“Funny Girl” / Original Broadway Cast (1964)

Catalog Number(s):

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(Below: Original 1964 Cast LP—front and back covers)

Album scans by Kevin Schlenker

(Below: Original gatefold album's inside left & right liner notes and photographs ...)

Inside gatefold album

(Below: 2014 Remastered CD cover)

2014 CD Cover

CD Tracks

  1. Overture [4:02]
  2. If a Girl Isn't Pretty [2:15]
  3. I'm the Greatest Star [3:59]
  4. Cornet Man [3:51]
  5. Who Taught Her Everything? [3:04]
  6. His Love Makes Me Beautiful [3:19]
  7. I Want to Be Seen With You Tonight [1:54]
  8. Henry Street [1:52]
  9. People [3:26]
  10. You Are Woman [3:47]
  11. Don't Rain on My Parade [2:43]
  12. Sadie, Sadie [3:31]
  13. Find Yourself a Man [1:59]
  14. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat [3:20]
  15. Who Are You Now? [2:48]
  16. The Music That Makes Me Dance [3:51]
  17. Don't Rain on My Parade (Reprise) [2:04]
Ad for Funny Girl album

About the Album

Recording Funny Girl

Original Album Credits:

2014 Reissue CD package

(Above: The limited edition Funny Girl: Original Broadway Cast Recording 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition boxed set included a digitally remastered CD and vinyl LP, as well as a 48-page book featuring exclusive photos from the production and a new essay by Jay Landers. Capitol also offered the remastered tracks as a digital download, including a digital version of the book.)

2014 Reissue Credits:

Funny Girl, the Broadway musical, opened on March 26, 1964 at the Winter Garden Theater. Ten days later, on Sunday, April 5, 1964, the cast assembled at Manhattan Center studios (311 West 34th Street) to record the Capitol Records album. Capitol released the album about one week later.

Streisand with cast

Capitol's ad for the Funny Girl cast album

Promotional Records from Capitol

Capitol Records sent a promotional 45 rpm record to radio stations to promote the original cast album. #PRO 2622 and #PRO 2623 contained “Barbra Streisand Solo Tracks” from the album:

Side A:

  1. Who Are You Now?
  2. Cornet Man

Side B:

  1. The Music That Makes Me Dance
  2. Don't Rain On My Parade

photo of Capitol radio 45 label

Why did Capitol Records release Funny Girl, and not Columbia Records (Streisand's record label)? Capitol invested in the show (reportedly one third of its final cost), and producer Ray Stark, in turn, negotiated a deal in which Capitol would release the original cast album. Columbia's president, Goddard Lieberson, heard the score while the show was in early development and passed on the cast album. For Capitol's use of Barbra Streisand, however, Lieberson required the right to have her record four singles from the show.

Studio sheet for Funny Girl sessions

On December 20, 1963 in Columbia's Studio A recording studio, Streisand recorded:

Mike Berniker produced the session, and Peter Matz did the arrangements.

* Unreleased

Besides the soundtrack to her film sequel Funny Lady, and the Hello, Dolly! soundtrack, it is the only non-Columbia Records album she's recorded in her career.

Billboard Charts

The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine.

Here's the numbers for this Streisand album:

Gold: 500,000 units shipped

Below: Funny Girl at #2 on the Billboard 200 Chart for the week ending June 6, 1964. Note that Barbra's Third Album is at #10. Scan by Peter Curl.

Funny Girl on chart

Note: The record company must submit an album to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) where it undergoes a certification process to become eligible for an award. The process entails an independent sales audit, which calculates the quantity of singles or albums shipped for sale, net after returns. The audit surveys shipments to the entire music marketplace, including retail, record clubs, television sales, Internet orders and other ancillary markets. Based on the certification of these shipments, a title is awarded Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum or Diamond status. The data here comes directly from official sources, mainly the RIAA online database.

