Day 348 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and now, of course, I want to be reading The Fabulous Fanny, by Norman Katkov, because it is a real book.
I was afraid to Google it, but, evidently, there are a number shops in New York (one for eyeglasses?!), as well as some special services, with this name. Plus the book, first published in 1953, and indeed available, currently, at Amazon via the Marketplace. And here is a fabulous review (from the All About Jewish Theatre website)!!
As you might guess, if you have been watching me watch old musicals, last night I watched (part of) Funny Girl, with the fabulous Barbra Streisand. (I generally see quite a bit of the beginning and the end, snoozing in the middle, but I see enough to determine that the CD is intact, undamaged, and to be saved for posterior, er, posterity.)
The fabulous Wikipedia told me about The Fabulous Fanny--is it actually this one?!--an authorized biography of the real Fanny Brice, without naming the author and in the context of stopping its publication. The musical was to be based on the book, and the musical itself went through the usual ups and downs of writing, cutting, and changes of personnel.
The fabulous Mary Martin was the first to suggest it for Broadway, and Anne Bancroft, Eydie Gormet, and Carol Burnett were considered along the way, but clear thinkers (including Carol herself) insisted on "a Jewish girl" for the role, and Barbra Streisand had to be Fanny, especially after she recorded the song "People" and it became a major hit even before the show opened!
I was awake for the return of Nicky Arnstein in the film last night, and the finale of "My Man," which is a real song outside the show, that Fanny Brice herself made famous in her lifetime, along with other fabulous singers of it, including Edith Piaf ("Mon Homme"), Billie Holiday, and Peggy Lee.
Now I am going to have to check and see if we have a copy of The Fabulous Fanny at Babbitt's, on our Star Bio or Entertainment or Theatre History shelves.
And while "fanny" is a fine euphemism for "bottom" in American slang, be careful saying it in Great Britain. Or Little Britain, for that matter.
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited a literary magazine, and taught college English courses. Now I write poetry, blog "eight days a week," and listen to birdsong.