There is a new “Funny Girl” in town… And you might recognize her as an FLHS alum!


Grace Kenney, Spotlight Editor

I have always been amazed by the Broadway performers who effortlessly grace the stage, telling their character’s story as they float over difficult rhythms and notes. They make it look easy, when in reality they have worked hard to polish their role in every performance. Julie Benko, an FLHS alum, recently starred in “Funny Girl”, taking the stage in 2022.

Julie is the epitome of someone who has made her dreams a reality. She began her acting career in a local production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and continued acting as a Freshman at Fairfield Ludlowe. She was a part of our drama program in 2003, the first year our school opened. Julie has performed in multiple Broadway musicals since graduating NYU, leading to her role as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl”. 

In the Fall, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gail Benko, the mother of Julie Benko and is a Spanish teacher at Ludlowe. Benko has seen her daughter’s performance as Fanny Brice 43 times and she says “There’s nothing like this role”. The role of Fanny Brice was first played by Barbara Streisand, making her legendary in the music world. Our FLHS alum now plays Streisand’s first iconic role– an incredible achievement. 

When I asked Señora Benko how Julie was capable of making her dreams come true, she said perseverance. To keep going to those auditions, to keep challenging yourself, to take that hard class you are passionate about. Excellent (and well timed) advice for those choosing classes for next year. 😉

During Covid, both Julie and Señora Benko pushed through obstacles. Julie continued to pursue musical theater. She got her masters in Straight Acting and made “Quarantunes” with her husband, singing and posting songs on social media. Señora Benko worked through digital learning for the first time, a challenge she overcame with patience and determination. 

Now that I look at possible routes for my future, I remember the Benkos. I remember to keep pushing myself and moving forward, because someday I might be able to achieve greatness. 


Congratulations, Julie!