Chip Deffaa Talks About
PRESENTING FANNY BRICE – THE ORIGINAL FUNNY GIRL
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS MUSICAL?
A: Fanny Brice rose from humble origins to become a legendary entertainer--America's highest-paid singing comedienne. Her life inspired the musicals "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady." When I was growing up I was befriended by a former vaudevillian who'd known Brice, Gypsy Rose Lee, and other old-time stars, and told me there was a lot more to Brice's story than was suggested by "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady." That made me want to dig a little deeper into her life. The real story fascinated me.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE? WHY?
A: The role of Fanny Brice is a killer role. There's no better showcase to be found anywhere for a triple-threat actress. Brice made people laugh, and she made people cry. She sang, she did comedy, she danced--it's a tremendously challenging role to play--but a very rewarding one. I also like the supporting characters: Walter Winchell, Gypsy Rose Lee, W. C. Fields, Madame Elisa Friedman, Willie Weston--because they're so colorful.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS MUSICAL?
A: I wanted to offer a more honest look at Fanny Brice and Nicky Arnstein than had been seen before, and I wanted to tell the story using numbers that Brice herself actually sang--numbers like "Sadie Salome Go Home," "Ballin' the Jack," and "The Sheik of Avenue B"--numbers you'll find nowhere else.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: I'm very grateful to the actors who helped me develop this show. Talented actors like Emily Bordonaro, Jack Saleeby, Michael Townsend Wright--who've worked with me on assorted projects over the years. They weren't just the first people to bring this particular script to life; I actually wrote this script with them in mind. And their energy, their ideas, their personalities and enthusiasm helped make the show what it is.
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