Great staging, Relevant, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if Great staging by Moss of old fashioned book heavy musical. Good acting & singing by principals. Opportunity to see vintage B'way musical

Don't see it if Slow, plot driven musicals bore you. Has a bit of "summer stock" feel to it (esp choreography)

78
Ambitious, Great singing, Dated, Great acting, Slow

See it if you would like an entertaining review of LaGuardia's pre-mayoral days. Not a current-style musical but the young cast is very talented.

Don't see it if you are expecting an over the top musical. No memorable tunes here and it is just as much dialogue as music.

97
Great staging, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Performance at Manhattan School of Music First visit, super production,talent of performers, set, band, costumes. lighting staff etc

Don't see it if Why does it have to be so far way for us?

83
Resonant, Dated, Delightful, Cute, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in biographical stories or old-fashioned musicals with weight and fluff in equal measure.

Don't see it if you'd rather see something edgy or groundbreaking.

50
Overrated, Ameteurish, Poor choreography, acting and singing, Poor dialect coaching

See it if I'm trying, but can't think of any reason to recommend. There is so much talent and creativity on NYC stages, go see something else.

Don't see it if My friends and I left at intermission. I see no reason to see an ameteur production for the amount of money being charged. Read more

Critic Reviews (34)

The New York Times
September 10th, 2016

"Powered by a notably youthful cast, the production has a sunny-spirited exuberance...For a tiny band, the score retains its bounce, its bite, its frisky melodic charm, thanks to the musicianship of the players and principals alike...It’s not hard to see why 'Fiorello!' remains cherished today mostly for its score...'Fiorello!' lacks a strong narrative arc, which may explain why it has never been revived on Broadway."
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AM New York
September 15th, 2016

"A timely work...Despite having an absolutely superlative score, 'Fiorello!' is rarely performed, which could be the result of its book (which is well-crafted but bulky)...The photogenic actors look as if they just graduated from college. And while Austin Scott Lombardi shows considerable pep and drive in the title role, he hardly resembles 'The Little Flower' physically. Under the direction of Bob Moss, the production is full of tender emotion, dramatically effective and highly enjoyable."
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Theatermania
September 9th, 2016

"With a youthful, fresh-faced cast and no-frills staging by Bob Moss, it feels like good summer stock...Moss directs the show with Shakespearean fluidity, allowing one scene to seamlessly flow into the next...While the underscoring occasionally feels thin, the vocals never do...Parts of the show come off as passé, but it's hard not to be charmed by Bock and Harnick's hummable melodies, delivered by an enthusiastic cast. You'll be singing the numbers all the way home."
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BroadwayWorld
September 12th, 2016

"The small-scale Berkshire production is played by a likable ensemble of actors in their 20s, many of whom are too young to play their meaty character roles...There is certainly cleverness in Moss' staging, and set designer Carl Sprague's cut-outs of Manhattan skyscrapers and street signs look great...'Fiorello!' is a fine musical deserving of a professional New York staging. While this new mounting isn't a bad one, it's essentially a college-level production charging Off-Broadway prices."
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Lighting & Sound America
September 21st, 2016

"Would have been better left in the Berkshire Hills...Bock and Harnick's score is nearly as good as those for 'Fiddler' and 'She Loves Me,' and it's always a pleasure to hear it again...The biggest problem with this 'Fiorello!' is the cast--bright, fresh-faced young people, trained in all the requisite musical theatre skills...They thoroughly fail to suggest the rough-and-tumble New York of the early 20th century...The best thing about this production is its design."
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TheaterScene.net
September 24th, 2016

"The first full-scale New York revival and the first Off-Broadway production ever, The Berkshire Theatre Group’s staging of the Bock and Harnick musical 'Fiorello!' has moved to New York’s East 13th Street Theater from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This delightful production proves that not only is this rarely revived show still fresh and witty, but that with its young and vital cast, it is still a captivating, heartwarming evening in the theater."
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Theatre is Easy
September 16th, 2016

