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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Tammany Hall is in dire need of an honest leader, and Fiorello La Guardia is just the man for the job. Battling against the corrupt, political puppets of New York City, he vows to clean up the Big Apple. A man of the people, Fiorello uses his wit and charm to fight for citizens' rights. Based on the real-life rise to power of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, 'Fiorello!' is one of only nine musicals to have won the esteemed Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and a book by George Abbott and Jerome Weidman.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"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." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"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." Full Review

AM New York

"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." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"'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." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"'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." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"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)." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

"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." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"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." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"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." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"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." Full Review

Applause! Applause!

"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." Full Review

Theatre Reviews by John Clum

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Edge New York

"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." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Slow, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if you want to learn the story of Fiorello Laguardia.

Don't see it if you don't like small musicals.

Also Fiorello Laguarda's life is an interesting story. There is an airport ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Bob Moss directs a great revival of Fiorello, about Mayor La Guardia and NYC history. Great story, amazing score. Highly recommend.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in NYC history, or don't want to see a fun show with a catchy score

Delightful, Resonant, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a well-done, but no-frills production of a classic musical.

Don't see it if you prefer high-budget very produced shows.

Masterful, Dated

See it if you like Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock's music.

Don't see it if you don't like dated revivals of musicals or weak acting.

Cliched, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you need to see it as a piece of theater history

Don't see it if you want better than a summer stock production

Ambitious, Dated, Clever staging

See it if You want to see a good production of a seldom-produced musical and you like seeing young talent and you like more "old fashioned" shows.

Don't see it if You're looking for a mature, experienced cast who are age-appropriate for the roles.

Delightful, Refreshing, Romantic, Tuneful, Upbeat

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.

Delightful, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a lesser known show by Harnick and Bock.

Don't see it if you dislike old-fashioned musicals

Enjoy traveling back in time to revisit (or discover) a fascinating wwi-era nyc politician and a pulitzer-winning musical

See it if Charming distillation of a classic. Audience chatter: I came to hear 'Little Tin Box'; have they done 'Politics & Poker'? Cheers for BTG.

Don't see it if If you're not interested in this aspect of our NYC, political, musical history.

Disappointing, Miscast, Weak singing

See it if you want to learn about mayor laguardia

Don't see it if you are expecting strong singing vocals

Funny, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a decent production of a rarely performed show

Don't see it if You can only get side tickets--no one reconfigured the staging for a thrust stage

Delightful, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you need some 'uplifting' this political season (!), enjoy old school shows, enjoy NY history and want to leave the theater smiling

Don't see it if you can't sit in a small seat for 2 1/2 hours or have zero interest in the (wonderful) fiorello laguardia

Funny, Intelligent, Must see, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if want to see a great revival with young actors doing an excellent job. love the score.

Don't see it if are not interested in shows about nyc history and fast paced musicals

Ambitious, Resonant, Slow

See it if You know the history

Don't see it if You like fast paced productions

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.

Ambitious, Great acting, Slow, Dated, Great singing

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.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if I love Bock and Harnick. I walked away thinking "Little Tin Box". It brought history alive. The acting was superb. It seems that nothing

Don't see it if has changed in politics. If you are not itnerested in history or political stories don't see it.

Timely, Great singing, Exuberant, Sincere, Of historical interest

See it if you want to see a thoughtful production of an important musical; if you want to scout some rising talents

Don't see it if you are not curious to see this rarely-revived musical fully produced; if you need a cast of seasoned professionals

Well done

See it if you like lively dancing and singing. However, the material is bland and unremarkable. Otherwise, the company does an overall good show.

Don't see it if you want to see an interesting musical.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want a classic musical with a great score, beautifully staged, acted and sung with a great young energetic cast and small effective band

Don't see it if you don't like sweet musicals evoking an iconic figure with style and sass

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Classic broadway, Enthusiastic

See it if Great small theater production. Singing was particularly strong; cast was energetic & delightful, clever staging. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Don't see it if You mind a "shoestring" production - don't expect Broadway. But still damn good. As others said, more live instruments would have been nice.

Delightful, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if Classic musical that has surprising relevance for today. Funny with great songs. Fresh take with young talented actors

Don't see it if Interested in big spectaculars or pop musicals . This is small scale and intimate

Delightful, Quirky, Resonant, Romantic, Dated

See it if you're already a fan of Bock and Harnick's work and writing, and like a period-piece exploration of NYC history.

Don't see it if your unwillingness to gloss over a few trite numbers and a confusing book would prevent you from appreciating the overall musical experience

Feels like community theatre or summer stock., Some good production elements., Cast is too young and lead feels miscast., Still, it's reasonably entertaining., Tuneful but needs more instrumental support.

See it if You like classic musicals with a good score. The book is dated but decent. Dialects all over the place, but singing generally pleasant.

Don't see it if You saw Tom Bosley on Bdwy & want lead to be more like him. Don't like period pieces or have any interest in NYC history/politics.

Also I have always liked the score and book of this show, and appreciated a... Read more Read less

Great acting, Refreshing, Romantic, Indulgent, Great singing

See it if Want to see young Broadway talent in the making! Some superb talent in the cast! Certain to see a few of this cast on their way to stardom!

Don't see it if You are in a seat on the side of the stage. Sit center section. Show is not played to side audience. Too much high school background acting.

Cast & Creatives (31)