CAST & CREATIVE
FANNY BRICE ALTERNATEas Fanny Brice every Thursday evening performance
Julie Benko (as Fanny Brice Alternate, Fanny Brice on Thursdays). The luckiest standby in the world! Her new album Hand in Hand with jazz pianist (and, adorably, her new spouse) Jason Yeager, will be released August 26th on Club44 Records. Julie has performed with Broadway and touring productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, and Spring Awakening. Favorite off-Broadway/regional credits include Once, The Fantasticks, Bar Mitzvah Boy, Our Town, Rags, The Golem of Havana, …Spelling Bee, and more. She holds an MFA and a BFA (yes, both) from NYU-Tisch. Her debut album “Introducing Julie Benko” is available for streaming. Follow @Jujujuliebee or visit www.JulieBenko.com for updates. For more personal information, write to her mother.
Peter Francis James (Florenz Ziegfeld) was most recently seen on Broadway as Barack, in Hillary and Clinton, and appears as Archie Gaines, in the EPIX series “Godfather of Harlem.” Other Broadway credits include: Present Laughter (w/Kevin Kline), The Merchant of Venice (w/Al Pacino), On Golden Pond (w/James Earl Jones), Drowning Crow, and, Judgment at Nuremberg. For the NY Public Theater: Colin Powell in Stuff Happens (OBIE, Drama Desk, & Lucille Lortel Awards), Much Ado About Nothing, Venus, Hamlet, Long Day’s Journey…at CSC: The Maids (OBIE Award). Signature Theater: The Lady From Dubuque, (Lortel Nomination). U.K.: The Lady From Dubuque (w/Maggie Smith), Cymbeline (RSC). Film and TV: The Humbling, Song One, The Losers, The Rebound, The Messenger, “The Time Traveller’s Wife,” ”neXt,” “Katy Keene,” “Bull,” “The Code,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Oz,” “Royal Pains,” “Gossip Girl,” “Kings,” “The Rosa Parks Story,” “Simple Justice,” ”The Ruby Bridges Story,” all the “Law & Order” series. Narration: more than 70 books and numerous awards. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he taught Shakespeare at The Yale School of Drama, from 2000-2020.
Emma/Mrs. Nadler, u/s Fanny, u/s Meeker
Ephie Aardema (Emma/Mrs. Nadler, u/s Fanny, u/s Meeker) was recently nominated for a Jeff Award for her performance in “Emma” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She played Dawn in the 1st national tour of Waitress, originated Tai in Clueless The Musical, and was in the original Broadway cast of The Bridges of Madison County. National tour credits include Fiddler on the Roof (Chava), and The Sound of Music (Liesl). Her other NYC/Off-Broadway credits include playing Monteen in Parade at Lincoln Center, Songbird, Daddy Long Legs, and Dear Edwina (Edwina). Regionally she has played at the Old Globe, La Jolla, Papermill, PCLO, Goodspeed, and St. Louis Rep among many others.
Debra Cardona (Mrs. Meeker) Morning’s at Seven (off-Broadway) and A Christmas Carol (Madison Square Garden). Consuelo in On Your Feet national tour. Abuela Claudia in In the Heights (Portland Center Stage), Emma Goldman in Ragtime (Paper Mill Playhouse). TV: Hector’s Mom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, appearances on Pose, Station 19, Scandal, and Mimi’s Mother in Rent: Live.
Toni Dibuono (Mrs. Strakosh) On Broadway Toni has appeared as Luce in the revival of The Boys From Syracuse and Mrs. Wade in Wonderful Town. She has extensive Off-Broadway credits including her star turn in Forbidden Broadway for which she earned a Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Musical and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Most Striking Debut. She was also seen in Bad Habits at MTC, Up Against It at The Public Theatre, and The Transport Group’s Tiny Closet. Regionally, she appeared in The Humans, Twelfth Night, The Miracle Worker, Cabaret, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, A Christmas Carol, Mary Poppins, and Slow Food. She has guest starred on “Law and Order SVU,” “Life and Beth,” “Daredevil,” “God Friended Me,” HBO’s “The Leftovers,” and series lead on PBS’s “Mathnet.” Commercials from GIEKO to toilet paper! Toni resides in New Jersey with her husband, actor Michael McGrath, daughter, actress Katie Claire McGrath, her dog, actress Georgie, and kitties Gordon and Nancy (they’re not in the business).
Martin Moran (Tom Keeney) Broadway and Off-Broadway performances include roles in: Spamalot, Cabaret, Titanic, Sing Street, Wicked, Bells Are Ringing, How to Succeed in Business, Big River, Floyd Collins (Playwrights Horizons), A Man of No Importance (Lincoln Center Theater), 3 Kinds of Exile and Cider House Rules at The Atlantic Theater Company and Mans A Man at Classic Stage Company. His one-man play, All the Rage, received a 2013 Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Off Broadway Solo Show. He received a 2004 OBIE and two Drama Desk nominations for The Tricky Part, based upon his memoir which won the 2005 A Lambda Prize and Barnes and Noble Discover Award. Moran’s writing has appeared in Ploughshares, the Pushcart Prize anthology and the New York Times. His second memoir, All the Rage, was released in 2016 by Beacon Press. His latest play, Theo, premiered in 2019 at Two River Theater.