"Struggles—and sometimes succeeds—in finding relevancy nearly 60 years later...Despite the problematic Golden Age-style writing and the less-than-consistent dialect work, there are a few performances that stick with you...All in all, this is a thoughtful and effective production of material that may feel dated in 2016. And it is certainly a visually and musically lovely piece of theater—the singing is close to flawless, the choreography works perfectly, and Moss creates striking stage pictures."
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Theater Pizzazz
September 9th, 2016

"All in all, the young talented BTG performers seem a little on the young side (because they are) to portray some of the roles, but their talent and enthusiasm overshadow...Highlight performances come from Chelsea Cree Groen as Dora, Rebecca Brudner as Thea, Rylan Morsbach as Ben, as well as Lombardi as LaGuardia...The clever songs and lyrics keep the audience enamored, the timeliness of political corruption always on the money (no pun intended)."
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CurtainUp
September 10th, 2016

"Refreshing as the cast's youthful zest is, the shortcomings of their performances and the staging—as well as George Abbott and Jerome Weidman's book—loom bigger in New York. I've never been fond of two piano arrangements for big musicals, and the hardly heard violin that's the second instrument here made me more wishful than to hear Bock's melodies with a bigger sound...Best moments are when the entire cast is singing and dancing to one of the dreamy songs."
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Front Row Center
September 16th, 2016

"'Fiorello!' was already a period piece in 1959. This production depends on its fresh-faced cast and its music and musicians being scrupulously true to the time to slip you right into the play...There is charm and wit in the lyrics. Still...the wit in 'Fiorello!' has an antiquated, 'let’s-not-ask-too-much-of-our-audience' feel...This production is entirely authentic...The cast all seem to be about the same age so on occasion they struggle to cover all the character demands."
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Broadway Blog
September 19th, 2016

"Everyone looks far too young, and no one has either the gravitas or rough edges to embody the older roles or the versatility called for when playing several. Given the show’s gangsterish background, it’s like watching ‘Bugsy Malone,’ in which prepubescent actors played mobsters and molls, only now they look like college kids. There are some fine female voices, but most of the acting is only passable; no one is truly distinctive, but Groen and Morsbach show great promise."
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The Clyde Fitch Report
September 11th, 2016

"What is to celebrate here is Harnick and Bock's work, equally for its melodic sophistication as for the clarion singing of the cast of this revival. Every note, every lyric is beautifully produced by the troupe, whether simply singing or also executing frequently charming choreography. I ought to mention, however, the detriments...The book is thin...As the director of this revival, Robert Moss lacks Abbott’s knack. Here the tuner’s sketchiness is made manifest."
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Times Square Chronicles
September 16th, 2016

"Sadly the score sounds thin with the two keyboards and a violin, though the cast for the most part have excellent voices...The cast is extremely young and it feels like a non-union college production...Physically Lombardi is just wrong and is not a powerful enough singer...Moss’ direction and choreography by Callahan is in constant motion, instead of leaving room for tender moments. The book is outdated and it is a shame it wasn’t tweaked to give it a fresh take."
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The Huffington Post
September 9th, 2016

"Their melodic score, brimming over with warm but sharp humor, retains its charm...The book is decidedly old-fashioned, and somewhat clunky by present-day standards...Decidedly 'summer stock'...Up on the Straw Hat circuit, this 'Fiorello!' might have seemed like a bright and endearing summer’s night diversion. Down here on 13th Street, it seems a welcome way to form an acquaintance with Bock & Harnick’s Pulitzer-winner but not exactly up to professional standards."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
September 19th, 2016

"The music by Bock and witty lyrics of Harnick are chief attractions...Directed by Bob Moss, the enthusiastic company puts plenty of spirit into the show...Despite the appealing acting by Austin Scott Lombardi in the title role, it must be faced that he looks nothing like LaGuardia...The book can get heavy at times, true also in the original...But whatever quibbles one may find here, this staging is an admirable, welcomely enjoyable opportunity to see this show."
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W
September 23rd, 2016

