Bob Holiday, Broadway's First Superman
Bob Holiday's Publicity Portfolio

Bob's Early
Career

Bob's Big
Break on Broadway

Ad for Fiorello!

Bob Holiday’s early career was steady and sure. This is not surprising, as he was a great entertainer. His autobiography, Superman on Broadway (c. 2003, co-written with Chuck Harter), shares with us both newspaper clippings and Bob’s memories of his many appearances.

After several years of success, moving from gig to gig around North America (including Bermuda and Canada), Bob’s agent arranged for an audition for the big time: a new Broadway show about the life of the diminutive mayor of New York City, Fiorello! Superman on Broadway reports that Bob sang, “All of Me”. You can see Bob reprise this song at the age of 71 at the 2004 Metropolis Superman Celebration, time stamp 10:43.

Bob was very much aware that the reason he was up for the part of Neil, Mayor La Guardia’s assistant, was because LaGuardia was known for being short, so the cast members around Fiorello (played by Tom Bosley) needed to be tall. Bob told me that one of the songs he sang was “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue.” Isn’t that a great choice?

From Superman on Broadway:

[M]y agent called and said that I had the part. I was knocked out! Thrilled! I was going to be in a Broadway Musical! …
The nice part about the show was that I had great pros around me who would show me how to move and stand on the stage. I gained a great deal of confidence.
I had one song in the show called “On the Side of the Angels.” It was the opening song of the show.

Tom Bosley and Bob Holiday

Bob’s appearance in Fiorello! bestowed many benefits. There was the aforementioned confidence, which certainly helped him in his future role of Superman. More importantly, Hal Prince remembered Bob’s earnest portrayal of Neil and suggested him as a good candidate to play Superman.

Bob mentioned that his success in singing the opening number in Fiorello! helped him prepare to sing the opening number in "It's A Bird It's A Plane It's Superman©". The cast album for Fiorello! is a joy to listen to, so we bring you:

Bob Holiday singing “On the Side of the Angels.” Can’t you just hear a hint of Superman in these lyrics?

Click here to read more about the friendship between Bob Holiday and Tom Bosley.

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Photos courtesy the Estate of Bob Holiday
Quotes from Superman on Broadway, ©2003 Bob Holiday and Chuck Harter, page 12
Other text ©2021 Toni Collins
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Bob Holiday as Superman Bob Holiday as Clark Kent