Ensemble, u/s Emma
Amber Ardolino (Ensemble, u/s Emma) Recently seen in the Broadway casts of Hamilton, Moulin Rouge and Head Over Heels! National Tours include Rock of Ages, West Side Story and Flashdance. Film/TV Credits: In The Heights, “Fosse/Verdon,” “Law & Order: SVU.” Follow along on TikTok/IG: @ambernicoleardolino
Daniel Beeman (Ensemble, Tenor) BIO He/Him. Broadway debut! Tour: Hello, Dolly! (Cornelius Hackl), Something Rotten! (u/s Shakespeare). Regional: KC Rep, KC Starlight, MTWichita, Ogunquit, Spinning Tree. Endless love and gratitude to family, every teacher I’ve ever had, BRS/Gage, and Sean. For Patricia.
Swing, u/s Ziegfeld/Keeney
Colin Bradbury (Swing, u/s Ziegfeld/Keeney) Broadway: Carousel; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Come Fly Away. Other NYC: Radio City Christmas Spectacular; Trip of Love; Bombshell, in Concert; The Jack Cole Project. National Tours: Hello Dolly!; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The Book of Mormon, Come Fly Away, A Chorus Line, White Christmas, 42nd Street. TV/Film: Fosse/Verdon; Hail Caesar!; Isn’t It Romantic.
Ensemble, u/s Nick
Kurt Thomas Csolak (Ensemble, u/s Nick) NYC: The Tap Dance Kid – NYCC Encores!, Fall for Dance 2021 – NYCC, Carnegie Hall, Little Island Dance Festival. Regional: Ayodele Casel’s Chasing Magic – A.R.T., 42nd Street – The Ordway, Hot Shoe Shuffle – The Wick, White Christmas – Westchester Broadway. International: Tap Dogs. Concerts/Tours: Rhythmic Circus Holiday Shuffle, Dorrance Dance, JAM Project, CPD Plus. TV/Film: “The Performance,” NBC’s “World of Dance” S1 (Rhythmatic), “America’s Got Talent,” “Speed Racer The Next Generation,” “Alientologists.” Education: NYU – BA Gallatin School of Individualized Study. An accomplished filmmaker, founder of solarcproductions.com, producing ‘NY Times Critics Pick’ and award winning films, industrials, commercials, music videos. @kurtcsolak
Leslie Donna Flesner (Ensemble) has been featured in eight Broadway shows including Tootsie (u/s Sandy), Hello, Dolly starring Bette Midler (u/s Irene Molloy), An American in Paris, Honeymoon in Vegas, Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Chaplin (u/s Hedda Hopper, Oona, Hannah), Follies starring Bernadette Peters (u/s Young Heidi) and Finian’s Rainbow (u/s Susan the Silent). Other New York credits include NY City Center Encores! productions of Mack & Mabel, Call Me Madam, Finian’s Rainbow, Fanny and the world premiere of War Paint starring Patti LuPone. TV: “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Knick,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” The Tony Awards, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Regionally, Leslie was most recently seen as the deliciously dim-witted Hedy LaRue in Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of How to Succeed…; Leslie is a passionate educator and recently launched an online virtual studio called Broadway Imagined. Thanks to Hybrid and all my love to Justin @lesfles
Candice Hatakeyama (Ensemble). Broadway debut! Recent Credits: 42nd Street (Goodspeed Musicals); Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Hangar Theatre); Catch Me If You Can (Arena Stage). BFA Syracuse University. Endless aloha to my family and friends, manager Ann, and the Funny Girl team! IG: @canditheduck
Masumi Iwai (Ensemble) is beyond thrilled to be making her Broadway debut! Born and raised in Japan, Masumi moved to NYC 6 years ago to pursue a career in musical theater. Favorite credits include National Tour: The King and I (based on the Lincoln Center Production). Regional theater: FLY (La Jolla Playhouse, Dir: Jeffrey Seller, Choreo: Andy Blankenbuehler), Mamma Mia! (North Shore Music Theater). Education: Osaka University of Arts, Peridance International Dance School. Grateful to my family and friends both in the US and Japan who have helped me on my journey. @mmmasssun
Aliah James (Ensemble) is ecstatic to be making her Broadway debut at The August Wilson Theatre! First National Tour: Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Additional favorites: Newsies (Westchester Broadway Theatre), 42nd Street (The Rev Theatre), After Midnight (Norwegian Escape) Education: Point Park University: BFA, Modern Dance. She would to thank the Mine Agency, her amazingly supportive family and friends, and mom for being a constant force in her life!
