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Musical of the Month

Jerry Bock's FIORELLO! Demos


Original Cast / Photo by Joseph AbelesOriginal Cast of Fiorello! / Photo by Joseph AbelesWhen Jerry Bock died in 2010, his papers (drafts, correspondence, business records, etc.) came to the library as he had planned. A year or so later, his friend and lawyer, Richard Ticktin, compiled many of Bock's personal audio recordings onto a hard drive and passed a copy to the library. While we are still in the process of processing and preserving this material, I'm very excited today to share with you a preview of the treasures in this collection. Using the library's player below, you can listen to three tapes Bock made while working on Fiorello! with Sheldon Harnick. The first two tapes are mostly bits of melodies he passed along to Sheldon Harnick during the collaborative process, but the third contains a more or less complete demo of the score of the show (perhaps to be played for the cast or prospective funders). The recordings offer a fascinating glimpse into the creative process that led to the Pulitzer Prize winning musical.

Note that the player below is really intended for presenting video, and so there is a relatively large black box that will remain blank while the audio plays. Also, the "title" of the tracks are the file names from the hard drive which don't necessarily make a lot of sense out of context. Eventually, these recordings will find a more permanent and attractive home in our digital collections website, but I found them so exciting and fascinating that I wanted to give all of you the opportunity to hear them now as well! Enjoy!



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Fiorello tapes

Thanks for posting a great piece of Broadway history. The backers tapes (set 3) were the best quality backers tapes I've heard from any show, and Bock and Harnick had the best voices of the Broadway composers. Great stuff. I hope there's more in the archive.

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