Grammy Award(s)

CD Versions of ‘Funny Girl’

Capitol Records released the first CD of Funny Girl in 1987 (pictured below, Capitol CDP 7 46634 2). It was, reportedly, of poor sound quality as it was transferred from the LP master tapes and not remastered for CD. This CD also did not contain liner notes.

Photo of the original Capitol CD of FUNNY GIRL

Angel Records (purchased by Capitol in the 1950s) released the remastered CD version of Streisand's Broadway recording in 1992. The CD was remastered by Robert Norberg. The CD booklet retained some (but not all) of Henry Grossman's photographs of Streisand and the Funny Girl cast which appeared on the original LP. However, Stanley Green's 1964 liner notes were replaced with notes by David Foil.

CD cover

In 1994, Musical Heritage Society (MHS) released a bare-bones CD of Funny Girl [catalog number 513656K]. MHS was an American mail-order budget record label founded in New York City. Funny Girl was released by MHS under license from Angel Records (see above). The MHS CD used the same remaster by Robert Norberg, and included the same liner notes from the Angel CD by David Foil.

Musical Heritage Society CD

David Foil's 1992/1994 Liner Notes

David Foil's liner notes for the Angel CD of Funny Girl are below. I have omitted a few paragraphs in which he retells the story of Funny Girl.

# # #

“lf Hitler is alive,” writer Larry Gelbart once said, “l hope he's out of town with a musical."

Gelbart didn’t work on Funny Girl, but it sounds like he might have. Born in chaos and bred in crisis, Funny Girl endured one of the most traumatic births of any musical in Broadway history. And, though it almost never happens this way, the story had a triumphant ending. This ugly duckling of a musical sailed on to Broadway a swan—a swan, admittedly, still breathing hard. And it put a final, dazzling polish on the rising star of its own funny girl, Barbra Streisand.

In the beginning, though—before Streisand, before the pitched battle that forged this show—there was the original “funny girl” herself, Fanny Brice.

Brice was a gawky, goofy lower East Side New York kid possessed by the impossible dream that she was going to be a star. Prevailing over the cruel steeplechase of vaudeville at a tender age, she caught the eye of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. In 1910, he installed her in the glittering show-biz pantheon of his legendary Follies, where she became a fixture. Nightclubs and movies B increased Brice’s fame. And even bigger stardom followed in the 1930s on radio, where she created her Baby Snooks character, who managed to show up briefly on early TV. But Fanny Brice reposes in legend simply as a star, the consummate comedienne who could move her audience to tears with a torch song. She was married, famously, to a gentleman gambler named Nick Arnstein and to showman Billy Rose.

Before Brice died (suddenly, at the age of 59) in 1951, her daughter, Frances Arnstein, had married a man who would become one of Hollywood's most fascinating characters. Ray Stark was an agent about to become a very powerful agent, destined for even greater power and wealth as a successful producer and industry power- broker. Stark saw a movie in his mother-in-law's life. While Brice was still alive, he had Ben Hecht draft a screenplay. Brice found it acceptable but the studios didn't. (Nor did they want to buy trouble: Both Brice and Arnstein took 20th Century Fox to court over the thinly veiled depictions of them in the fanciful 1939 musical Rose of Washington Square.) After Brice died, Stark’s project seemed to lapse. But Stark didn't. Kaye Ballard recently said she had approached Stark about her doing such a show as early as 1954 and was told it would be a vehicle for British comedienne Kay Kendall.

For all its triumphs, Fanny Brice’s life had had more than its share of bitter disappointment, devastating betrayal, shattered hope and anguish. In outline, it suggested a biting, cynical, maybe even Brechtian show. But Brice’s family wanted a valentine and it helps to remember that, at the time, the easily offended Nick Arnstein was still alive. In 1960, screenwriter Isobel Lennart came up with a suitable movie script. The title was My Man, after the French torch song that became Brice’s calling card. Still, no one was buying. So Stark conceived the idea of turning the script into a stage musical, though he'd never worked alone on Broadway before.