Standby Nick, Ziegfeld, Keeney
Jeremiah James (Standby Nick, Ziegfeld, Keeney) Theater: BROADWAY: Funny Girl WEST END: Carousel OFF BROADWAY: The Fantasticks, SWEETEE. TOURS: Oklahoma! Regional: Les Miserables, Crazy for You, The Rose Tattoo, Young Frankenstein, Treasure Island, The great American Mousical, Lend Me a Tenor, Singing in the Rain, Show Boat, Anything Goes, Urinetown, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Adams Family. Radio: “Elaine Paige on Sunday” (BBC Radio), “The Alan Carr Show” (BBC Radio) and “Friday Night is Music Night” (BBC Radio). TV/Film: “The Alan Titchmarsh Show,” “This Morning” on ITV, The BBC New Year’s Eve countdown, “GMTV,” “Port Charles” (ABC), and “General Hospital” (ABC), “May Day”. Concerts: “The Royal Variety Performance,” (For HRH Queen Elizabeth the 2nd), “Music on fire”, “Proms in Hyde Park” Albums: Teatro Sony/BMG, Tupelo Yellow Sound Label. Co-Host of “The University of Pleasure” Podcast. JeremiahJames.net
Swing, u/s Mrs. Strakosh
Danielle Kelsey (Swing, u/s Mrs. Strakosh) One newborn-turned-toddler and a pandemic later, I am so freaking excited to be making my Broadway debut. It brings me such happiness to acknowledge the incredible and caring community surrounding me. From my amazing husband and ready-to-help mom to the countless outdoor visits with friends and family, your love has held this new mama up, and I am grateful. www.DanielleKelsey.com
Ensemble, u/s Nick
Stephen Mark Lukas (Ensemble, u/s Nick) has appeared on Broadway as Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. Selected regional theatre credits: Paper Mill Playhouse (Gaston, Beauty and the Beast), Goodspeed Opera House (Joe Hardy, Damn Yankees), Ogunquit Playhouse (Curly, Oklahoma!). Television: “Gossip Girl,” “FBI: Most Wanted.” Graduate of NYU/ Tisch School of the Arts. With love and gratitude to my family, Brian, HCKR, and the entire Funny Girl team. Instagram: @smlukas
Alicia Hadiya Lundgren (Swing) Broadway: Shuffle Along. New York: Rockette at The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The Metropolitan Opera, Crazy For You (Lincoln Center). Regional: Ain’t Misbehavin’. Concert dance: The Chase Brock Experience, Caleb Teicher and Co, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Philadanco, Ailey II. Television: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Z: The Beginning,” MTV Video Music Awards. Choreography: “Encores!” Disney Plus. Associate Choreographer: Be More Chill Broadway / UK, Soul the Stax Musical, Hercules at The Public Theater.
Ensemble, u/s Eddie
John Manzari (Ensemble, u/s Eddie) is an Ovation Award and Helen Hayes Award nominated artist. Stage: The Tap Dance Kid, Ayodele Casel’s: Chasing Magic, NY Pops Up, 42ND Street, Maurice Hines: Tappin’Thru Life, The Wiz is 40, and Sophisticated Ladies. Television: “The Kennedy Center at 50,” “The View,” “Michael Feinstein at the Rainbow Room,” and “The Jerry Lewis Telethon.” John can be seen in the documentary about his mentor titled Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back and the award-winning short film Slip.
Standby Mrs. Brice/Strakosh/Meeker
Liz McCartney (Standby Mrs. Brice/Strakosh/Meeker) Broadway: Sunday In The Park With George, My Fair Lady, Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera, The Dance Of The Vampires, TABOO, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mamma Mia, South Pacific, Annie. National Tours: The Little Mermaid, Souvenir, Cinderella, Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera, The Rocky Horror Show, Wicked. TV: “The Blacklist,” “The Other Two,” “Annie-Live,” “Madam Secretary,” “Murphy Brown,” “Bull.”
Katie Mitchell (Ensemble) is a rose-wine loving performer, fitness professional, and mama with a Boston Terrier obsession! Her journey as a performer began in Florida at the Miami Conservatory of Ballet after her elementary school dance teacher told her mom: “with that child’s legs and beautiful feet, she needs to be dancing!” Thanks, Miss Bridgette! Katie later studied dance at New World School of the Arts and went on to Southern Methodist University, where she earned a BFA in Dance Performance as well as degrees in Math and Business. After college, she moved to New York City to pursue her passion for performing. Katie spent several years as the center Rockette, the tallest of the tall ladies, both on the road and in NYC. Some of her favorite theater credits include Sheila in A Chorus Line, Diana Dream/Dolores Dolores in On the Town, and Mona (better known as “Lipschitz”) and Liz (“Pop”) in Chicago the Musical (Broadway company). She also works as a fitness professional at various gyms and exercise studios across NYC and on Long Island and can be seen in many fitness videos. Katie loves this show and is honored to be a part of the cast!
Mariah Reshea Reives (Ensemble) is over the moon thrilled that she will be making her Broadway debut! She began her training at an early age, dancing at a studio in Sanford, North Carolina. She then went on to train at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as a High School student before going on to graduate from Marymount Manhattan College with a B.A. in Teaching Dance Arts. Reives’ credits include Cassandra in the First National Tour of Cats, Carmen (Principle Dancer), Me and My Girl (Ensemble), The New Yorkers (Ensemble), Jerome Robbins Broadway (Ensemble) and The Wiz (Ensemble). She has been seen on television with “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” performed with Lin Manuel Miranda, MAC Cosmetics commercial, and many more. Mariah thanks her amazing agents at BlocNYC, her family, and friends who continue to support her! @mariahreives
Ensemble, u/s Eddie
Justin Prescott (Ensemble, u/s Eddie) A Houston, TX native, Justin received his BFA in Dance (Cum Laude) from SUNY Purchase College. He’s been performing on Broadway for 10 years, with this production being his tenth show! TV/Film credits include, In the Heights, “Pose,” “SMASH,” and The Kennedy Center Honors. As a choreographer he’s created original works for Pace University, The American Musical Dramatic Academy (AMDA LA), and most recently created an original piece called All In A Days Work at Loyola University, New Orleans.
Leslie Blake Walker (Ensemble) Leslie is thrilled to be making her Broadway debut in this historic revival! Born in Las Vegas to a showgirl and a craps dealer, Leslie grew up accustomed to a fierce pair of heels and a sensible high kick. Select regional credits include Papermill Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Goodspeed New Musicals, and Connecticut Repertory Theatre. She is a proud BFA graduate of The Hartt School and is represented by CESD. “Sending all of my love and gratitude to my family, friends, and mentors. Thank you for carrying me to this moment.” Insta: @leslieblakewalker
JOHN MICHAEL FIUMARA (Swing). Thrilled to have the tap shoes on for this one! Steven Spielberg’s (West Side Story) movie, (Newsies) on Broadway, (Hamilton) Chicago, and Los Ángeles. Thanks to The Divine, Mom, Dad, Christine, Sarah, Abi, Bloc Talent Agency, Jim, and of course, Abby Lee.
CONNOR McRORY (Swing) is thrilled to be making his Broadway debut! NYC: Trip of Love, Eurydice. National tours: Finding Neverland, White Christmas. Regionally: The Muny, PCLO, TUTS, Goodspeed, Sacramento Music Circus, Ogunquit, MSMT. Love to my parents, mentors and CESD. @Connormcrory
MIRIAM ALI (Swing) is overjoyed making her Broadway debut! Endless love to my family, Nicholas Cunningham, Michael Minarik, Justin Ramos and The Institute for American Musical Theatre family! Stay spicy. @miriamali11
Understudy Mrs. Brice/Strakosh/Meeker
BARBARA TIRRELL (Understudy Mrs. Brice/Strakosh/Meeker). Broadway: Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie. Off Broadway: A Man of No Importance (Mitzi Newhouse). Regional: Kennedy Center, Guthrie Theatre, Arena Stage. TV: HBO’s “Pretty Little Liars,” “Vinyl,” and “Boardwalk Empire,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “FBI,” “Jessica Jones.” Member of The Actors Center.
Michael Mayer (Director) Theatre credits include: the hit revival of Little Shop of Horrors starring Jonathan Groff at the Westside Theatre; Adam Driver and Keri Russell in Burn This, Head Over Heels (featuring the songs of The Go-Go’s), Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony Award, best musical revival, also National Tour), Spring Awakening (Tony Award/Best Musical and Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Director; also London, National Tour, Vienna, Tokyo, and Seoul productions); Green Day’s American Idiot (also co-author, Drama Desk Award for Best Director; also US, UK and Asia tours); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award/Best Musical also London and National Tour), Side Man (Tony Award/Best Play also London and Kennedy Center Productions), A View from the Bridge (Tony Award/Best Revival), Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender, Everyday Rapture, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Triumph of Love; off-Broadway credits include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 21 Chump Street (BAM), Chess (Kennedy Center), Love, Love, Love (Roundabout), Brooklynite (Also co-author, Vineyard), Whorl Inside A Loop (with Dick Scanlan, Second Stage), 10 Million Miles (Atlantic): Angels in America. London: a record-breaking West End run of Funny Girl and UK tour. Tokyo: As You Like It (Toho Theatre).
Film: A Home at the End of the World (Excellence in filmmaking, National Board of Review, GLAAD nomination), Flicka, The Seagull. He was featured in the documentary Broadway Idiot.
Television credits include: “SMASH” (Pilot, producing director: Season One), two seasons of “Alpha House” (Amazon), Executive Producer on 27 Dresses and for the HBO film WIG.
He made his Metropolitan Opera debut with a celebrated new production of Rigoletto, followed by world premiere co-production (with the English National Opera) of Nico Muhly’s Marnie, and a new production of La Traviata, which broke box office records.
Additional Awards and fellowships: the inaugural Daryl Roth Creative Spirit, Drama League, Jefferson, Ovation, Alan Schneider, and Carbonell awards; Fox Foundation Fellowship, Two Drama League Fellowships, TCG/NEA Directing Fellowship. He serves on the Boards of New York Stage and Film and the Arthur Miller Foundation.
Recent work includes Swept Away at Berkeley Rep and Single All the Way for Netflix.
