Veteran actor Tony Lo Bianco will bring his celebrated one-man show about New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, The Little Flower, to the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Friday, February 22, 2013, at 6:30 pm.
The event is a special fundraiser to support Italian language education. Organized by the National Council for the Promotion of the Italian Language (National Copilas), the show’s proceeds will help fund a teacher scholarship program that aims to provide more teachers of AP Italian with updated knowledge and skills in teaching the language in the United States.
Lo Bianco is an accomplished actor, director, writer and producer, with a 40-year career in the entertainment business. His acting credits include parts in The French Connection and Nixon, among numerous other films, and a Tony nomination for his role in Arthur Miller’s play A View from the Bridge. A Golden Gloves boxer early in his career, Lo Bianco also starred as Rocky Marciano in the 1979 movie Marciano.
Lo Bianco first portrayed the Depression-era Mayor LaGuardia in a one-man show called Hizzoner! in the 1980s, and won an Emmy award for his production of the show on PBS. The current revised show about LaGuardia, called The Little Flower, debuted this past fall in a run off-Broadway. Lo Bianco has devoted many years to researching the life and times of LaGuardia, one of New York’s most beloved mayors.
LaGuardia’s accomplishments include establishing health care for workers, reinstating a free lunch program in city schools and bringing the World’s Fair to the city in 1939. While he was serving in Italy during World War I, he cabled in his vote in favor of women’s suffrage.
“LaGuardia sacrificed himself for others,” Lo Bianco has said. “He cared for the city and took care of others. Those are great qualities. He was the best mayor New York City has had.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lo Bianco is the son of a taxi driver. Inspired by great actors like Lawrence Olivier and Michael Redgrave, he decided on an acting career as a teen and won a scholarship to the Dramatic Workshop and later Actors Repertory.
Proud of his Italian roots, Lo Bianco has served as a national spokesperson for the Order Sons of Italy in America. He has also been honored by numerous Italian-American and other humanitarian organizations.
The one-man show ushers in the Republic of Italy’s “Year of Italian Culture in the United States.” The Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero and other Embassy officials are expected to attend the event.
Daniel Stabile, president of Copilas, and an organizer of the fundraising event said, “Our ultimate aim is the promotion and enhancement of the Italian language through excellence and innovation in teaching.”