Fanny (musical)

Fanny is a musical with a book by S. N. Behrman and Joshua Logan and music and lyrics by Harold Rome. A tale of love, secrets, and passion set in and around the old French port of Marseille, it is based on Marcel Pagnol's trilogy of plays entitled Marius, Fanny and César.

Original cast recording
MusicHarold Rome
LyricsHarold Rome
BookS. N. Behrman
Joshua Logan
BasisMarius, Fanny, and César by Marcel Pagnol
Productions1954 Broadway
1956 West End

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1954 and ran for 888 performances, and later was staged in the West End.


Fanny is a young woman whose childhood love, Marius, leaves her to go to sea as a sailor for five years. His father Cesar, a tavern owner, disowns him. After his departure, Fanny discovers she is pregnant. Under pressure from her mother, she marries Panisse, an older man whose delight at having an heir prompts him to keep the boy's illegitimacy a secret. Marius returns on his son's first birthday to claim both him and Fanny, but he is turned away by Cesar, who is Panisse's best friend. As the years pass the boy, now 13, longs to go to sea like his father, and runs away to join him. This is too much for the now-ill and aged Panisse. Marius brings the boy back to fulfill Panisse's dying wish for Marius and Fanny to be together.

The role of Acolyte was originated by (then) child actor Gary Wright who went on to become a successful musician and is best known for his highly popular 1976 hit single, "Dream Weaver". While still in the show, Wright replaced Lloyd Reese in the role of Cesario (Fanny's son).


Florence Henderson and William Tabbert in the original Broadway production of Fanny
Ezio Pinza and Walter Slezak in the original Broadway production of Fanny

The Broadway production opened at the Majestic Theatre on November 4, 1954, transferred to the Belasco Theatre on December 4, 1956 and closed on December 16, 1956 after a total run of 888 performances. Directed by Logan and choreographed by Helen Tamiris, the original cast included Florence Henderson as Fanny, Ezio Pinza as Cesar, William Tabbert as Marius, and Walter Slezak as Panisse. Scenic and lighting design were by Jo Mielziner. Slezak won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

The West End production opened at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1956. The cast included Robert Morley, Kevin Kevin Scott, Ian Wallace and Janet Pavek.[1]

The Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut produced the musical in 1986 with Chester Ludgin as Cesar, David Hurst as Panisse, and Karen Culliver as Fanny.[2]

The Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, New Jersey produced Fanny in 1990. Directed by Robert Johanson, the cast featured George S. Irving as Panisse, José Ferrer as Cesar, and Teri Bibb as Fanny.[3]

42nd Street Moon in San Francisco, California presented a concert version of "Fanny" in September 1997, as the fourth show in its Lost Musical Series 1997 "Composer-Lyricist Festival," celebrating five great Broadway composers who also wrote their own lyrics. The cast featured Caroline Altman as Fanny, Kelly Houston as Cesar, Pierce Peter Brandt as Marius, Darren Criss as Fanny's son (in his first professional acting role), Cesario and Lucinda Hitchcock-Cone as Honorine, Fanny's mother.

The LOST MUSICALS™ project presented Fanny at the Victoria and Albert's Theatre Museum in 1990 with Jonathan Adams and James Corden and in the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler's Wells, London in 2005.[4]

Encores! presented a staged concert at City Center from February 4, 2010 to February 7. The director was Mark Bruni, choreography by Lorin Latarro, with a cast that featured Elena Shaddow (Fanny), Fred Applegate (Panisse), George Hearn (Cesar), David Patrick Kelly (The Admiral), Priscilla Lopez (Honorine), Michael McCormick (Escartifique), James Snyder (Marius) and Ted Sutherland (Cesario).[5] The production received mixed reviews.[6]

Musical numbers

The musical numbers from the 1954 Pre-Broadway production are as follows:

The musical numbers from the 1954 Broadway production are as follows:

The original Broadway cast album was released on compact disc by RCA Victor (9026-68074-2).[7]

Critical reception

Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times called the story "genuine and rueful," the music "melodic," and the casting "engaging," resulting "in a thoroughly absorbing theatre experience."[8]

Film adaptation

Joshua Logan directed a 1961 dramatic film adaptation based on both Pagnol's original plays and the book he and S. N. Behrman had written for the stage musical. Although the songs were eliminated, Harold Rome's music was heard in the soundtrack underscore. The film starred Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer, and Horst Buchholz.

See also


  1. Green, Stanley. Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre (1980), Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80113-2, p. 118
  2. Gussow, Mel."Theatre:'Fanny' At The Goodspeed"The New York Times, July 23, 1986
  3. Holden, Stephen."Review/Theater;50's 'Fanny' Is Revived With All Due Sentiment",The New York Times, April 13, 1990
  4. Koenig, Rhoda."Phantoms of the musical",The Independent (London), 1 March 2005
  5. Gans, Andrew."Shaddow, Hearn, Reed, Applegate Cast in Encores! Fanny", January 12, 2010
  6. Fick, David."Reviews for FANNY at Encores!" Musical Cyberspace, February 6, 2010
  7. Harris, Kenn."Review: Fanny: A New Musical (1954 Original Broadway Cast)",
  8. Atkinson, Brooks. "The Theatre:'Fanny' Has Debut at Majestic", The New York Times, November 5, 1954, p. 16

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