After taking off for 10 years from community theater to allow for, as the program notes put it, "the proud production of Nelson and Michaela, ages 7 and 2" with her husband Mike, Pascuzzi, of Kew Gardens, returns to the stage with a grasp of the voice and personality of Brice that approaches what Streisand brought to the role. This mother of two can really belt out a song - especially "Don't Rain On My Parade," which she delivered with enough punch to maybe give Streisand something to worry about.
The only drawback was that the other actors, as dedicated and in some cases as talented as they were, inevitably paled by comparison to her. But many stood out nonetheless.
Joseph Hurley, whose community theater credits include the Tinman in "The Wizard of Oz" and Frank Butler in "Annie Get Your Gun," was very credible as Nick Arnstein, whom Fanny Brice fell for in an ill-fated romance, but he more talked than sang the music.
Jean Ann Kump, with Marian's mother in "The Music Man," the Widow Corney in "Oliver," and other community theater roles under her belt, also is not a polished singer, but she was quite convincing in her portrayal of Brice's doting mother.
Stan Stolar, who had played Big Jule in FSF's production of "Guys and Dolls," was well-suited to portray Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. of the legendary Ziegfeld Follies, in appearance, demeanor, and acting.
Even with a total cast of 32, some had to double-up on the smaller roles, but the costuming, and their handing of the roles, were effective enough that this wasn't particularly noticeable.
A major musical like "Funny Girl" is not an easy production to pull off, especially to do it well, and director Maryellen Pierce and music director Roy Sperrazza have earned kudos.
Performances of "Funny Girl" continue at 8 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 11 and 18, and at 3 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 12 and 19. Call 718-428-8681.
©2000 Community News Group
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