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Funny girl, singular talent, American icon.

Fanny Brice hit stardom in the 1920s and, almost a century later, still inspires the public imagination. Ted Sperling, the music director of the 2008 revival South Pacific, pays tribute to Fanny with a night of songs she put on the Broadway map—classics like “Second Hand Rose” and “My Man” —as well as ones she inspired in Funny Girl. So, why’d you rather be blue? Come join us!

Click on the Program Notes tab to see a selection of songs from the show. presents an exclusive video preview of Ziegfeld Girl, featuring Ted Sperling and Leslie Kritzer.

Ted Sperling, artistic director & host
Jeffrey Klitz, music director & piano
David Eggers, associate stage director

Capathia Jenkins
Leslie Kritzer
Faith Prince
Clarke Thorell

Antoine Silverman, violin / Todd Groves, woodwinds / Kevin Kuhn, guitar/banjo / Pete Donovan, bass / David Ratajczak, drums


The May 4 afternoon performance is underwritten by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman.

Fanny Brice sings “My Man” on the “Good News” radio variety show, 10/03/38.

Fanny Brice sings “When a Woman Loves a Man” from the 1930 film Be Yourself.

Fanny Brice does her famous “Quainty Dainty Me” sketch from the 1938 film Everybody Sing (starring Judy Garland, who is seen at 2:11).

Fanny Brice as Snooks” and Judy Garland as a boy do the “Why?—Because!” sketch In the 1938 film Everybody Sing.

Fanny Brice cuts in on competition for most beautiful showgirl of Ziegfeld Follies of 1934, newsreel footage.

See Also:

On the Blog

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Fanny Brice’s obituary in The New York Times, May 29, 1951

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Funny Girl Debunked: Fanny Brice Facts,” by John Kenrick; a list of 26 facts about Fanny Brice that the movie didn’t quite get right. For example:

No. 6. Fanny was fired from a chorus by Broadway legend George M. Cohan. He dropped Brice from the Broadway cast of Talk of the Town because she could not dance. To cover her disappointment, Fanny claimed she was dumped because of her “skinny legs.” That incident inspired the Keeney (vaudeville theater) scenes in the musical.

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Fanny Brice page on PBS’ “Broadway: The American Musical” microsite

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Explore the Music

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Artistic Director’s Note

This is my sixth program for the Lyrics & Lyricists series, and after concerts on “Yip” Harburg, Frank Loesser, Sammy Cahn, Hoagy Carmichael, and Songs of America, I decided to build my latest concert around a legendary performer—Fanny Brice. Fanny was a singular talent. She could make you howl with laughter singing “Second Hand Rose,” and then move you to tears with “My Man.” She appeared in nine editions of the Ziegfeld Follies over the course of a quarter century, holding her own in sketches with W. C. Fields, Bert Williams, Will Rogers and Eddie Cantor. A maverick who was not conventionally pretty and had no training to speak of, Fanny made a very rapid ascent in show business and managed her career with a canny eye and a steely determination. She not only supported herself through her hard work on stage, she ran a successful dressmaking business on the side, and essentially raised her two children herself, despite having had three husbands!

The vaudeville stars we remember the best are the ones who made the successful transition to the newer media of radio, film and, later, television. Huge stars like Nora Bayes and Eva Tanguay are virtually unknown to audiences today because they never made that transition. Fanny did not fare well in Hollywood, despite a few wonderful performances, most notably as herself in the 1936 The Great Ziegfeld, and in the sketch, “A Sweepstakes Ticket,” with Hume Cronyn and William Frawley in 1945’s Ziegfeld Follies. Thanks to her radio show “Baby Snooks,” the Broadway musical Funny Girl, and the films Funny Girl and Funny Lady, she remains a household name, more than a century since her birth. And of course, she was the perfect inspiration for another singular talent, Barbra Streisand, to the point that it’s hard to separate our memory of Fanny from the indelible performances of Ms. Streisand.

Today, 50 years after the premiere of Funny Girl on Broadway, join me in celebrating the life and work of a comic genius who paved the way for many of the funny women we all grew up loving: Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin and so many others.

—Ted Sperling

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Selected Song List

Here is a selection of songs from “Ziegfeld Girl: The Many Faces of Fanny Brice”:

Lyrics by Billy Rose & Henry Tobias, music by Jesse Greer
From Be Yourself / Film (1930)

Lyrics by Bob Merrill, music by Jule Styne
From Funny Girl / Musical (1964)

Lyrics & music by Arthur Fields, Fred Hall and Billy Rose (1930)

Lyrics by Billy Rose; music by Fred Fisher
From My Man / Film (1928)

Lyrics by Billy Rose, music by Thomas “Fats” Waller & Harry Link (1929)

Lyrics by Mort Dixon and Billy Rose, music by Oscar Levant (1928)

Lyrics by Channing Pollock, Albert Willemetz & Jacques Charles; music by Maurice Yvain
From Ziegfeld Follies of 1921 / Revue (1921)

Lyrics & music by Irving Berlin (1909)

Lyrics by Grant Clarke, music by James F. Hanley
From Ziegfeld Follies of 1921 / Revue (1921)

Lyrics by Billy Rose, music by Ralph Rainger
From Be Yourself / Film (1930)

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Meet the Artists

Ted Sperling, artistic director, writer & host

Ted Sperling has been active in the New York theater and concert world for 30 years. He was music director and conductor of the 2008 Tony Award–winning revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater, and in 2005 he won Tony and Drama Desk awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Among his many other Broadway credits, Ted was music director and arranger for Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. As an actor, Ted was an original cast member of Titanic, playing bandleader Wallace Hartley; this past February he joined other original cast members for a concert performance of the show at Avery Fisher Hall.

Off-Broadway, Ted directed the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See and Striking 12. As music director, his Off-Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, Stephen Sondheim’s Wise Guys, Saturn Returns, Floyd Collins, A New Brain and Romance in Hard Times. In the past two years he has directed all-star gala productions of Cabaret and The Pirates of Penzance for The Public Theater. In regional theater, Ted just finished directing a production of The Other Josh Cohen at the Paper Mill Playhouse and the world premiere of Red Eye of Love in Maine.

Earlier this season, Ted was named artistic director of New York’s Collegiate Chorale and principal conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. He is a frequent guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, and he has conducted many other major orchestras, including the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco symphonies, with such soloists as Audra McDonald, Deborah Voigt, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot. He has conducted concert versions of such works as The Mikado, Song of Norway and Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at Carnegie Hall, and Kurt Weill’s The Firebrand of Florence at Alice Tully Hall.

In his film work, Ted has conducted songs for Anastasia and the scores of The Manchurian Candidate, Everything Is Illuminated and 3 Backyards. He made his film directorial debut with the short musical film, Love, Mom, for which he won the Director’s Choice Award at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival. Ted received the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater, and is the musical theater consultant at The Public Theater, as well as the creative director of the 24 Hour Musicals. His website is

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Jeffrey Klitz, music director & piano

Jeffrey Klitz was most recently seen on Broadway as music director and conductor for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He was also music director and conductor for Broadway’s Lennon and Hot Feet, conductor for Guys and Dolls; and conductor and choral arranger for Song and Dance and On Your Toes. Regionally, Jeffrey won the Joseph Jefferson Award for his music direction of The House of Martin Guerre at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

Jeffrey has been music director and pianist for such Broadway and pop stars as Betty Buckley, Judy Collins, Joanna Gleason, Joel Grey, Paulo Szot, Tommy Tune and Chip Zien. A recent career highlight came last December when he provided piano accompaniment for an evening honoring lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; performers included Tyne Daly, Christine Ebersole, Lari White and Alan Bergman. In the studio, Jeffrey produced and arranged Judy Kuhn’s CD, Serious Playground, and contributed arrangements and orchestrations to Victoria Clark’s CD, Fifteen Seconds of Grace. Jeffrey has also served as arranger and orchestrator for the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Walt Disney Studios; and arranger and producer for Paul McCartney’s music publishing house, MPL Music Publishing.

Among Jeffrey’s film and television credits are arrangements, orchestrations and piano performances for Lucas, “One Life to Live” and “All My Children.” He has been conductor on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Fox Sports 1” and “America’s Got Talent.” This is Jeffrey’s eighth Lyrics & Lyricists; his last was as music director of 2012’s Songs of America.

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David Eggers, associate stage director

David Eggers returns to Lyrics & Lyricists after serving as associate stage director & associate choreographer for January’s “Going Hollywood: MGM Musicals.” David worked with Kathleen Marshall as associate choreographer for Broadway’s Nice Work if You Can Get It and Anything Goes, and New York City Center Encores! Off-Center’s I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, where he also served as associate director. Later this year, he will direct and choreograph the first US national tour of Nice Work if You Can Get It.

David was one of the choreographers for Burlesque to Broadway, which ran in February. Last fall he was choreographer and assistant director for Off-Broadway’s Possibility Junkie. He choreographed the musicals Bye Bye Birdie in Indiana and The Last Starfighter for the New York Music Theater Festival, and he co-choreographed Town Hall’s “Broadway By The Year: 1965.” He was assistant choreographer for Shakespeare in the Park’s 2005 production of the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona.

