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Playwright Chip Deffaa Releases 'Fanny Brice: The Real Funny Girl' Album

The album is part of a series of collectors'-edition CD's that Deffaa is producing, saluting early greats of Broadway.

Playwright Chip Deffaa Releases 'Fanny Brice: The Real Funny Girl' Album

Playwright Chip Deffaa, who wrote and directed the Off-Broadway musical "One Night with Fanny Brice" (published/licensed by Leicester Bay Theatricals), has just released an album of Fanny Brice herself performing songs heard in that show.

Deffaa stated, "The album is an outgrowth of my Off-Broadway show. The three actresses whom I cast to play Brice during the show's New York run--as well other actresses who've done regional productions of the show since then--asked me to provide them with recordings of Brice from my collection of rare recordings, to help prepare them for the role. And now with 'Funny Girl'--based on the life of Brice--being revived on Broadway, the time seems right for a new album of Brice recordings."

He continues, "Many of today's theater-goers have never heard Brice, who was, at her peak, America's highest-paid singing comedienne. She was equally effective whether singing a torch song like 'My Man' or 'I'd Rather Be Blue'--or making people laugh. I've carefully considered more than 150 Brice performances in my collection before selecting the 18 that i chose. I weighed nine different performances of her signature song, 'My Man,' alone, before selecting the versions on this album, which have never before been heard on any CD. I'm very proud that this album includes some of Brice's rarest work, available nowhere else--including 'live' recordings of her performing in the Ziegfeld Follies, the oldest surviving theatrical recordings in America."

The album may be ordered from Amazon here:

Deffaa adds, "I've been fascinated by Brice ever since I saw 'Funny Girl' during its original Broadway run in the 1960s. And I was lucky enough to know some people who'd worked with her, and they impressed upon me that there was far more to her than 'Funny Girl,' as great as it is, showed. She was a strong woman who took charge of her career in a way that was rare for female performers of her era. And--believing that 'us gal should stick together'--early in her career she chose to be represented by a female agent, and she featured special material written exclusively for her by a female songwriter."

Deffaa cautions buyers of the new album, "Don't expect high-fidelity sound or anything like that. This album includes recordings from my collection made over a century ago. And there are limits to what even as gifted an audio engineer as Scott Gordon--who remastered these vintage recordings--can do. But if you can get past the limitations of early recording techniques, there are performances by a trailblazing Broadway superstar here. And they hold up wonderfully. You'll hear samples of Brice in the recording studio, on the radio, and on stage, and they're priceless."

Deffaa has dedicated the album to his friend Marilyn Michaels, who starred in the first national tour of "Funny Girl"--"and still can sing Fanny Brice songs terrifically. If someone were to make a film version of my show, 'One Night with Fanny Brice,' she could play the role today."

Frank Dain handled graphic design for the album. Steve Garrin, Matthew Nardozzi, Jessee Dakota Riehl, and Bryan Guillen are credited with production assistance. The album is part of a series of collectors'-edition CD's that Deffaa is producing, saluting early greats of Broadway, such as Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, and George M. Cohan. The album will be getting its radio debut on "Uncle Floyd on the Radio," WFDU-FM.

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