Tag Archives: Theater

Fannie Brice - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Fannie Brice

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Fanny Brice (sometimes spelled Fannie) was born on New York’s lower east side in 1891 as Fania Borach. The third child of Hungarian/Jewish saloon owners, Fanny’s interests were not in the family business. At fourteen years old, she made her stage debut during amateur night at Keeny’s Theater in Brooklyn. Shortly after, she started working in burlesque reviews as a singer and comedian.

In 1910 while performing in a burlesque show, she was noticed by famous show-man, Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. After the show, he approached her back stage and said he wanted to Fannie Brice - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveeput her under contract for his Ziegfeld Follies. Fanny agreed and thus began her long association with the popular entertainment icon. She performed in seven Follies between 1910 and 1923 and in several Midnight Frolic editions 1915 to 1921. In the 1921 Follies she was featured singing “My Man.” Wildly popular, the song became her signature hit.

Brice was most famous for her character Baby Snooks. She performed as Baby in the 1934 Follies. Fanny and Snooks then hit the airwaves in radio at CBS and The Baby Snooks Show was featured weekly till 1948. In 1944, Brice got her own half-hour show on CBS and earned $6,000 a week. Brice was so invested in Snooks, she would often do her radio performances in costume, even though her audience couldn’t see her.

Completely devoted to the character, she told biographer Norman Katov: “Snooks is just the kid I used to be. She’s my kind of youngster, the type I like. She has imagination. She’s eager. She’s alive. With all her deviltry, she is still a good kid, never vicious or mean. I love Snooks, and when I play her I do it as seriously as if she were real. I am Snooks. For twenty minutes or so, Fanny Brice ceases to exist.”

Brice was married three times, first to a local barber in her teens. The marriage lasted three days before she sued for divorce. Her second husband, known as the love of her life, Fannie Brice - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeNicky Arnstein, was a lady’s man, professional gambler, and white collar criminal. Arnstein served fourteen months in Sing Sing for wiretapping, and Brice visited him in prison every week. In 1918 they married after living together for six years. In 1924 Arnstein was charged in a Wall Street bond theft , was convicted, and sentenced to Leavenworth Federal Prison where he served three years. Upon his release, he never returned to Fanny and their two children. She divorced him and then married Billy Rose, a songwriter and stage producer. Her third marriage, too, ended in divorce.

Fanny’s career was long and varied. She worked as a song “model”, comedian, singer, theater and movie actress. She starred in many films, two in which she plays herself, The Great Ziegfeld (1934) and The Ziegfeld Follies, (1936.) She recorded several songs for Victor and Columbia. After her death, she posthumously received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her 1921 recording of “My Man.”

At the age of 59, Fanny Brice died on May 29, 1951, of a cerebral hemorrhage in Hollywood, California, depriving the world of her varied and abundant talents. She is most famously portrayed in the movies Funny Girl (1968) and Funny Lady (1975) by the incredibly talented Barbara Streisand.

Historical Fiction Novel - Women in Showbusiness - 5 Books Like City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert -


Women in Show Business – 5 Books to Read if You Loved City of Girls

 

City of Girls is a novel about women in show business in the 1940’s. Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel illustrates how different women navigated their own lives and their own destinies; in their own unique ways. Gilbert delves into the unique life philosophies of each woman while maintaining themes of love and women’s empowerment. If you miss City of Girls, read it again! Or, here are some other great reads with similar vibes to help with your pink feathery withdrawals.

Novels featuring women in Show Business:

 

Historical Fiction Novel - Women in Showbusiness - Blonde by Joyce Carol OatesBlonde by Joyce Carol Oates

“Joyce Carol Oates boldly reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker—the child, the woman, the fated celebrity and idolized blonde the world came to know as Marilyn Monroe. In a voice startlingly intimate and rich, Norma Jeane tells her own story of an emblematic American artist—intensely conflicted and driven—who had lost her way.”

Women in Show Business Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about Blonde HERE.

 

 

Historical Fiction Novel - Women in Showbusiness - The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins ReedThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reed

“Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. She chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job. Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way.”

Women in Show Business Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo HERE.

 

Women in Show Business - Grace in the Wings a historical mystery series - Historical Fiction Book by Kari BoveeGrace in the Wings by Kari Bovée

“Dripping with 1920s swagger and enough twists to trip up a flapper, Grace in the Wings by Kari Bovée is a romance-fueled mystery with Manhattan skylines, unfettered ambition, and plenty of murder to go around. Grace Michelle is an entrancing and magnetic dynamo of a character that carries this book on her ingenue shoulders. This roaringly good novel is a loving homage to an era, a captivating story of painful growth, and a twisted mystery that will leave you wanting an encore.” – Self-Publishing Review

Women in Show Business Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about Grace in the Wings HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Novel - Women in Showbusiness - All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana TrigianiAll the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

“The movie business is booming in 1935 when 21-year-old Loretta Young meets 34-year-old Clark Gable on set. Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the young actress instantly. Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young’s assistant, Alda must now navigate the wild terrain. Over decades, they encounter scandal and adventure, love and passion, and forge an enduring bond that will be put to the test.”

