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Tonys outrage flashback: 'Gypsy' lost best musical to 'Fiorello!'

June 11, 2010 |  6:48 am
Gypsy fiorello Tonys Tony Awards

Frank Rich and Ben Brantley of the New York Times have both hailed "Gypsy" as the greatest musical in Broadway history, but it got cheated at the Tony Awards of 1960. In part, that was due to tough competition. In the race for best musical, It lost to "The Sound of Music," but not alone. "The Sound of Music" tied with "Fiorello," a now largely forgotten tuner about the bawdy New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia who took on Tammany Hall in the 1930s. "Fiorello!" was such a popular show during its heyday that it also won the Pulitzer Prize, a rare accomplishment for musicals.

Adding to the outrage against "Gypsy": "The Sound of Music" star Mary Martin beat "Gypsy" crooner Ethel Merman for best musical actress. Many people consider it to be a further outrage that the Merm lost the film role in 1962 to Rosalind Russell, but I think Roz did a socko job on screen. Check out this video at You Tube. Some wag took the audio of the Merm belting out "Rose's Turn" and dubbed it into the film version so it looks like Roz is belting it out. Hilarious! .

Photos: Sandra Church and Ethel Merman in "Gypsy" (Broadway Theater); Tom Bosley in "Fiorello!" (Broadhurst Theater)

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