5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Shoshana is a veteran of the Broadway stage having debuted in the original cast of Hairspray and starring as the very first replacement for Elphaba, the green-skinned witch, in Wicked. She sang back up for Michael Jackson at his 30th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden. She will be portraying Fanny Brice in the North Shore Music Theatre’s upcoming production of “Funny Girl.”
SD: How did you get your start in musical theatre?
SB: I started taking tap lessons at the age of 3 and it just progressed from there. My parents must have known there was a performer deep inside of me. Plus, at home, I loved to hold court for my family with my singing and dancing.
SD: What was the attraction of playing Fanny Brice for you?
SB: I definitely identified with her as a person. Like her, I always felt different and was never given a chance. When I was younger and performing in plays, I was never front and center and always wondered if I was really good enough. I would ask myself “Why they don’t see me, I’m talented!” Plus, there was really not a lot of roles for Jewish girls. Once, I was told that I am too Jewish for “Fiddler On The Roof.”
SD: Is it more challenging to portray a real person than a fictional character?
SB: Hell, yes! I am terrified. I want to really honor and represent the person she was. Playing Fanny has always been one of my dream roles, so I made sure that I did a lot of research. When you grow up watching the Fanny from the movie (Barbara Streisand), or listening to the Fanny from the soundtrack, I really had to choose which Fanny I was going to play and I wanted to portray the real Fanny Brice with a little bit of me.
SD: How would you describe your character, Fanny Brice?
SB: In any role, I have to learn to bring myself to the table and keep it authentic. When performing, Fanny portrayed a level of comfort and interacted with the audience. Like her, I have to have fun and be easy. I can relate to a lot of experiences she had. Also, I’m both nervous and excited about performing at NSMT. I have never performed a show in the round. I do love that it provides a more inmate quality and that there are no walls, so it gives me more of a sense of freedom.
SD: What is your favorite moment in the show?
SB: I love all the scenes leading up to “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” I love the song, because I don’t like to be told what to do. Also, the end scene as heartbreaking as it is when Nicky comes back. I am so excited to be a part of this production. It is definitely a dream come true and I can’t believe that it is finally happening.
For more information on Shoshana visit her website at www.shoshanabean.com and to purchase tickets to see her in the North Shore Music Theatres production of “Funny Girl” from June 7th– June 19th visit www.nsmt.org