Lennart began adapting her screenplay into a musical theater libretto. Stark made an alliance with producer David Merrick, and signed up the songwriting team responsible for Merrick’s 1959 hit Gypsy—composer Jule Styne and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The two projects were at least similar in their backstage milieu (if not their tone). But Sondheim apparently couldn’t connect with the bizarre idea of Mary Martin playing Fanny Brice—she was, at the moment, slated to do just that—and he was by choice an early casualty.

Stark regrouped. Jerome Robbins was hired to direct, and Martin was out: Anne Bancroft would make her musical comedy debut as Fanny Brice. David Merrick had other ideas. Though he'd nearly fired her from I Can Get lt For You Wholesale, he was touting a gutsy Brooklyn-born singer-actress named Barbra Streisand. That sent Styne and the Starks down to Greenwich Village, where Streisand was appearing at a club called the Bon Soir.

A former vocal coach and bandleader, Styne knew Fanny Brice in a way even the Starks didn't: His Chicago-based band had played a four-week engagement with Brice in 1930. Styne went on to write songs in Hollywood (including the Oscar-winning THREE COINS IN A FOUNTAlN) before moving to Broadway. His reputation there was built on solid, singable shows like High Button Shoes, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy and Do Re Mi. This show, though, still needed a star to identify it. Should she be a singer who could act? A comedienne who could sing? How “ethnic” should she be? Should she mimic Brice? Or be new, original. Like, for instance ... ?

“l went down the the Bon Soir, a joint in the Village, and was wiped out,” Styne said, recalling his first infatuation with Streisand. “l went down every night for a month, and said to myself, ‘This has to be Fanny Brice.’ But Barbra couldn't be Fanny Brice. We’d already signed Anne Bancroft.”

Both the Starks reportedly balked, at first, at the idea of Streisand playing Brice. Besides, Anne Bancroft—a great actress, with a luminous comic talent, who'd already won two Tonys and an Oscar—would give the musical’s Fanny the beauty and the elegance the Starks wanted her to have. So Styne, still lacking a lyricist, began writing a score for Bancroft. With Streisand’s mighty voice ringing in his ears.

He'd already written five tunes when he ran into composer-lyricist Bob Merrill in Palm Beach. Merrill usually worked alone as a songwriter (he wrote the Patti Page hit HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WlNDOW?), and he had done so successfully on Broadway (Take Me Along and Carnival!) for years. Styne needed a solid and reliable lyricist, though, and he pitched to Merrill the idea of writing some songs with him “on spec".

When Merrill agreed, Styne recalled, he played those five melodies for his new partner. Merrill was back in only three days with lyrics for all five tunes, including DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE, with the Fanny Brice patter in it; WHO ARE YOU NOW?; THE MUSIC THAT MAKES ME DANCE, and a song that would be dropped, WHEN I TALK ABOUT YOU. Styne also came up with a melody inspired by a title of Merrill’s—VERY SPECIAL PERSON. As the composer played through it, Merrill took about 30 minutes to draft some lyrics for what would become PEOPLE.

Styne and Merrill flew to California to meet with Stark and Bancroft. When they played the material for the star—material written with a prodigiously gifted singer in mind—her reaction was immediate. And negative.

“lt’s not for me," she said.

As Bancroft departed, Stark asked that the score be toned down, but Styne and Merrill began pressing for a more convincing book. Playwright John Patrick came in for rewrites. Other actresses were considered. Eydie Gorme wasn't interested in the commitment. Carol Burnett was convinced she couldn't be convincingly Jewish. And Styne refused to give up: Now he sent Jerome Robbins down to the Village to hear Streisand, and the director was impressed. He invited her to read for the role—by all accounts, an electrifying encounter of iron wills involving Streisand, Robbins, Styne and Stark—and eventually insisted that Stark cast her. Then Robbins quit over disagreements about the book, and the show briefly went into limbo. But Jule Styne refused to give up, and even he tried to come up with another project for Streisand.

“Remember, l was a vocal coach," Styne said, years later. “| started out being one before I wrote songs. I think the greatest woman singer of my time is Barbra Streisand. I'll never live to hear anyone else who has so much. l love that voice so much. It hasn’t been drawn on yet lt’s very exciting to me to live to hear this one thing come out of that mouth."

