Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spend One Night With Fanny Brice

One Night with Fanny Brice, playing at St.Luke’s Theater delivers just what it promises, a warm evening of songs and stories with Fanny Brice. Kimberly Faye Greenberg does a great job in giving a full portrayal of the entertainer, telling her story through anecdotes, songs and reminiscences.

Written, arranged and directed by Chip Deffaa, One Night with Fanny Brice is a loving homage to the glory days of Ziegfeld and larger than life personalities that inhabited Broadway. Anyone familiar with the movie Funny Girl, will be familiar with the basic outlines of the story. Fanny Brice was a comedic singer, loved on the Broadway stage, and then, much later, popular on radio. Ms. Greenberg brings Fanny Brice alive, eyes gleaming with mischievousness. Trying too hard for a laugh, just as Fanny Brice did.

One Night is more than a snapshot of Fanny Brice’s rise to fame; it is a biography and a love letter that is chock full of songs from the era. It is hard to beat Miss Brice’s original delivery of these classics, but Miss Greenberg does a great job with the songs, keeping in the style of original arraignments. Miss Greenberg is much prettier Fanny Brice herself was, but most people aren’t familiar with Miss Brice’s visage. Hollywood never really knew what to do with this talent. However Mr. Deffaa does. The writer / director allows Fanny to give full voice to personal history, telling the full story of her long entanglement with Nicky Arnstein and other aspects of her life, previously unknown.

Mr. Deffaa is a historian as well as writer, and his has brought a much more complete picture of Fanny Brice than we have seen previously. It is a charming story of a life fully animated in the theater, and Miss Greenberg seems to enjoy telling it.

As a show, One Night with Fanny Brice might have a limited appeal - she isn’t a well known character. A few of the songs are Broadway staples, but most are just vaguely familiar. And while Miss Greenberg is excellent in the role, she doesn’t play the songs as broadly as Miss Brice did. It is occasionally a subtle performance, where Miss Brice was anything but subtle on stage. Hopefully One Night with Fanny Brice will find an audience willing to journey back to a different time, it is trip worth taking.

One Night With Fanny Brice (tickets)

Playwright and Director: Chip Deffaa

Cast: Kimberly Faye Greenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment