Iconic Musical ‘Funny Girl’ Set to Hit the University of Mobile Stage

Molly Grace WatkinsASOTA, News

MOBILE, Ala. – The Alabama School of the Arts at the University of Mobile is thrilled to announce its upcoming spring production of the beloved musical “Funny Girl.”

Led by a team of esteemed ASOTA faculty, including Shadoe Valentin as stage director, Greg Wiggins as conductor, Laura Thomason as assistant musical director, and Heidi Lemon as choreographer, this performance promises to captivate audiences with its passionate performances and timeless charm.

This event will be performed April 11-13 at 7 p.m. and April 14 at 3 p.m. at the university’s College Woods Auditorium. General admission is $20, and student tickets are $10. For more ticket information, visit umobile.edu/pas.

The Melodic Tale:


“Funny Girl” tells the inspiring story of Fanny Brice, a trailblazing comedienne and star of the Ziegfeld Follies, as she navigates the highs and lows of love, fame, and self-discovery. Set against the backdrop of New York City’s vibrant theatre scene in the early 20th century, this classic musical features unforgettable songs and heartwarming moments that have enchanted audiences for generations.

“We are more than excited to bring Fanny Brice’s story to the stage and showcase the incredible talent of our students,” says Shadoe Valentin, stage director of the production. 

“The students have been so invested and have worked so hard during this rehearsal process, making this story their own. This musical is a celebration of resilience, love, and the pursuit of dreams, and we can’t wait to share it with audiences.”


Characters Unveiled:

At the helm of UM’s presentation is senior musical theatre major and Mobile native, Claire Strong, who takes on the iconic role of Fanny Brice. With her exceptional talent and passion for performance, Strong promises to bring depth, humor, and authenticity to this beloved character. 

As Fanny Brice, Strong captures the essence of the character infusing the role with her remarkable vocals and captivating stage presence. Audiences can expect to be swept away by Strong’s nuanced portrayal, as she navigates the main character’s journey.

Joining Strong are ASOTA undergraduate and graduate performance majors, who showcase their immense talent and dedication to their craft in every aspect of the musical. Musical theatre majors and Mobile area natives, Gregory Naman (Eddie Ryan) and Jonah Nelson (Nick Arnstein), bring depth and authenticity to their respective roles. 

Naman portrays Eddie Ryan, a charming and loyal friend of Fanny Brice, providing comedic relief and unwavering support throughout her journey. 

Nelson embodies Nick Arnstein, a dashing and charismatic risk-taker who becomes romantically involved with Fanny, navigating the complexities of their relationship with both charm and vulnerability. 

Additionally, graduate student from Statesville, NC, Abigail Anderson as Mrs. Brice, adds a captivating presence to the production, portraying Fanny’s loving and protective mother. 

Additional Cast includes:

Allegra Fuller – Mrs. Nadler, Ensemble

Anna Geter – Jenny, Emma, Fanny Brice Understudy, Ensemble

Caden Dazzo – Florenz Ziegfield Jr.

Chesed Turner – Vera, Showgirl, Ziegfield Follie, Ensemble

Cory Anderson – Heckie, Mr. Renaldi, Adolph, Cornet Man 2, Ensemble

Erica Jackson – Mrs. O’Malley

Ian Blair – Tom Keeney, Featured Tenor, Ensemble

Jestavia Graham – Mrs. Meeker

Karli Alaniz – Bubbles, Showgirl, Ziegfield Follie, Ensemble

Maegan Eveleigh – Ziegfield Stage Director, Ensemble

Malik Johnson – Workman, Ben/Benji, Cornet Man 1, Ensemble

Michaella Owen – Dance Swing

Molly Grace Watkins – Polly, Cathy, Showgirl, Ziegfield Follie, Ensemble

Rebecca Duncan – Mimsey, Maude, Showgirl, Ziegfield Follie, Ensemble

Savannah Brannen – Mrs. Strakosh

From striking dance numbers to show-stopping musical performances, the cast of “Funny Girl” delivers a truly unforgettable theatrical experience that will leave audiences cheering for more.

Seize the Opportunity:

The production team is also extending a special invitation to college-interested high school students with a love for theatre to be a part of something extraordinary.

Join ASOTA as a special guest during the cast’s final dress rehearsal on Wednesday, April 10, where high school students will have the opportunity to interact with the cast and production team, gaining a behind the scenes peak into the world of theatre.

At the end of the rehearsal, there will be an open Q&A session with the cast and production team. This will present a valuable opportunity to learn from industry-bound students in collaboration with their professional mentors, and to pick their brains about their experiences regarding the entire process! 

Those interested may contact Shadoe Valentin at svalentin@umobile.edu.

For more information and to stay up to date on upcoming ASOTA events, visit umobile.edu/asota or follow on facebook and instagram, @um_asota.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in over 90 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres. 

For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.edu or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.