Ellenore Scott (Choreography) is a New York–based choreographer and content creator. Scott most recently choreographed the viral Ratatouille: The Musical with Seaview Productions and the Off-Broadway Revival of Little Shop of Horrors at the Westside Theater. Upcoming projects include the Off-Broadway premiere of Fairycakes where she will serve as choreographer and associate director. Scott also served as the associate choreographer for Head Over Heels and King Kong on Broadway, and she was the assistant choreographer for the Broadway revivals of Cats and Falsettos. She choreographed Kate Hamill’s Off-Broadway’s production of Pride and Prejudice at Cherry Lane Theatre and Jeremy O. Harris’ Black Exhibition at The Bushwick Starr. Scott is the Artistic Director of ELSCO Dance, a New York City contemporary dance company. As a performer she was a finalist and an All-Star on the hit television show “So You Think You Can Dance.” She performed on numerous television shows (Glee, Smash, The Ellen Show, The Blacklist, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to name a few) and danced with Janet Jackson. Instagram: @ellenorescott
Ayodele Casel (Tap Choreography), “a tap dancer and choreographer of extraordinary depth” (The New York Times) and one of The New York Times’ “Biggest Breakout Stars of 2019”, most recently premiered “Chasing Magic” a dance film encapsulating the wonder of collaboration and artistry. Ayodele premiered her one-woman show “While I Have The Floor” at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. A frequent New York City Center collaborator, she served as choreographer for Carole King and Maurice Sendak’s musical “Really Rosie” for its Encores! Off Center under the direction of Leigh Silverman, a soloist for Jeanine Tesori’s “Jamboree”, a soloist at Fall For Dance, and was the inaugural artist for their “On The Move” series. Ayodele was also a 2019-2020 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Artist in Residence at Harvard University. Born in The Bronx and raised in Puerto Rico, Ayodele began her professional training at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her origins in theater and love for storytelling and tap dance have significantly contributed to the narrative nature of her work, which is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication. Ayodele is Artist in Residence at Little Island, a new outdoor performance park on the Hudson and is on the Artist Council for NY Pops Up!, a New York State lead initiative to jumpstart live performances in NYC. Ayodele is also a featured tap dancer honoring the art form of tap on a 2021 US Postal Service Forever Stamp. https://www.ayodelecasel.com/
Jule Styne (Music) Born December 31st, 1905, London. Died September 20th, 1994, New York City.
With the scores of such Broadway classics as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Peter Pan, Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy and Funny Girl to his credit, composer Jule Styne ranks as one of the undisputed architects of the American musical theater. Born in London’s East End, Styne’s family moved to the United States in 1912.
Young Julius showed such a talent for the piano that he had performed with the Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit symphonies by age 10.
He developed his feel for popular music working with the jazz bands of 1920s Chicago, and as a vocal coach to such 1930s Hollywood stars as Shirley Temple and Alice Faye.
Teaming with lyricist Sammy Cahn in the 1940s, he created a string of hit parade leaders including the Oscar-winning “Three Coins in the Fountain.” In addition to Sammy Cahn, Styne’s collaborators include Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Merrill, Leo Robin and E.Y. Harburg, and their combined efforts have produced such showstoppers as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “The Party’s Over,” “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!,” “People,” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Jule Styne was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, the Theater Hall of Fame in 1981, and became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1990. On his 25th anniversary in show business, the following tribute was read into the Congressional Record: “The lives of Americans throughout our land, as well as the lives of people throughout the corners of the world, have been enriched by the artistry and genius of Jule Styne.”
Margaret Ann Bissett Brown began her career as a model and actress. She was married to composer Jule Styne, and together, they composed “What Do Happy People Do?” Upon Margaret’s death, Funny Girl producers announced, “Margaret was a brilliant storyteller who represented her husband Jule Styne’s genius legacy with creativity and imagination … Her spirit will be imbued in our Broadway production of Funny Girl.”
Bob Merrill (Lyrics) was an American screenwriter, Broadway composer, lyricist. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Bob could not read or write a note of music.
He would plunk out his cheerful melodies on a toy xylophone bought at a five and dime store. When ideas for songs struck him, he would write the words down on napkins or odd scraps of paper.
Bob turned out to be one of the most influential and prolific songwriters of the 1950s with hits on the U.S. and U.K. Singles Charts such as “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window,” “Mambo Italiano” and “Honeycomb.”
Merrill then transitioned to writing lyrics for beloved television musicals including “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962), “The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood” (1965) and “The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (music and lyrics, 1998). Merrill also wrote five songs for the 1962 film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.
Longing to write more profound songs, he turned to the musical theatre. By the late fifties, he had written music and lyrics for Broadway’s New Girl in Town, Take Me Along, Carnival, and Henry, Sweet Henry.
In the early 1960’s Merrill formed an enduring partnership with composer Jule Styne, which would lead to his greatest artistic success, Funny Girl (1964). Hit songs such as “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” were made famous by Barbra Streisand, who starred in the original production of Funny Girl in 1964. He would partner with Styne again on Sugar (1972) and The Red Shoes (1993). Other stage musicals include Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1966), Prettybelle (1971) and The Prince of Grand Street (1978).
In the late 1970’s, Merrill returned to Hollywood where he wrote several screenplays including Mahogany starring Diana Ross, W.C . Fields And Me starring Rod Steiger and Chu Chu And The Philly Flash starring Carol Burnett.
Bob Merrill passed away in 1998, leaving behind a legacy of timeless songs that spoke to both his whimsy and his gentle poetry.
