Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I could use some help sorting out the confusing and different versions of Barbra Streisand's “Funny Girl.”

Is the one in the film the same as used in the stage show?

Overall, how much musical crossover is there between the two shows?
—Dana Brookfield, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR DANA: A chronological recap of this “Funny” saga is the best way to sort things out.

January 13, 1964: The curtain goes up for the first time as “Funny Girl” begins six weeks of pre-Broadway tune-ups — three at Boston's Shubert Theatre followed by three in Philadelphia at the Forrest Theatre.

Meanwhile at Columbia's New York studio, Streisand records “Funny Girl,” a tune that should have been the show's title but was inexplicably cut from the program. Its logical spot in the show — the next to last song — is taken by “The Music That Makes Me Dance.”

March 10, 1964: “Funny Girl” previews on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre, with 16 more evaluation performances to follow.

March 26, 1964: “Funny Girl” officially opens. By the time the show closes (July 1, 1967) 1,348 performances will have been given.

March 28, 1964: “People,” the first song from the stage show released as a single (Columbia 42965), enters Billboard's Bubbling Under the Hot 100 list at No. 108.

April 4, 1964: After three flops, Barbra's fourth single, “People,” moves up to No. 100, marking her Hot 100 debut. By the end of June “People” reached its peak at No. 5 on both Billboard and Cash Box.

This same month, the “Funny Girl” Original Cast Recording (Capitol 2059) is released — sans the title track of course.

September 19, 1964: Though scrapped from the show, a single of the original recording of “Funny Girl” (Columbia 43127) makes its chart debut. Many suspected this recording's real purpose, based on the title alone, was to promote the show.

On the flip side is “Absent Minded Me,” a delightful track also written for, but cut from, the stage show. It later ended up on Barbra's “People” album.

The “Funny Girl” 45 eventually made the Top 10 but only on the adult-oriented MOR (Middle-of-the-Road) charts.

September 19, 1968: Columbia Pictures released the film version of “Funny Girl,” with Streisand again cast as Fanny Brice.

Besides a newly-written “Funny Girl” tune, this one a ballad, the movie contains five other songs not used in the stage show: “Roller Skate Rag”; “The Swan”; “Second Hand Rose”; “Pink Velvet Jail,” and “My Man” (the original title of the film).

In the Broadway show but not in the film are: “Cornet Man”; “Who Taught Her Everything”; “I Want to Be Seen with You Tonight”; “Henry Street”; “Find Yourself a Man”; “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat”; “Who Are You Now”; “The Music That Makes Me Dance.”

All of which leaves just seven songs used on both stage and screen: “If a Girl Isn't Pretty”; “I Am the Greatest Star”; His Love Makes Me Beautiful”; “People”; “You Are Woman” (a.k.a. “You Are Woman, I Am Man”); “Don't Rain on My Parade”; and “Sadie, Sadie.”

IZ ZAT SO? Barbra Streisand's label at the time, Columbia Records, owned the first right of refusal for the 1964 “Funny Girl” Original Cast album … and foolishly chose to pass on it!

Capitol then jumped in and “took a chance” on it.

Of course the LP went Gold and stayed on the charts for about a year.

Lesson learned, Columbia did not relinquish their right to the '68 soundtrack. Its sales doubled that of the Broadway show, spending two years on the charts while attaining Platinum status.

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