Community And Seniors Together presents: Fanny Brice
NEW ULM – CAST (Community and Seniors Together) will present “Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl,” “an engrossing look into a golden age of show business,” on March 8, 9 and 10, at the New Ulm Community Center.
This musical play had its first reading in December 2010 in New York City, reports the production’s director, Isla Hoffman.
The play was developed in February 2011. The premier recording was made in August 2011 in New York City.
Fanny Brice was born in 1892, to Rose and Charles Borach, saloon owners in the crowded Lower East Side of New York City. She was Fannie Borach until, later in life, she changed her name to Fanny Brice.
She sang in her father’s saloon for the customers at a very young age. Her career began at the age of 13, singing at Keeney’s Theater in New York.
Known as a comedienne, she also performed as a singer and dancer in the Zeigfeld follies. Her torch song, “My Man,” made her famous internationally.
Hoffman, the director of the CAST show, said she chose the play in part because “the music is wonderful” and has inter-generational appeal, in part for nostalgic reasons (“it’s my era,” she half joked).
The show starts with Fanny, played by Carolyn Todd, reflecting back on her childhood. Young Fanny is played by Emma Maudal.
Because the show reflects the heroine’s life-span, the costumes are done in a variety of fashion styles.
‘We had good help with costuming,” noted Hoffman.
During the conversation, Hoffman also stressed the cast’s versatility: many cast members are playing multiple, smaller parts.
“We have a very talented cast, ranging in age 10 to seniors,” said Hoffman. “A number of the cast are playing multiple roles. Most of the actors are returning actors to our stage, and we also have new folks.”
The show features a unique revolving set (“lazy-Susan style”), which accommodates the variety of scenes.
“Phil Davis designed and built the revolving set, as there are many scene changes,” said Hoffman.
She also gives credit to the pianist, LeAnn Ravenberg, and the choreographer, Sara Day.
“LeAnn Ravenberg began music rehearsals in early January and continued to when we began full cast rehearsals at the end of January. We rehearsed three nights a week from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sara Day, choreography, is new this year. She is a professional dance teacher in Mankato and New Ulm.”
“The cast and crew have been very dedicated, and we have become ‘family,'” adds Hoffman.
“We always want to choose musicals that all ages will enjoy,” she concludes.
FANNY Cast Members
(In order of appearance)
Fanny Brice Carolyn Todd
Walter Winchell Robert Docherty
Gypsy Rose Lee Marley Pietz
Jimmy Deb Kaehler
Charles (Papa) Bryan Reising
Rose (Mama) Brenda Hermel
Young Fanny Brice Emma Maudal
Young Lew Brice Ariel Olson
Man In Saloon Nick Wellmann
Repossession Worker Nick Wellmann
Mr. Kenney Nick Wellmann
Madam Friedman Barb Reilly
Madam Bardonaro – Sally Webster
Willie Weston Tom Kaehler
Burlesque Troup Marley Pietz, Maria Reising, Emily Miller
Maid Sophie Cedillo
Flo Ziegfield Robert Docherty
Nick Arnstein Craig Austinson
W.C.Fields Tom Kaehler
Will Rogers Nick Wellmann
Arnold Rothstein Evie Domeier
Detective Deb Kaehler
Carrie Arnstein Emily Miller
Interrogator Deb Kaehler
Ziegfield Tenor Marv Petersen
Waiter Maria Reising
Bill Brice Nick Wellman
Frances Brice Sophie Cedillo
FANNY Production Crew
Director Isla Hoffman
Assistant Director Evie Domeier
Music Director – LeAnn Ravenberg
Piano Accompanist LeAnn Ravenberg
Choreography Sara Day
Set Design Phil Davis
Lights Kevin Maudal, Jacob Todd
Costumes Annette Perry, Mary Klacan and Betty Brown
Props Jesse Capparelli
MLC Forum, New Ulm Public Schools Drama Dept, MRCI Bargains, Emma Todd, Doug Howard, Realife Cooperative