Julie Waldman-Stiel will play Fanny Brice and David Weitzer will be Nick Arnstein in performances of Funny Girl July 21 at 8:30 PM and July 22 and 29 at 2 PM. A benefit performance of the classic musical on July 30 at 8 PM will boast appearances by Tony winner Debbie Gravitte and Beauty and the Beast's Burke Moses, who will share the roles of Fanny and Nick with Waldman-Stiel and Weitzer. Donald E. Birely will direct with musical direction by Kevin David Thomas.
Performances of Show Boat will be offered Oct. 18 at 8 PM and Oct. 20 and 21 at 2 PM with Andrea Rivette (Julie), David Weitzer (Gaylord Ravenal) and Katherine Haverlandt-Guantez (Magnolia). A benefit performance of Show Boat — Oct. 22 at 8 PM — will feature the three aforementioned actors as well as Jacques Brel's Robert Cuccioli as Ravenal and Gay Willis as Magnolia. Derrick Cobey will direct with musical direction by Kevin David Thomas.
Funny Girl opened at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre on March 26, 1964, starring Barbra Streisand. Its Jule Styne-Bob Merrill score includes such tunes as "Sadie, Sadie," "Don't Rain on My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," "Who Are You Now?" and the show's anthem, "People." Isobel Lennart wrote the book for the musical.
Show Boat premiered on Broadway on Dec. 27, 1927, and, with its dramatic story line based on Edna Ferber's novel, the musical was the first to tackle such weighty issues as racial prejudice, poverty and abandonment. The Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical — which is considered to be the mother of the modern musical — features such tunes as "Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Only Make Believe."
Debbie Gravitte was most recently on Broadway playing Matron "Mama" Morton in the hit revival of Kander and Ebb's Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre. The singer/actress received a Tony Award for her performance in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, and her other Broadway credits include They’re Playing Our Song, Perfectly Frank, Blues in the Night, Zorba, Les Misérables and Ain’t Broadway Grand. Gravitte’s solo recordings include "Defying Gravity," "The MGM Album" and "The Alan Menken Album." Burke Moses, who is currently playing El Gallo in the Off-Broadway revival of The Fantasticks, won a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk nomination for creating the role of Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. His other Broadway credits include Guys and Dolls, The Frogs and Kiss Me, Kate.
Robert Cuccioli, most recently on the New York stage in the revival of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his work in Jekyll & Hyde. He won the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle awards for that performance as well. Cuccioli also appeared in the Broadway production of Les Misérables and has been seen on screen in "Sliders," "Baywatch," "Celebrity," "The Stranger" and "Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target." His recent theatrical credits include Guys and Dolls, Temporary Help, Lorenzaccio, The Sound of Music and the Actors' Fund benefit concert of On the Twentieth Century.
The YM-YMHA of North Jersey is located at One Pike Drive in Wayne, NJ. Tickets for the regular performances are $28; benefit performances are priced $38 (show only) and $50 (show and meet-the-cast reception). For further information call (973) 595-0100, ext. 226.
The benefit performances of Show Boat and Funny Girl will help underwrite Broadway ala Carte's educational arts programming.