Stark came up with a new director, Bob Fosse, who came and went. Film director Sidney Lumet was briefly in the driver's seat before Stark hired the gentlemanly Garson Kanin (who'd also known Fanny Brice) as the show’s director. Kanin saw through everything else to the bottom line: The show would rise or fall with Barbra Streisand’s performance.

Big talents, big egos. But the lid stayed on, for the moment. The Fanny Brice project seemed at last ready to emerge officially until David Merrick split with Stark after a disagreement. Suddenly, a new crisis: Merrick had been the one who'd signed Streisand. Stark had to renegotiate with his star who wasn't yet really a star, but was a shrewd operator now dealing from a position of strength. Merrick's parting gift to the project, though, was an important one. Stark couldn't get the rights to MY MAN for his show. So Merrick came up with a new title: What had once been called My Man and A Very Special Person became, simply and forever, Funny Girl.

It was probably the last simple act associated with Funny Girl.

As rehearsals began, giant egos clashed. Monumental tempers flared. The key role of Nick Arnstein went to Sydney Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin’s son who'd won a Tony in 1957 for his performance in Bells Are Ringing despite the fact that he wasn't really a singer. Chaplin and Streisand disliked each other virtually on sight, and Chaplin saw his nominal co-starring role begin to shrink early. Stark was producing a movie at the same time, and he returned from location to find Funny Girl stalled. Revisions to Lennart’s book were incessant. Actress Allyn Ann McLerie was written out of the show before it left for Boston. Streisand had begun to inject more of herself into the show’s Fanny, which began to resemble Brice’s life only incidentally. Accounts differ as to why—the best and most thorough account of the whole tale is in Barbra—A Biography of Barbra Streisand by Donald Zec and Anthony Fowles—but the eye of the storm began to gather, rightly or wrongly, around Garson Kanin.

Styne would later recall that he wrote 56 pieces of music for Funny Girl. Some 22 songs would be added, then subtracted from the score in rehearsals or in the frenzied pre-Broadway tryouts in Boston and Philadelphia. The Boston opening was nearly a disaster, running late into the evening and earning the show a set of largely negative reviews that nearly closed it. The show’s second act, the bane of most musicals, became the focus of renewed revisions. The story had to be delicately skewed because Frances Stark objected to anything that shed an unflattering light on her father, a difficult matter since Arnstein went to prison. Production numbers came and went, at least once in the course of a single performance.

Composer-conductor Luther Henderson, who later collaborated on the score for the 1992 musical JelIy’s Last Jam, wrote—and rewrote—the dance arrangements for Funny Girl. When the show finally left for Philadelphia, Henderson said his music copyist routinely called him and asked for the new arrangements for the ever-evolving production number RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT. Henderson was pleased to inform him, at long last, that there was no need for a new arrangement. Other aspects of the show weren't so lucky.

By Philadelphia, a new writer had been called in to collaborate with Lennart when John Patrick's patience gave out. And Garson Kanin’s stint as director ended, in fact if not in title. Of all people, Jerome Robbins returned to take over the show. (Robbins would be called “production supervisor" in the final credits, with Kanin still officially the director.)

“Gar Kanin was the quintessential gentleman, who made his points quietly," Luther Henderson remembered. “Ruth Gordon, to whom he was married, used to come to rehearsals with him. And when Jerry Robbins came in to help fix the show, the tensions between writers and producers and cast often reached monumental heights.”

“Barbra was a maverick," Henderson recalled. “She’s still a maverick. And l hope she never changes. She seems to have exactly the right instincts about what works for her, and had—even in those early days—the will to insist. Most stars l’ve worked with have that same inner sense, though it can raise hackles with directors and writers and costumers and makeup people and arrangers.

“She was driven to do what she wanted to do, just as Fanny Brice was,” Henderson concluded about Streisand. “And look how far it's brought her.”

