Several of Broadway's leading ladies will assemble September 23 for a one-night-only concert version of Funny Girl to benefit the Actors' Fund of America.
The Jule Styne-Bob Merrill-Isobel Lennart musical, which celebrated the life of the late Fanny Brice, made a star of Barbra Streisand, who would reprise her role on film to Oscar-winning effect. The Actors' Fund concert will feature a host of Broadway actresses portraying Fanny Brice, including three-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and "Will & Grace" star Megan Mullally, who appeared on Broadway opposite Matthew Broderick in the How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival.
A spokesperson for the Actors' Fund said that several other big names are pending, although none could be confirmed at this time. No word yet as to whether Streisand or Mimi Hines — who replaced Streisand when she left the Broadway production — will make appearances. The evening is being organized by artistic producer Seth Rudetsky, who was responsible for the stellar, sold-out Dreamgirls in Concert benefit earlier in the season. That evening starring Lillias White, McDonald and Heather Headley was recorded live and recently released on CD. Already lined up for the Funny Girl concert are choreographers Dev Janki and Robert Tadad and director Peter Flynn.
The concert will be held at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street, and tickets — ranging in price from $75 to $2,500 — will go on sale April 15 by calling (212) 221-7300, ext. 133.
Funny Girl opened at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre on March 26, 1964. 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." The Actors' Fund of America, a nonprofit organization founded in 1882, provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. Its headquarters and The Aurora Residence are located in New York City, and its nursing home and assisted living care facility are in Englewood, New Jersey.
—By Andrew Gans