"'Fiorello!' is a terrific piece of writing, with adroit direction, artful visuals, droll choreography, and a company of notably young, talented players—a veritable treat. Getting past their youth takes a minute. After that, it’s clear sailing...The show is warm, tuneful, charming, wry, and wise. You’ll have a good time. Director Bob Moss stages with great freshness and an eye to visuals. The large cast moves seamlessly from scene to scene as does furniture. Pacing is nimble."
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The Huffington Post
September 20th, 2016

"Despite some good performances and charming moments, 'Fiorello!' suffers from a dated book, while the songs seem repetitive...The production is too peppy, given the darker elements of the story. Austin Scott Lombardi does his best as Fiorello, and he has his moments. But the musical feels like a summer-stock production by college students just eager to put on a show."
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WNBC
September 10th, 2016

"It seems an ideal time for New York’s first fully staged revival of 'Fiorello,' a musical that celebrates a politician who walked the walk and talked the talk...A confident Austin Scott Lombardi leads the cast of 20-something actors, wearing the suspenders of the 'Little Flower,' a half-Italian, half-Jewish, 5-foot-2 politico...The BTG’s transfer is sweet, lively and timely."
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M
September 19th, 2016

"Moss’ adroit staging fits nicely into the intimate confines of the space, as does Michael Callahan’s often bouncy choreography...Where Moss apparently succeeded most importantly is in guiding his cast into performances that abound with confidence and bravura. What he can’t give them is the seasoning and depth that generally come with experience, the kind of seasoning that the script and many of the musical numbers demand to be fully realised."
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NY Theatre Guide
September 17th, 2016

"A rewarding evening—but one where you may find yourself making allowances...It’s still a gripping political and romantic tale...And, bless us all, it’s all punctuated with the music of Jerry Bock and the lyrics of Sheldon Harnick...It’s a youthful cast, sometimes disconcertingly so...Director Bob Moss might want to encourage his cast to dig down deeper into characterization...Berkshire’s 'Fiorello!' plays like a good college production of the show."
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Off Script with Dan Dwyer
September 11th, 2016

"The idealism underpinning Abbot and Weidman’s original book is heightened by this very young cast. It’s fun to watch these youthful performers take on New York stereotypes of old usually fleshed out by seasoned character actors, but each of these 'kids' is of fully developed voice, so the wonderful songs with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick get the full expression they deserve."
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Z
September 27th, 2016

"Taken what is in essence an old-fashioned and somewhat creaky show and whipped it up into a sprightly and engaging concoction...What makes this 'Fiorello!' even more winning is the fresh-faced group of twentysomethings who comprise the show’s talented cast. It’s a wonderfully appealing group...As for the show itself, its main attraction as a piece is the splendid score...Quibbles aside, this is a production that no fan of classic musical theater will want to miss."
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A
September 28th, 2016

"There are marvelous songs and excellent performances in this production that make it worth seeing. The period costumes, choreography and sets will impress you. Some of the bad accents will make you cringe. However, it is not every day, every year, or even every decade that you get to catch a full-scale production of 'Fiorello!' So I highly recommend you take this opportunity to see it. Sure, it's far from perfect but you will still have a very good time and be glad you went."
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Theatre Reviews by John Clum
October 2nd, 2016

"The cast of 'Fiorello' was young, attractive, eager and talented, but not polished...The movement seemed forced, particularly since Michael Callahan's choreography throughout the show was mediocre and the dancing not very good. Bob Moss's staging is fluid and effective though everyone needed more character work...Worth seeing if you've never seen 'Fiorello' or if, like me, you love the score and were hungry for a revival."
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Edge New York
September 9th, 2016

"With such a young cast, fairly simple sets and staging, this 'Fiorello!' feels a bit more like a very good college production...It's still terrifically charming and enjoyable, though, and expect to see the careers of Lombardi, Birenboim, and McLean flourish in the future. Although 'Fiorello!' is not quite as strong as many of the other often-produced musicals of the famed 1950s era, it's a great musical for this moment...It is a refreshing little tonic during this heated political season."
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A
October 3rd, 2016

