The name's Rutigliano!
Broadway veteran Danny Rutigliano (The Lion King) will take on the role of larger-than-life New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the upcoming New York City Center Encores! production of Fiorello!, to run January 30-February 3 under the direction of Gary Griffin. Rob Berman will serve as musical director, with Alex Sanchez as choreographer.
The 1959 Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick musical, which features a book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, is a fitting opener for Encores!' 20th anniversary season. Exploring LaGuardia's rise from immigrant's son to the feisty congressman who brought down Tammany Hall to New York City Mayor, the score features show tune classics including "'Til Tomorrow," When Did I Fall In Love?" and "The Name's LaGuardia."
Joining Rutigliano are Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley (Oklahoma!) as Republican District Leader Ben Marino, Tony Award nominees Kate Baldwin (Giant), Erin Dilly (A Christmas Story), and Emily Skinner (Side Show) as Thea, Marie, and Mitzi, Jenn Gambatese (Tarzan) as Dora, Jeremy Bobb (Is He Dead?) as Floyd, Adam Heller (Elf) as Morris, Andrew Samonsky (Merrily We Roll Along) as Neil, Ray DeMattis (Grease) as Mr. Zapatella, Richard Ruiz (Romeo and Juliet) as Mr. Lopez, Cheryl Stern (La Cage aux Folles) as Mrs. Pomerantz, and an ensemble that includes Justin Barnette, Meggie Cansler, Christine DiGiallonardo, Yurel Echezarreta, Leah Edwards, Rob Gallagher, Jordan Fife Hunt, Alison Jantzie, Lizzie Klemperer, Kevin Ligon, Lauralyn McClelland,Rebecca Robbins, Adam Rogers, Steve Routman,Tommy Scrivens, Lainie Sakakura, Carly Blake Sebouhian, Nathaniel Stampley,and Kevin Vortmann.
One of only eight musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Fiorello! premiered at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre in 1959 and ran for 795 performances. The work also received Tonys for its star, Tom Bosley, director Abbott, and the coveted Best Musical prize, beating the original productions of Gypsy, Once Upon a Mattress, and Take Me Along. Even so, Fiorello! has never been seen on Broadway since.
Rutigliano has also appeared on Broadway in Born Yesterday, Billy Elliot, and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. Baldwin's many credits include Finian's Rainbow, Wonderful Town, and The Full Monty. Hensley was most recently seen off-Broadway in The Whale and Silence! The Musical. Dilly's Broadway appearances include Nice Work if You Can Get It and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Skinner has been seen in Dinner at Eight and Billy Elliot, among many others.