Stories & Cast Interviews
I'm The Greatest Star!
JILL ABRAMOVITZ as Fanny Brice
GRANT NORMAN plays gambler, Nicky Arnstein, in Funny Girl.
I was born in Two Harbors, MN, and grew up in the Midwest, around Minneapolis. I was the only one in our family to enter the performing arts...and when I say family, I mean the entire family tree! I started singing at a very young age, and remember being in my first choir in the 5th grade. I definitely got the bug, and continued to sing throughout high school and into college, where I auditioned for a dance company, and got in! From there it was on to theater as a dancer, and eventually...leading roles. I never had in my mind that I wanted to be an actor when I was young, it just happened. I was aware how difficult the industry was, so I just played it by ear. As long as I enjoyed it, and could make a living from it...I continued. Fortunately, that led me all the way to New York City and Broadway.
I learned from so many people along the way but didn't really have any mentors for the business. Kathy and Eddie Gasper were my mentors for dance. I was in their dance company for 4 years (13 shows). I learned an awful lot from them. Eddie was a one time Bob Fosse dance asst. on Broadway and the movies. He had many stories to tell.
I don't have a dream role. My favorite show is still "West Side Story". The combination of story, music & dance makes it uniquely stand out for me as a masterwork of theater. I've never seen the film of Funny Girl. I try not to watch a movie version of a show I will be working on.
Jill Abramovitz (Fanny Brice) is wonderful to work with. I have found so many moments in the show that are moving with her.
When not on stage, I enjoy spending time with my wife and soon to be little girl.
My iPod holds a wide variety. The song that is currently on it is "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden. A hit from the 90's. I love pop and rock songs from the 60's all the way to the present. I LOVE classical music! There's some Country Music, Jazz, R&B, Show Tunes (of course), New Age... Music is very important to me. I try to appreciate and expose myself to all kinds of music.
She's A Funny Girl!!
JILL ABRAMOVITZ stars as Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL.
I grew up in Morristown, New Jersey. A lovely place. (My sister will mock me when she reads this because I overuse the word "lovely.") Went to Morristown High and had a great time. Did all the school shows and played field hockey - at which I stunk. I'm not one of those people who hated high school. I actually loved it. Then I went to the University of Pennsylvania for college, which I also loved. I Majored in French literature and Psychology. I wanted a liberal arts education.
I'm emotional, I'm expressive, and I have a big mouth and large opinions. But I did have some of those incredible experiences in the theatre that steered me more strongly in the actor direction. I remember when Peter Pan flew out over the audience and I lost my mind. Or when I sat in one of the first few rows of Song and Dance and fell in love with Bernadette Peters. She was so alive and passionate and beautiful and it was a transformative experience going through that journey with her. I cried like a little girl. Well, I was a little girl, but still. I suppose, like most people, I'm still having those experiences, so they continue to make me want to be an actor. Except when I have to audition, then I don't want to be an actor. That's when I dream of being an accountant or a fish. I tell my husband that all the time. I get jealous of fish because they don't have to audition.
Mentors are everywhere. I hate to sound corny, but you get so much from watching people perform. Movies, TV, theatre, everywhere. I saw an actress in a show a few years ago and I remember the power of her stillness - how much command she had when she stood in one place and sang. The entire cast of Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me on Broadway taught me about bringing in fresh ideas every single day to rehearsal. Always throwing a new batch of spaghetti on the wall and seeing what stuck. My high school director, Jane Wintz, taught me about discipline - being on time, shutting up backstage, and not missing rehearsal. A guy I did one day on a film with said to me, "You don't have to look at me just because you're yelling at me." I loved that. Jason Bateman on “Arrested Development” - he is the all-knowing guru of deadpan and perfect timing. So, yeah, I think mentors are everywhere.
I would love to play Cordelia in Falsettos. I would love to do a Christopher Durang play. ANY Christopher Durang play. I would love to pay the Baker's Wife in Into The Woods.
How could I not be a fan of the film? Barbra Streisand is perfection. Brazen and beautiful and on fire - and so impossibly young! I learned of the real Fanny Brice through the show - which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. I appreciate how theatre can immortalize historical events and characters, and introduce them to a wider audience. Art is a vehicle for history. It electrifies the past.
My favorite moment in this show? “Don't Rain on my Parade”. I love how it sounds like a big LOOK AT ME moment - but it's not. She's on a mission. It's almost a DON'T look at me moment. Like - just leave me alone and let me live my life, make my own mistakes.
I have a lot of writing going on right now - so that takes up a lot of time. Other than that - I like to hang out with babies - there are a lot of them in my life suddenly, including my one-year-old niece. I love hanging out with my brilliant and funny friends - but I haven't done enough of that lately. I love walking in Central Park and going to this killer class called Core Fusion. And I enjoy my fair share of reality television. (Watched The Real Housewives of NYC tonight. Yes I did.)
What music I listen to the most: Tied for first place are Ben Folds and Jonathan Brooke, followed by Shawn Colvin and Stevie Wonder. There are obviously musicals on there - I'd say "The Last Five Years" is in first place this week. I also listen to my husband's (Brad Alexander's) music a lot. And I'm not biased - he's amazing. I listen to my own stuff, too - I'm a lyricist and I'm usually obsessing about something that needs rewriting. I have a lot of genius writer friends who are not famous yet, but will be. So I listen to their music. I seriously listen to my friend Adam Overett's demo on the treadmill.