The creative team for the Sept. 23 benefit concert of Funny Girl for the Actors' Fund of America was announced July 31.
Featuring music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, the second annual benefit concert for the Actors' Fund will be helmed by Peter Flynn, whose New York directorial credits include Purple Hearts at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre, Up in the Air for Playwrights Horizons and A Wedding Album at the Lamb's. Flynn has also directed at regional theatres throughout the country and is currently working on his own new musical, Lily, with composer/lyricist Brooks Ashmanskas.
Seth Rudetsky, who was responsible for the first Actors' Fund concert, Dreamgirls: The 20th Anniversary Concert, will be the musical director for Funny Girl, which will also feature choreography by Davanand Janki and Robert Tatad. Janki choreographed Amahl & the Night Visitors and Babes in Toyland, both for Lincoln Center, and has helped mount Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' annual Broadway Bares shows for the past seven seasons. As a performer, Janki starred on Broadway in Side Show, Miss Saigon, Cats and The King and I. Tatad, who served as an associate director for last year's Dreamgirls benefit, was most recently a choreographer and creative associate for Broadway Bares: A Comic Strip.
Funny Girl will be presented at 7:30 PM at the New Amsterdam Theatre (214 W. 42nd Street) and will feature a host of actresses who will share the role of Fanny Brice. Rosie O'Donnell, Idina Menzel and Christine Ebersole are the latest additions to the Fanny list, which includes the previously announced Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Ana Gasteyer, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Ricki Lake, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Bebe Neuwirth, Lillias White and Marissa Jaret Winokur. Peter Gallagher, who recently left the hit revival of Noises Off, will star as Nick Arnstein; and the ensemble will include Brad Oscar, Sam Harris, Liz Smith, John Scherer, Gary Beach and Steven Brinberg.
The Styne-Merrill-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. Tickets priced at $75, $100 and $250 are already sold out, although those priced between $500 and $2,500 are still available. To purchase seats, call The Actors' Fund at (212) 221-7300. Further details are available by calling The Actors' Fund or by visiting www.actorsfund.org. *
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