DescriptionIn the Ziegfeld Follies, in Hollywood films, and on the radio, Fanny Brice was one of the most celebrated entertainers of her time. With humor, talent, and chutzpah, young Fanny, an awkward Jewish girl who "isn't pretty," defies the odds and becomes one of the greatest stars of her generation. Her rise to super-stardom, and her turbulent romance with gambler Nick Arnstein, are explored through Bob Merrill and Jule Styne's unforgettable score, which includes "People," "Don't Rain On My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," and "You Are Woman, I Am Man."
Backstage in her dressing room at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where she is a reigning Ziegfeld star, Fanny Brice sits thoughtfully at her dressing table. Her husband, Nick Arnstein, will soon come home after serving a prison sentence, and she must make a decision about their future. As she ponders her decision, the sights and sounds of her past come back to her.
We see Fanny as a stagestruck teenager on New York City’s Lower East Side. Awkward and unattractive, Fanny is fiercely determined to be a star. Her mother and a neighbor try to dissuade her from entering show business (“If A Girl Isn’t Pretty”) but Fanny persists and overwhelms a vaudeville hoofer with her unshakable self-confidence (“I’m The Greatest Star”). The dancer, Eddie Ryan, coaches her in singing and dancing, and soon she is wowing vaudeville audiences (“Cornet Man”). Mrs. Brice and Eddie take credit for Fanny’s success (“Who Taught Her Everything?”)
Nick Arnstein, an elegant and well-dressed gentleman, visits Fanny’s dressing room after the show. Though she is clearly attracted to him, Fanny is interrupted by a telegram from producer Flo Ziegfeld, who offers her a spot in his current Follies. Fanny is a hit in her first Ziegfeld appearance (“His Love Makes Me Beautiful”). Nick offers to celebrate with Fanny in style (“I Want To Be Seen With You Tonight”), but they wind up at Mrs. Brice’s opening-night block party instead (“Henry Street”). At the party, Nick and Fanny share their desires and vulnerabilities (“People”).
Some months later, in Baltimore, Nick invites Fanny to a private dinner at an exclusive restaurant (“You Are Woman”) and Fanny is smitten. At the railroad station where the Follies company plans to board a train for Chicago, Fanny decides to leave the company and join Nick on a train bound for New York. Seeing a chance for true happiness, she refuses to let anything stand in her way (“Don’t Rain on My Parade”).
Fanny and Nick are married and move into a mansion on Long Island (“Sadie, Sadie”). Now that Fanny is independent, Mrs. Strakosh and Eddie tell Mrs. Brice to “Find Yourself A Man.” During rehearsals of a new Follies (“Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat”), Nick approaches Ziegfeld backstage about investing money in a Florida gambling casino. Ziegfeld declines, but Fanny insists on putting up the necessary capital. When Nick’s casino venture fails, Fanny tries to treat the bad news lightly (“Who Are You Now?”), but Nick becomes incensed. Out of desperation, he gets involved in a shady bond deal, and is soon arrested for embezzlement. Fanny, feeling helpless, nonetheless affirms her love for Nick (“The Music That Makes Me Dance”).
The final scene returns to Fanny’s dressing room in the present. Nick, just out of prison, enters. While Nick and Fanny still love each other deeply, it is obvious that their marriage can only bring them unhappiness. So, reluctantly, they part. Alone once again, Fanny courageously resolves to get on with her life (“Don’t Rain On My Parade – Reprise”).
Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Book by Isobel Lennart from an original story by Miss Lennart
Produced for the Broadway Stage by Ray Stark
New York Production Supervised by Jerome Robbins
Original Production Directed by Garson Kanin
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1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone(and optional Alto Flute)
1 Reed II: Clarinet & Alto Saxophone (and optional Flute, Piccolo & Soprano Sax)
1 Reed III: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone (and optional Eb Clarinet)
1 Reed IV: Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone (and optional Oboe)
1 Reed V: Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Bassoon (or Bass Clarinet) & Bass Saxophone or Baritone Saxophone)
2 Trumpet I & II
1 Trumpet III
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
1 Trombone III
2 Percussion I & II:
Timpani (2 Drums)
Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
Slapsticks (small & large)
Piano – Celeste (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.)
1 Piano Conductor’s Score
1 Prompt Book for Director
27 Prompt Books for Cast
30 Chorus-Vocal Parts
(In order of Appearance)
John, Stage Manager
Five Finger Finney
Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
Jody, Ziegfeld Lead Dancer
Showgirls, Singers, Dancers
FUNNY GIRL played for 1,348 performances on Broadway at the Winter Garden, Majestic, and Broadway Theatres starring Barbra Streisand, Sydney Chaplin, Kay Medford and Jean Stapleton.