'Funny Girl' mom hails from Danville | August 21, 2009 | Danville Express | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville Express

Living - August 21, 2009

'Funny Girl' mom hails from Danville

Diablo Theatre Company opens popular musical on Thursday

Danville singer-actress-producer Samantha Samuels is getting ready to take the stage as the mother of Fanny Brice, the famed comedienne whose life as a vaudeville, Broadway, film and radio star is immortalized in "Funny Girl." The 1964 classic musical comedy starred Barbra Streisand in both the stage and film versions.

Samuels will play Brice's mother in a semi-staged concert version of the musical by the Diablo Theatre Company, "Funny Girl in Concert." The show, opening Aug. 27 for four performances at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, features a cast of 16 and a large orchestra on stage.

"I'm excited about being in the show and just a little nervous," said Samuels. "It marks my return to the stage in a major role. I stopped touring and doing formal performances about five years ago to pursue my producing endeavors with Steven Shore and our Esses Productions."

Esses produces a "Cabaret in Concert" series, and Samuels hosts special events like Concord's "Kidfest," Food Bank benefits like "Sing for Your Supper," and her "Kabaret For Kids" show which allows her to continue her career as a singer.

Her career gained her a national and international following as a cabaret singer and performer. Her engagements included the Oak Room of New York's Algonquin Hotel as well as the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Cinegrill and San Francisco's Plush Room.

Over the years she has shared the stage with such performers as Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Howie Mandel and Bonnie Rait.

Right now, her focus is on "Funny Girl" and its well-known score that includes "People," "Don't Rain On My Parade," and "I'm the Greatest Star."

--staff reports

Classics in concert

What: 'Funny Girl' by the Diablo Theatre Company

When: 8 p.m. Aug. 27, 28, 29; 2 p.m. Aug. 29

Tickets: $29-$41; call 943-7469; www.lesherartscenter.org

Where: Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek