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To Broadway, To Life!The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick$
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Philip Lambert

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390070.001.0001

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Politics and Poker

Politics and Poker

The Body Beautiful and Fiorello! and the Late 1950s

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Politics and Poker
Source:
To Broadway, To Life!
Author(s):

Philip Lambert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390070.003.0003

This chapter explores the early years of the songwriting partnership between Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, who began writing songs together in 1957 for a Broadway musical about boxing, The Body Beautiful. Though the show, which opened in 1958, was not a success, Bock and Harnick worked together again on songs for a musical based on the life of Fiorello La Guardia, the beloved New York City mayor, congressman, and war hero. Fiorello! (1959) was a huge success, earning them and their collaborators—writer-director George Abbott and his co-author Jerome Weidman—Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Bock and Harnick quickly became known not only for their stylish, singable melodies and clever lyrics, but also for their attentiveness as songwriters to the dramatic circumstances of each song in the show.

Keywords:   Body Beautiful, boxing, Fiorello, Fiorello La Guardia, George Abbott, Jerome Weidman, New York City politics, Pulitzer Prize

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