With progress being made, the Broadway opening was postponed as Funny Girl moved to another Philadelphia theater for more revisions. Robbins dug in and insisted on more time, cutting away the excess and sharpening the focus on Streisand. lt was Robbins who suggested turning YOU ARE WOMAN into a clever comic duet.

The Broadway opening of Funny Girl was postponed five times for extra weeks of revisions and rehearsals. The final scene endured 42 rewrites, several just to please a very unhappy Sydney Chaplin. Robbins was rehearsing the show's freshly revised finale mere minutes before the curtain went up on opening night. Streisand had received the material earlier in the day, and she actually performed it for the first time in front of the critics and a glittering first-night crowd. The show that opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theater that evening —March 26, 1964—bore few indications of the struggle that created it.

[....] Funny Girl was a full-tilt hit the next morning, despite some critical reservations about the show itself. The most expensive musical of its day, it managed this feat the same season Hello, Dolly! came to town. Funny Girl was nominated for eight Tony awards at the end of the 1963-64 season. It failed to win in every single category, swept away by the tidal wave of acclaim for Hello, Dolly! Streisand had enjoyed one of the greatest Broadway triumphs in memory, but the other show’s star, Carol Channing, eclipsed her in the Tony voting for best actress in a musical.

Broadway musicals were still a prime source of pop music in 1964, and record producers mined each musical's score prior to the opening for potential hits. Singers and their record companies took early advantage of potential hits, and Streisand's record company (Columbia) was no exception.

Columbia released Streisand to record the Funny Girl cast album for Capitol Records. But before the show went out of town, she cut a version of PEOPLE for her label. The industry norm for such records was then three minutes because radio stations resisted playing anything longer. Streisand's PEOPLE record ran four minutes, and there was pressure to shorten it. But the singer, her manager Marty Erlichman and producer Mike Berniker insisted on releasing the record intact. And it became a runaway hit. When Funny Girl opened on Broadway, a vast audience was totally presold, entering as well as leaving the theater humming the highlight of the score. The original cast album went on to earn a gold record, a rare feat for a Broadway recording.

Streisand remained in Funny Girl through Christmas of 1965, taking some time off before taking the show to London. A miserable Sydney Chaplin had left the Broadway company long before, by mutual agreement with the production staff. Though Streisand was central to the show’s success, it ran for well over a year longer with Mimi Hines in the title role. Funny Girl closed on July 1, 1967, after 1,348 performances.

With Streisand making her screen debut, Ray Stark’s film version of Funny Girl opened late in 1968. it repeated the success of the stage show. Styne and Merrill revised their score, which now included (at the expense of the climactic ballad THE MUSIC THAT MAKES ME DANCE) the Brice classic MY MAN. Several numbers were inevitably cut, and a new title song won an Oscar nomination. Streisand herself won the Oscar for best actress.

Seven years later, Stark and Streisand reteamed for a film sequel called Funny Lady, putting a similar spin on Fanny Brice’s tempestuous marriage to producer Billy Rose, played by James Caan. Streisand’s cult following guaranteed the box office. But Funny Lady groaned under the weight of its talent, its lavish budget and the impossible expectations it raised. An original score, once again bolstered by Fanny Brice favorites, found some favor, but it didn’t yield the hits Funny Girl had.

On March 27, 1964, the morning after Funny Girl opened, the front page of the New York Post carried a backstage photo that seemed to bring full circle the whole crazy saga. ln the photo, a beaming Frances Stark looks on as Barbra Streisand accepts the congratulations of Mrs. Stark’s brother, the clearly delighted William Arnstein. The dapper elderly gentleman leaning in, to Streisand’s right, is Lew Brice, Fanny's brother. In that golden moment, these very special people look like the happiest—if not indeed the luckiest— people in the world.

Mono vs. Stereo: Alternate Vocal

The mono LP of Funny Girl (VAS 2059) contained a different vocal on the song “Cornet Man”. Barbra Archives has compared the two songs for you. Click play below to hear the difference between them:

End.

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Related Links: Funny Girl, Broadway Show pages