By Alan-Mark Miller
Veronica Lindholm,and Benjamin Haupt, alongside the rest of the cast of Pensacola State College (PSC), had some big shoes to fill in the fall musical “Funny Girl.”
They nailed it.
The original movie production under the same name “Funny Girl” (1968) had amazing talent with Barbra Streisand as “Fanny Brice” and Omar Sharif as “Nick Arnstein.”
Lindholm did outstanding as the lead “Fanny” alongside with Haupt who plays “Nick” with their talented voices which was well demonstrated in songs such as “I Want To Be Seen With You Tonight” and “You Are Woman, I Am Man.”
Director Laura Sebastian led the cast and crew as they took on this classic tale of Fanny Brice (Lindholm) featuring her rocky relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick (Haupt).
The stage crew directed by Bob Gandrup did a fantastic job of changing the scenes twenty-three times in this fast paced musical drama. Gandrup also designed the sets which took the viewer back in time to the early 1900’s, creating a realistic center piece for our story.
Conductor and Music Director Stephanie Busby did a masterful presentation in adapting and presenting the score of this timeless classic. The orchestra performance brought to life wonderful songs such as “I’m The Greatest Star” and “Henry Street”
The show starts in New York City where Fanny awaits the return of her husband Nick from prison. As she waits for her beloved to return, she reflects on their life together.
Fanny’s story starts at Kenny’s Music Hall. Her mother, Mrs. Brice (Sheryl Vandenberg) and friends Mrs. Strakosh; (Musetta Feldman), Mrs. Meeker; (Ashley Johnston) and Mrs. O’Malley (Carla Rhodes) are playing a poker game. Mrs. Brice’s friends are trying to dissuade Fanny from going into show business, for Fanny is not the typical beauty.
Fanny presses on and comes across a helping hand in the form of Eddie Ryan (Gavin Parmley), a dance coordinator at Keeney’s Theater who helps her learn the dance numbers in order for her to perform in the show. Parmley was a standout in this production from being a substitute mannequin for altering Fanny’s dress to singing a brilliant duet with Mrs. Brice, “Who Taught Her Every Thing She Knows.”
After opening night at Kenny’s, Fanny is introduced to the devilishly handsome and sophisticated Nick Arnstein, and they hit it off. Six months later in New York, Fanny is working for Mr. Ziegfeld (Clayton Kinghten) as the star in The Follies. After a spectacular opening night, she is reunited with Nick, and he accompanies her to Mrs. Brice’s block party. They later meet in Baltimore and have a private dinner at a luxurious restaurant and declare their love for each other. Fanny is determined to marry Nick, regardless of his gambling problems.
“Funny Girl” opened to a sold out crowd on Friday, November 9, 2018. Delighting the audience with this truly heartwarming musical.
Truly this spectacular performance would not be possible without each and every one of the twenty-two cast members. It was truly a well-oiled machine with every member of this brilliant cast performing at peak capacity.