Isobel Lennart (Book) (1915-1971) was born Isobel Fredrika Hochdorf on May 8, 1915, in Brooklyn. Her father was a dentist working out of their home on Crescent Street. Her mother, Victoria Lennart Livingston, died when Isobel was five years old. Afflicted by polio as a girl and in leg braces, Isobel became an avid reader, especially of movie magazines. She dreamed of escaping Brooklyn and becoming a film director. After attending Smith College and NYU, she moved to Los Angeles in 1937 and worked as a script girl for MGM. As a screenwriter, her first movie for MGM, The Affairs of Martha, opened in 1942, followed by A Stranger in Town, and her personal favorite, Lost Angel. Some 25 more scripts were made into popular movies over the next 30 years, among them, Two for the Seesaw, Inn of the Sixth Happiness, the Oscar-nominated Love Me or Leave Me, and The Sundowners. She married actor-playwright John Harding in 1946, and had two children, Joshua (1947-1971) and Sarah (1951-). Despite her trials and tribulations with the House Un-American Activities Committee, she was never prevented from working. In 1964 she wrote the book for the Broadway musical Funny Girl and in 1968 wrote the screen adaptation, winning the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay. Ms. Lennart received many accolades and three Academy Award nominations during her career, but the 1966 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement bestowed by the Writers Guild of America was her most treasured. It is given to that member of the Guild who has advanced the literature of the motion picture through the years, and who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter. She died mid-career in a car accident in January 1971. In 2016, Funny Girl was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Today, a documentary on the life of Ms. Lennart highlighting her most iconic work and featuring its first Broadway revival is in production with support from the Jewish Film Institute.
Harvey Fierstein (Revised Book) is the author of Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage Aux Folles, (both Tony Award winners) Kinky Boots, Newsies, Casa Valentina (all Tony Award Nominated), A Catered Affair (Drama League Outstanding Musical), Safe Sex, Legs Diamond, and last season’s Bella Bella. His television scripts include “Hairspray Live!” and “The Wiz Live!” as well as the HBO drama “Tidy Endings.” He’s written opinion pieces for The NY Times, Huffington Post, Hartford Courant and PBS’ In The Life. Theater goers know his Tony Award-winning performances in Hairspray and Torch Song Trilogy as well as star turns in Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage Aux Folles, Gently Down The Stream, and Bella Bella. His film roles include Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day and Mulan. On TV he’s been on “Sesame Street,” “Cheers” (Emmy nomination), “BoJack Horseman,” “The Good Wife” and “Hairspray Live!” Inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame and The Brooklyn Walk of Fame, Mr. Fierstein has a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. This spring Knopf will release his memoir, I Was Better Last Night.
David Zinn (Scenic Design). Broadway: sets and costumes for Choir Boy, Boys In The Band, Spongebob SquarePants, Amelie, Fun Home, The Last Ship; scenery for. Diana, The Minutes, Torch Song, The Humans, and costumes for Doll’s House Part 2, Airline Highway, and Xanadu. Off-Broadway: Playwrights Horizons, Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Second Stage, Clubbed Thumb, ERS, Target Margin; Regional and International: A.C.T, Berkeley Rep, Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, CTG, Guthrie Theater, Yale Rep, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, National Theatre (UK), Young Vic (UK), Berlin Staatsoper. Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Hewes awards.
Susan Hilferty (Costume Designer) has designed over 300 productions across the globe. Recent designs include Hamlet (St. Anne’s Warehouse and Gate Theatre, Dublin), Blood Wedding (Young Vic, London), Boesman and Lena (Signature Theatre), A Bright Room Called Day, (Public Theatre), Love, Love, Love (Roundabout Theatre; Lucille Lortel Award), Buried Child and The Spoils (New Group, NY and West End), Turn Me Loose (Arena Stage), and Richard Nelson’s What Happened?:The Michaels Abroad (Loewe Theatre). Her many Broadway designs include Wicked (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk awards and Olivier nomination), Present Laughter (Tony nomination), Hands on a Hardbody, Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), Lestat (Tony nomination), Annie (2013 Revival), Into the Woods (Tony and Drama Desk nominations; Hewes Award), and Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland. Her designs for opera include Rigoletto and La Traviata for the Metropolitan Opera and Manon at LA Opera and Berlin Staatsoper. Hilferty has designed over a hundred off-Broadway including Richard Nelson’s Apple Family Plays and August Wilson’s Radio Golf and Jitney. She works with such well-known directors as Athol Fugard (the South African writer with whom she works as set and costume designer and often as co-director on over 45 productions since 1980), Yaël Farber, JoAnne Akalaitis, Laurie Anderson, Arin Arbus, Christopher Ashley, Walter Bobbie, Anne Bogart, Gregory Boyd, Jonathan Butterell, Oskar Eustis, Robert Falls, Frank Galati, Garry Hynes, David Jones, Selina Cartmell, Moisés Kaufman, Tony Kushner, Mark Lamos, James Lapine, Michael Longhurst, Richard Nelson, Des McAnuff, Marion McClinton, James MacDonald, Emily Mann, Joe Mantello, Michael Mayer, Neil Pepe, Bart Sher, Rebecca Taichman, Robert Woodruff, Doug Wright, and the late Garland Wright. Hilferty also designs for Film, Dance (Alvin Ailey), the Circus (Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey) and Concerts (Taylor Swift SPEAK NOW World Tour). Hilferty’s many awards include the USITT Lifetime Achievement Award, Irene Sharaff Award for Lifetime Achievement, an OBIE for Sustained Excellence in Design, the Lilly Award and the Ruth Morley Design Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women. In addition, she Chairs the Department of Design for Stage and Film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. susanhilferty.com
Kevin Adams (Lighting Designer) Kevin Adams has received four Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, which includes The Cher Show, Head Over Heels, SpongeBob The Musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot, Next to Normal, Passing Strange, The 39 Steps, Spring Awakening, Hair, Take Me Out, and solo shows by Michael Moore, Eve Ensler, and John Leguizamo. Off-Broadway credits include the original productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Scottsboro Boys, revivals of Carrie and Rent, and new work by Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Neil Simon, Terrence McNally, Richard Greenberg, Anna Deavere Smith, Eric Bogosian, and Christopher Durang. Other work includes numerous productions at The Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, the Hollywood Bowl, Las Vegas, London’s West End, Disney Hall, and Sandra Bernhard’s 1990 feature film Without You I’m Nothing. Kevin has received the Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award, Lucille Lortel Awards, Hewes Design Awards, Knights of Illumination Award, and an Obie for Sustained Excellence.
