[Editor’s note: The footage from the Funny Girl concert is provided by The Actors Fund exclusively for Playbill. As this is archival footage, some of the video quality may lag, but Playbill feels the merit of Rudetsky’s deconstruction stands above the minor technological issue.]
In 2001, Seth Rudetsky produced a one-night-only concert of Funny Girl to benefit The Actors Fund. One of the things that excited him most was his ability to cast all sorts of women in the role of Fanny Brice, originated by Barbra Streisand, including women who would otherwise not get to play the show’s leading lady. The concert featured performances by Sutton Foster, Carolee Carmello, Ana Gasteyer, Idina Menzel, and more.
Rudetsky needed a powerhouse to sing the signature “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” and choreographer Devanand N. Janki suggested Lillias White. Though he wasn’t sure at first (he didn’t think it would showcase her voice) it turns out the song is White’s go-to for auditions, and now we know why.
What’s more, Rudetsky demonstrates White’s signature style using video clips of the Tony winner from The Actors Fund benefit concers of Dreamgirls and Hair. From dissecting everything from White’s riffs to her melody changes to her staging (yay video deconstructions), Rudetsky explains why White deserved the standing ovation she received from the crowd.
Watch More of Rudetsky’s Deconstructions on Playbill:
Seth Rudetsky Deconstructs Dear Evan Hansen’s “Waving Through a Window”
Seth Rudetsky Deconstructs Hello, Dolly!’s Gavin Creel and “Put On Your Sunday Clothes”