Fiorello! | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This 1959 musical about New York's colorful Depression-era mayor is a seldom performed gem: it holds up remarkably well thanks to Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's ear-pleasing tunes and to Jerome Weidman and George Abbott's well-structured, unsentimental book. The show charts Fiorello LaGuardia's career from young do-gooder lawyer to his election as the mayor who finally broke the back of Tammany Hall. Director Nick Bowling has filled TimeLine's intimate stage with ingenious stage pictures--raised picket signs act as a screen for video clips, for example. And Kevin Hagan's set, a warren of interconnected platforms and cubicles, evokes both the feeling of working in LaGuardia's crowded law office and of living in overcrowded Manhattan. Packed with marvelous musical-theater performers, the cast puts as much energy into the characters as the songs. P.J. Powers turns in a particularly winning performance as LaGuardia. Through 6/18: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, TimeLine Theatre Company, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Baird Hall Theatre, 615 W. Wellington, 773-281-8463, $15-$25.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lara Goetsch.

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