Brian Ronan (Sound Designer) has over 40 Broadway designs including Mrs. Doubtfire, Springsteen on Broadway, The Prom, Tootsie, Mean Girls, Sting’s The Last Ship, Beautiful, The Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, American Idiot, Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, Grey Gardens and Cabaret. Off Broadway designs include Bowie’s Lazarus, Giant, Rent, Everyday Rapture, Saved, 10 Million Miles, and Bug. He is the recipient of Obie, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Olivier and Tony awards. He has had the opportunity to work with the most talented composers, directors, designers, actors, musicians, and stagehands in the world for which he is eternally grateful.
Campbell Young Associates
Hair & Wig Design
Campbell Young Associates (Hair & Wig Design) Broadway: The Music Man; To Kill A Mockingbird; Carousel; Hello Dolly!, Groundhog Day; Head Over Heels; The Crucible; King Lear; Misery; Sylvia; Betrayal; Les Mise´rables. West End/Broadway: Company, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical (Drama Desk award for Outstanding Wig and Hair Design), A Christmas Carol, The Ferryman, Jerusalem, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Ghost, Billy Elliot. West End: Back To The Future, Get Up Stand Up, Cinderella, Anything Goes, Leopoldstadt. Film/TV: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Downton Abbey.
Chris Walker (Orchestrations) Chris orchestrated the highly acclaimed London production of Funny Girl which premiered at The Menier Chocolate Factory before transferring to The Savoy Theatre in the West End. Over the years, he has been associated with numerous productions across the UK and USA, West End and Broadway, as a Musical Director, Orchestrator and Dance Arranger. As well as being a prolific composer, he has also produced numerous cast recordings and his film work includes orchestrations for Shirley Valentine, Impromptu and Olympus Has Fallen. Theater shows include: Godspell, Oliver!, Side by Side by Sondheim, My Fair Lady, Tomfoolery, Me and My Girl (London and Broadway), Cabaret, Follies, The Secret Garden, Ragtime, Acorn Antiques, Sweet Charity, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London and Broadway), Lend Me A Tenor, Anything Goes, The Producers, Barnum and the first ever stage adaptation of Irving Berlin’s Top Hat. Chris has worked extensively for the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre providing orchestrations for their productions of Into The Woods, Ragtime and The Sound of Music. Having orchestrated Victoria Wood’s musical That Day We Sang for The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, he was invited to enhance the score for the BBC2 Christmas drama adaptation starring Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball. His frequent collaborations with Olivier Award-winning performer Maria Friedman include her London productions of High Society at the Old Vic and Stepping Out at the Vaudeville Theatre. When Covid-19 struck the London theater scene, Chris was conducting the UK Premier of Sleepless, The Musical based on the movie, “Sleepless In Seattle”. He is currently writing the music for a new show, Power Play, and orchestrating a production using music by Cole Porter which is due to open later in the year. He is very much looking forward to being in New York again and creating new orchestrations for Funny Girl.
Michael Rafter (Music Supervisor) has served as music director/arranger for Sutton Foster: New York Pops, Live From Lincoln Center, and over 100 concerts world-wide. He has been the music director/conductor and/or supervisor for Broadway: Violet, Everyday Rapture, Sweet Charity, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swing!, The Sound of Music, The King and I, The Most Happy Fella, Gypsy. He was the associate music supervisor for Jersey Boys. For Film and TV: CODA, Annette, Marriage Story, Music and Lyrics, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Gypsy starring Bette Midler (Emmy for Music Direction). He is an Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at Ball State University. Michael will next be the music director/supervisor for the upcoming Broadway revival of Funny Girl in 2022. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the proud father of Siena Rafter (Brown ’20).
Jim Carnahan, CSA (Casting) has cast over 150 Broadway shows. His work on Broadway this season includes Lehman Trilogy, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Caroline, or Change, Harry Potter, Plaza Suite and Take Me Out as well as off- Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors and A Beautiful Noise in Boston, A Christmas Carol and Lehman Trilogy in LA and Christmas Carol, Harry Potter and Swept Away in San Francisco. Film: Ari Aster’s Disappointment Blvd. Other notable Broadway: A Soldier’s Play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, She Loves Me, Noises Off, Anything Goes, Cabaret, Betrayal, Burn This, Tootsie, The Ferryman, Angels in America, Fun Home, Matilda, Once, Jerusalem, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Pillowman, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Copenhagen. London includes The 47th, Betrayal, Glengarry Glen Ross, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Angels in America, Nice Fish, Glass Menagerie, Red Barn, Motherf**ker with the Hat, A Streetcar Named Desire, Scottsboro Boys, Children’s Hour, La Be^te, Deathtrap, Speed the Plow. Film/Television includes John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch (Netflix), The Seagull, A Home At The End Of The World, Flicka, Glee (Emmy nom), Brooklyn, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (New York Casting).