"The songs and the staging tell a story that is both popular and inspiring. The current production has some amazing strengths and modern moments. The cast, in general, is quite proficient but many of the actors have diction and accent issues. Overall, it's amazing to see a full staging of 'Fiorello!'. Enjoy the songs and the dancing, see some very promising young talent and marvel at the fact so little has changed in the political scene in the last century."
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E
September 13th, 2016

"The show itself lacks a narrative arc; I can't shake the fact that we simply glaze over so many important issues...The cast is made up of mostly young actors who are making their debut. You can feel the energy bounce off them, which was refreshing, but that can’t save the script...'Fiorello' is a nice musical that has beautiful choreography and catchy songs, but at the end of the day makes you question if we are actually doing anything to make our world a better place."
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Show Buzz NYC
September 10th, 2016

"The idea that politics is just a 'song and dance' is such a breath of fresh air given the current nasty political climate, however the dated female tropes of being helpless and emotionally desperate are painful to watch...The show feels like a college production. The voices are untrained, the acting is uneven, the dialects are a roller coaster of awkward sounds...I am afraid this production is only for the die-hard fans of the musical."
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The Wall Street Journal
June 23rd, 2016
For a previous production

"A charmer, lively and heartfelt and full of spectacularly well-crafted songs. What’s more, its subject—political corruption—is perennially up to date. On top of all this, the production is a Fourth of July firecracker, crisply staged and soundly performed by a young but promising cast…While I’d love to see 'Fiorello!' done in a full-scale staging, no apologies need be made for this immensely satisfying vest-pocket version...These days, precious few musicals could possibly be more to the point."
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Talkin' Broadway
June 21st, 2016
For a previous production

"The production is brisk and breezy.…Harnick and Bock provide tunes which remain happily stuck in one's mind…Michael Callahan, choreographer, adds fluent, nicely timed and executed movement and dance. Director Moss helps it all to coalesce…Lombardi, definitely capable and always on his mark, seems young…'Fiorello!' is still fun, charming and, these days, quite relevant. With a bit of seasoning, it will become even better as the run evolves."
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CurtainUp
June 25th, 2016
For a previous production

"A lively production of this uniquely New York musical…The cast is made up of young performers and they're an able, appealing lot…Austin Lombardi is a standout as the ambitious, stick of dynamite La Guardia, and Rebecca Bruner as his Italian wife and Katie Birenboim as his lovesick political associate contribute strong emotional moments. All three have polished voices…Best moments are when the entire cast is singing and dancing to one of the dreamy songs."
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B
June 25th, 2016
For a previous production

"An earnest, if also spotty and hard-working production…This musical, however, is insubstantial, sketchy, at best, as it moves in fits and starts. Weidman and Abbott's book is pedestrian, superficial and unexpectedly short on wit. Bock and Harnick's score, on the other hand, is tuneful, rich, smart, arguably among the best this duo created… Lombardi delivers a charmless portrayal...Moss' staging is efficient."
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Berkshire On Stage
June 22nd, 2016
For a previous production

"‘Fiorello!’ moves right along with a breezy score by Jerry Bock, clever lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and this is a good thing because the weak link is a thin, choppy book which has undergone various revisions over the years…The cast of ‘Fiorello!’ is uniformly excellent…Overall this production is up to summer stock standards, and a solid choice for an affordable summer-evening-in-the-Berkshires outing."
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Berkshire Edge
June 23rd, 2016
For a previous production

"Director Bob Moss has brought a professional gloss to the show and the result is a shimmering, dancing, constantly active appearance which produces a highly professional show even though the acting is sometimes a bit off and edgy and not quite what it should be…I wish it wasn’t miked, for that did make for a few problems in the sound of the piece. However, that aside, the show is a delight, informative and musically rich, fascinating in its dramatic history and poignant."
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