As a dancer, David has been in ten Broadway shows, including Billy Elliot, Curtains, The Pajama Game, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wonderful Town. His other performing credits include the national tours of Cats and Chicago; A Connecticut Yankee and Tenderloin at New York City Center Encores!; Follies at Paper Mill Playhouse; and Forever Plaid in Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Cincinnati. David is a guest teacher for several dance programs, including Front & Center Performing Arts in Springfield, New Jersey, and American Theatre Dance Workshop in New Hyde Park, New York.

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Capathia Jenkins, vocals

Capathia Jenkins most recently starred on Broadway as Medda in the hit Disney musical, Newsies. Previously she was seen in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, where she sang “Stop the Show”—and did just that. Her other Broadway appearances include the Burt Bacharach–Hal David revue, The Look of Love; Caroline, or Change, in which she created the role of The Washing Machine; and The Civil War. Among her Off-Broadway credits, Capathia starred in Nora Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and she earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for her starring role in (mis)Under-standing Mammy—The Hattie McDaniel Story.

As an active concert artist, Capathia joined Peter Nero and the Philly Pops for their 2012 “Holiday Pops!,” and she will return in February 2015 to star in their show, “Classic Soul.” Capathia has appeared as soloist with orchestras across North America, including the Cincinnati Pops; Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras; and Atlanta, National, Pittsburgh (with Marvin Hamlisch) and Toronto symphonies. She has also appeared with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and in 2011 she performed in the “Broadway Ambassadors to Cuba” concert for the Festival de Teatro de La Habana.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Capathia can be heard on the film soundtracks of Nine, Chicago and Legally Blonde 2. Her television credits include “30 Rock,” “The Practice,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Third Watch” and “The Sopranos.” Capathia sits on the international board of directors of Covenant House, with sites in North and Central America. Her website is

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Leslie Kritzer, vocals

Leslie Kritzer burst onto the musical theater scene in 2001 with a critically acclaimed performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at the Paper Mill Playhouse. She made her Broadway debut soon after in Hairspray, followed by Legally Blonde, winning the Clarence Derwent Award for most promising performer; A Catered Affair, earning a Drama Desk nomination; Sondheim on Sondheim; and most recently ELF, in which she starred as Jovie.

Last year Leslie was seen Off-Broadway in two musicals: Nobody Loves You and The Memory Show. This summer she will appear in the new musical Piece of My Heart, at the Signature Center. Her other Off-Broadway credits include Rooms: A Rock Romance, which earned her an Outer Critics Circle nomination; The Great American Trailer Park Musical, earning her a second Drama Desk nomination, and Bat Boy: The Musical. She played Hildy in On the Town for New York City Center Encores!, and she was in the national tour of Urinetown. Her regional credits include Pop! at Yale Repertory Theatre, Every Tongue Confess at the Arena Stage and First You Dream at the Kennedy Center.

Leslie received critical acclaim, a TimeOut New York Award and a Special Achievement MAC Award for Leslie Kritzer Is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches, a recreation of Patti LuPone's famed nightclub act. The show had a sold-out run at Joe’s Pub, followed by performances at The Plush Room in San Francisco. Leslie recently returned to Joe’s Pub with her new solo show, Beautiful Disaster. Follow her on Twitter @LeslieKritzer.

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Faith Prince, vocals

Faith Prince won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. She most recently starred as Miss Hannigan in the revival of Annie; her other Broadway credits, earning her three Tony nominations, among other honors, include A Catered Affair, The Little Mermaid, Bells Are Ringing, Nick & Nora, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Little Me and Noises Off. Faith also starred in the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Unusual Acts of Devotion at the Philadelphia Theatre Company and in the national tour of Billy Elliot.

Faith currently appears in the recurring role of Gloria on the ABC Family series “Melissa & Joey,” and she just wrapped a five-season run on Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva.” She was also a series regular on Showtime’s “Huff.” Her other television credits include “Happy Endings,” “Ugly Betty,” “Spin City,” “CSI,” “House,” “Monk” and “Law & Order.” Faith’s film credits include Our Very Own, Picture Perfect, Dave and My Father the Hero.

Faith often works with the Boston, Cincinnati and Philly Pops, and the Utah Symphony; she recently starred in the Orlando Philharmonic’s concert version of Sweeney Todd. She has toured Australia with her show, Moving On, and she toured the US with Over the Rainbow, a concert celebrating the centennial of Harold Arlen. Her album, Total Faith: Live from the Royal Room at the Colony, recorded live at the Royal Room of the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, was released last year by Broadway Records, and her award-winning debut album, A Leap Of Faith, was recorded live at Joe’s Pub.