Dance, Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements
Alan Williams (Dance, Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements) is an Arranger, Musical Director, Supervisor and Orchestrator. He studied piano and conducting at Chetham’s School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Recent credits include: Hairspray (London Coliseum), The Boy in the Dress (Royal Shakespeare Company), Evita (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Southwark Playhouse), Big Fish (The Other Palace), Disney’s Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre), Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory, Savoy Theatre, UK Tour & Cinema broadcast), A Damsel in Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre), Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory), Urinetown (St James Theatre & Apollo Theatre), The Commitments (Palace Theatre & UK Tour), A Chorus Line (London Palladium), Shrek (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, two UK tours & Australia), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee & Passion (Donmar Warehouse), Monty Python’s Spamalot (Palace Theatre), Eric’s (Liverpool Everyman) and Little Shop of Horrors (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Recording credits include producing the original cast album of The Boy in the Dress, Matt Croke – Only Dreaming, conducting the 2016 recording of Funny Girl and playing on the Original Cast Album of Sister Act. His orchestration and arrangement of Overture of Overtures was a YouTube sensation in 2020, and will be performed at the Kennedy Center Washington 50th anniversary concert.
David Dabbon (Additional Arrangements) is an Emmy nominated composer for his song “Eat Shit, Bob!” which aired on HBO’s award-winning “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” On Broadway, he worked as the dance arranger for the Tony- nominated musical adaptation of Beetlejuice and the celebrated musical comedy Disaster! He also provided additional orchestrations for the Broadway bio-musical Sondheim on Sondheim (Grammy nomination). He has an ongoing collaboration with six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, regularly providing orchestrations for her concerts and albums. His work can be heard on both Audra McDonald New York Philharmonic: Sing Happy and Audra McDonald: Go Back Home. His film work includes: Six By Sondheim (Arranger) and All God’s Creatures (Composer). Education: Carnegie Mellon University and The Hartt School. www.daviddabbon.com.
Carmel Dean (Additional Arrangements) Composer: Renascence (Transport Group, Off-Broadway); Well-Behaved Women, (Joe’s Pub & Sydney, Australia). Upcoming: Maiden Voyage (commission for New Works Provincetown). Broadway Musical Director, Supervisor and/or Arranger: If/Then; American Idiot; Hands on a Hardbody; …Spelling Bee. Upcoming: The Notebook (Chicago Shakespeare). Other collaborations: Green Day; Phish/Trey Anastasio; Chita Rivera. Fulbright scholar, MFA (NYU), member of BMI Lehman Engel Musical Workshop.
Production Stage Manager
Lisa Iacucci (Production Stage Manager) has been working with Michael Mayer and her stage management team for decades. It continues to be a very great pleasure.
Assistant Stage Manager
Howard Tilkin (Assistant Stage Manager). Broadway: Burn This, Saint Joan, Oslo, The King and I, Of Mice and Men, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lucky Guy. Off-Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors, The Wolves, Oslo, Brooklynite. Regional: Chess (Kennedy Center) Education: NYU Tisch.
Assistant Stage Manager
(Assistant Stage Manager). Broadway: Flying Over Sunset, The Nap, Escape to Margaritaville, An American in Paris, Old Times, Act One, The Winslow Boy, Memphis, The 39 Steps, The Wedding Singer. MFA: Yale School of Drama.
Christopher R. Munnell
Assistant Stage Manager
CHRISTOPHER R. MUNNELL (Assistant Stage Manager). Select Broadway: Head Over Heels, Michael Moore: The Terms of My Surrender, An American In Paris, Act One, War Horse. Other: Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, An American in Paris (Asia tour), Kings (The Public Theater).
SEYMOUR RED PRESS/KIMBERLEE WERTZ
Seymour Red Press/Kimberlee Wertz (Music Coordinators). Red was awarded the 2007 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. Broadway credits include over 100 shows. Kim: Tony Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Oscars. Together this season: The Lehman Trilogy, The Music Man, Funny Girl!
Liz Caplan (Vocal Supervisor). Broadway: Moulin Rouge; Ain’t Too Proud; Tina; Dear Evan Hansen; The Book of Mormon; Beetlejuice; Aladdin; Hedwig. Film: tick, tick…BOOM!( Vocal Coach to Andrew Garfield), Les Misérables, In The Heights, The Greatest Showman, Coco, Dear Evan Hansen, Jingle Jangle, The Prom. TV: “The Get Down”, Tonys, Oscars. Lizcaplan.com
Johanna McKeon (Associate Director). Broadway: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot, War Paint, Grey Gardens and King Kong. Directing: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Olney), First Down (59E59), Noura (The Old Globe), Tokio Confidential (Atlantic), Comedy of Errors (Williamstown). Drama League, Boris Sagal and Fulbright Fellowships. MFA: UT Austin.