A sequel to the 1964 Broadway musical and subsequent 1968 film version of Funny Girl, it is a highly fictionalized account of the later life and career of comedienne Fanny Brice and her marriage to songwriter and empresario Billy Rose. The screenplay was by Jay Presson Allen and Arnold Schulman, based on a story by Schulman. The primary score was by John Kander and Fred Ebb, whose first success as a team had been the song "My Coloring Book," written for Streisand in 1962. It was directed by Herbert Ross.
Her first choice for the role of Rose was Robert Blake, who actually bore a closer resemblance to the character than Caan. He agreed to a read-through of the script at her home but, insulted he had been made to audition for the leading lady, turned down the part.
Stark, unhappy with the scenes shot by the original cinematographer, lured an ailing James Wong Howe out of retirement to complete the film. It proved to be his final project, which earned him an Academy Award nomination.
Studio heads forced Ross to trim the film to a manageable 136 minutes prior to its release. Much of Vereen's performance ended up on the cutting room floor, together with a recreation of Brice's "Baby Snooks" radio show and dramatic scenes involving her and her daughter.
In addition to Howe, Oscar nominations went to Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie for Best Costume Design, John Kander and Fred Ebb for Best Original Song ("How Lucky Can You Get?"), Peter Matz for Best Scoring of an Original Song Score and/or Adaptation, and the sound crew. Streisand, Caan, and Vereen all received Golden Globe Award nods, as did Kander and Ebb and the film itself, but it was shut out of any wins in both competitions.
Funny lady ; Comedian Margaret Cho, performing tonight in Portland, plays for laughs, but there are serious themes among those punchlines.
Sep 24, 2009; DEIRDRE FLEMING By DEIRDRE FLEMING Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 09-24-2009 Funny lady ; Comedian Margaret Cho,...