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Clarke Thorell, vocals

Clarke Thorell most recently played the villainous Rooster Hannigan in the Broadway revival of Annie. A San Diego native, Clarke made his Broadway debut in The Who’s Tommy, and he originated the roles of Corny Collins in the Broadway company of Hairspray and Jim Farrell in Titanic. He pinch-hit for John Pizzarelli at Radio City Music Hall in Sinatra: His Voice. His World. His Way; stepped into the long-running Mamma Mia! as Harry Bright, and starred opposite Megan Hilty in the New York City Center Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Clarke’s Off-Broadway credits include Satellites, Lone Star Love, Sondheim’s Saturday Night, and the New York Theatre Workshop’s developmental production of Sondheim’s Wise Guys, directed by Sam Mendes, with musical direction by Ted Sperling. Among his regional credits are Orsino in Twelfth Night at the Old Globe in San Diego; Charles in School for Scandal at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton; and Homer in Floyd Collins in San Diego, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Clarke’s film and television credits include the upcoming Cinemax mini-series “The Knick,” directed by Steven Soderbergh, as well as Men in Black III, The Winning Season, “Boardwalk Empire,” “30 Rock,” “NYC 2-2”, “Rescue Me,” “Kings,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “The Sopranos.” Last fall he debuted his first New York City solo concert, “Songs I Wish I’d Written” at Birdland jazz club. He has performed with artists including Dave Brubeck, Liza Minnelli, ABBA, The Red Clay Ramblers and Pete Townshend, and he is a member of Michael McElroy’s Broadway Inspirational Voices.

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Band Bios: Antoine Silverman, violin; Todd Groves, woodwinds; Kevin Kuhn, guitar/banjo; Pete Donovan, bass / David Ratajczak, drums

Violinist Antoine Silverman is currently playing in the orchestra of Bullets over Broadway. He was music coordinator and concertmaster for Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and concertmaster of Shrek: The Musical, Legally Blonde, Urban Cowboy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, High Fidelity and others. He has worked with artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, Moby, Rod Stewart, Sheryl Crow, Lou Reed and Audra McDonald. He has been soloist with the Boston Pops, and he portrayed Einstein in the 2012 world tour of the Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach. Antoine has released two solo records—Gypsy Swing and Blue Moods—and he has written two educational books on the violin. His website is

Woodwinds player Todd Groves can be heard in the orchestra of Broadway’s Aladdin. His previous Broadway credits include Motown: The Musical, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Follies, The Snow Geese and Ragtime. He has also performed for The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and New York City Center Encores! He has played with such artists and ensembles as Audra McDonald, Michael Feinstein, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Crawford, Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin; the American, New Jersey and Trenton symphonies; and the New Jersey Saxophone Quartet. Todd has recorded with HEM, Boyz II Men, R Kelly and Josh Young, and on many cast albums. He serves on the faculty of the University of Delaware. His website is

Kevin Kuhn is currently guitarist for Aladdin. His other Broadway credits include The Lion King, The Coast of Utopia (Part 1—Voyage), The Who’s Tommy, The Secret Garden and Chess. He has performed with such artists as Sutton Foster, Jane Krakowski, Sarah Brightman, Rita Coolidge, Elton John and Quincy Jones, as well as most of the resident companies of Lincoln Center. His discography includes Audra McDonald’s 2013 release, Go Back Home; recent CDs of Phillip Chaffin, Lucie Arnaz, Rebecca Luker, Liz Callaway and Malcolm Gets; and the soundtracks of Who Cares about Kelsey, The Informant and Gangs of New York. As a composer, Kevin has been on the staff at Score Productions, Big Wave Music and Shelly Palmer Productions.

Pete Donovan has been the bass player for Broadway’s Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, On the Town, High Society and The Producers, as well as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He has worked with a diverse array of artists, including Sting, Bono, Quincy Jones, Joshua Bell, Plácido Domingo, Marvin Hamlisch, Jane Krakowski and Patti LuPone. He has also performed with such leading orchestras and companies as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Pops, National Symphony and The Metropolitan Opera. He can be heard on numerous cast recordings, including The Light in the Piazza, Floyd Collins and South Pacific, and on the soundtrack of such films as Across the Universe and You’ve Got Mail. His website is

Drummer Dave Ratajczak has played for many Tony Award–winning shows, including Mary Poppins, The Music Man, City of Angels and Titanic. One of his career highlights was re-creating the role of Gene Krupa in a Carnegie Hall celebration of the 50th anniversary of Benny Goodman’s concert there. Dave has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Gerry Mulligan, Milt Hinton, Rosemary Clooney, Bebe Neuwirth, Christine Ebersole, Lea Salonga, the New York Philharmonic and The Boston Pops. He has performed on the sound tracks of several major films, such as The Informant, Dead Man Walking, The Pelican Brief and Biloxi Blues. Dave also stars in the title role of the award-winning short film The Drummer; its website is

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