1965 - 1966
Fiorello H. LaGuardia was not only the best mayor New York has seen but was also the greatest actor who ever occupied the municipal stage. The public quickly bestowed stage names on the five-foot-four, bulky little performer. He was affectionately knowns as "The Little Flower", "Butch", and "The Hat", the latter because of the large black hat he invariably wore while rushing to fires, campaigning all day and night or hurrying to look into difficulties or scandals.
Long before he opened on the City Hall stage as Mayor of New York at noon on January 1, 1934, Fiorello H. LaGuardia was acting in Washington and New York, as well as performing superb public service. When he was President of the Board of Aldermen from 1919-1921, the newspapers covered his conflicts wit Comptroller Charles L. Craig as if they were first nights or prize fights. The State Legislature got so mad at that time that it raised every alderman's salary except his. He appeared next day in his Army khaki shirt, announcing that he had to save laundry bills, and urging all veterans to get out their Army shirts to dramatize the high cost of living.
Research indicates that much more than the outline of Fiorello! is authentic. Marie and Thea were real. Morris is real. Neil lived to write a book about it. The Shirtwaist Strike happened, and LaGuardia's opponents did drop a baby carriage full of paving bricks on him.
LaGuardia enjoyed practical jokes. On one occasion when his doctor ordered the Mayor to go to a hospital for X-rays, the attendant after he had taken the pictures noticed the Mayor fumbling wiht something behind his back. "What's that?" he asked and discovered that the Mayor had put his house key between his kidneys and the plate so that the doctor would think he had swallowed a key.
LaGuardia loved fires. He followed the reels in his own red chief's helmet, and there was no way to prevent the Mayor from directing operations when he got there.
LaGuardia was the first Congressman and Mayor to make extensive use of radio. His broadcasts were intimate and never dull. Perhaps the most famous performance he gave were his weekly readings of the comics to the children during the newspaper strike of 1945.
Dramatic Director: Stan White
Musical Director: Berthold Carrière
Choreographer: Richard Jones