Women in Show Business Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about All the Stars in the Heavens HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Novel - Women in Showbusiness - Vivian in Red by Kristina RiggleVivian in Red by Kristina Riggle

Famed Broadway producer Milo Short may be eighty-eight but that doesn’t stop him from going to the office every day. So when he steps out of his Upper West Side brownstone on one exceptionally hot morning, he’s not expecting to see the impossible: a woman from his life sixty years ago, cherry red lips, bright red hat, winking at him on a New York sidewalk, looking just as beautiful as she did back in 1934.

The sight causes him to suffer a stroke. And when he comes to, the renowned lyricist discovers he has lost the ability to communicate. Milo believes he must unravel his complicated history with Vivian Adair in order to win back his words.

A sweeping love story, family mystery and historical drama set eighty years apart, Vivian in Red will swell your heart like a favorite song while illuminating Broadway like you’ve never seen before.

Women in Show Business Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about Vivian in Red HERE.

 

I haven’t found many other historical fiction novels about women in Showbiz, but I’m certainly a fan! PLEASE drop some suggestions in the comments below if you know of any others!

 

 

Funny Lady Fanny Brice

Fanny Brice (sometimes spelled Fannie) was born on New York’s lower east side in 1891 as Fania Borach. She was the third child of Hungarian/Jewish saloon owners, but her interests were not in the family business. At fourteen years old, she made her stage debut during amateur night at Keeny’s Theater in Brooklyn. Shortly after, she started working in burlesque reviews as a singer and comedian.

In 1910 while performing in a burlesque show, she was noticed by famous show-man, Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. After the show, he approached her back stage and said he wanted to put her under contract for his Ziegfeld Follies. Fanny agreed and thus began her long association with the popular entertainment icon. She performed in seven Follies between 1910 and 1923 and in several Midnight Frolic editions 1915 to 1921. In the 1921 Follies she was featured singing “My Man.” Wildly popular, the song became her signature hit.

Brice was most famous for her character, Baby Snooks. She performed as Baby in the 1934 Follies. Fanny and Snooks then hit the airwaves in radio at CBS and The Baby Snooks Show was featured weekly till 1948. In 1944, Brice got her own half-hour show on CBS and earned $6,000 a week. Brice was so invested in Snooks, she would often do her radio performances in costume, even though her audience couldn’t see her.

Completely devoted to the character, she told biographer Norman Katov: “Snooks is just the kid I used to be. She’s my kind of youngster, the type I like. She has imagination. She’s eager. She’s alive. With all her deviltry, she is still a good kid, never vicious or mean. I love Snooks, and when I play her I do it as seriously as if she were real. I am Snooks. For twenty minutes or so, Fanny Brice ceases to exist.”

Brice was married three times, first to a local barber, in her teens. The marriage lasted three days before she sued for divorce. Her second husband, known as the love of her life, Nicky Arnstein, was a lady’s man, professional gambler, and white collar criminal. Arnstein served fourteen months in Sing Sing for wiretapping and Brice visited him in prison every week. In 1918 they married, after living together for six years. In 1924 Arnstein was charged in a Wall Street bond theft , was convicted, and sentenced to Leavenworth Federal Prison where he served three years. Upon his release, he never returned to Fanny and their two children. She divorced him and then married Billy Rose, a songwriter and stage producer. Her third marriage, too, ended in divorce.

Fanny’s career was long and varied. She worked as a song “model”, comedian, singer, theater and movie actress. She starred in many films, two in which she plays herself, The Great Ziegfeld (1934) and The Ziegfeld Follies, (1936.) She recorded several songs for Victor and Columbia. After her death, she posthumously received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her 1921 recording of “My Man.”

At the age of 59, Fanny Brice died on May 29, 1951, of a cerebral hemorrhage, in Hollywood, California, depriving the world of her varied and abundant talents. She is most famously portrayed in the movies Funny Girl (1968) and Funny Lady (1975) by the incredibly talented, Barbara Streisand.

Fanny Brice is the inspiration for my character, Kiki Sands, in Saving Grace. Kiki’s role in the story is that of a famous funny lady who befriends protagonist Grace Michelle, and helps her to see the less serious side of life in show business. Having lost her sister to murder, Grace is determined to swim her way up the tarnished stream of deceit and pretense in the world of celebrity, and find the killer of her sister. Kiki , as mother-figure, friend, and colleague helps Grace to find the truth about her sister, and life itself.

Please enjoy this YouTube video of Fanny Brice singing her signature song, “My Man.”