Wednesday, August 11, 2021

B'way Update: Funny Girl Confirmed

Beanie Feldstein
Yesterday I posted that a Broadway revival of Funny Girl was a possibility for next spring due to a Equity casting notice being placed for the show. Now it's confirmed that the 1964 musical bio of the legendary comedienne Fanny Brice which made Barbra Streisand a star will be returning to Broadway for its first revival. The lead role will be played by Beanie Feldstein who played Minnie Fay in the recent Bette Midler-led revival of Hello, Dolly! and will be featured as Monica Lewinski in the upcoming TV mini-series Impeachment: America Crime Story. Tony winner Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, American Idiot) will direct and four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein will revise Isobelle Lennart's original book. The iconic score which includes "People," "Don't Rain on My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star" and "If a Girl Isn't Pretty" is by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics).

Plans for a new Funny Girl have been in the works for years with Lady Gaga, Lauren Ambrose, Idina Menzel, and Lea Michele all mentioned for the lead at one time or another. Further casting, specific dates and a theater will be announced later.

Broadway buffs are now guessing who is cast as Feldstein's leading man, Nicky Arnstein, Brice's husband. I'm more interested in who's going to play Fanny's mother (a role for which Kay Medford earned an Oscar nomination for the movie). A few months ago Rosie O'Donnell hinted she was in the running, but it may be a Broadway veteran with more credits such as Mary Testa (Xanadu, 42nd Street, etc.), Jackie Hoffman (On the Town, Hairspray, The Addams Family) or Julie Halston (Tootsie, You Can't Take It With You, Twentieth Century). Or maybe all three will be cast as Mrs. Brice and her poker-playing buddies.

Beanie Feldstein said, “The first time I played Fanny Brice was at my third birthday party, in a head-to-toe leopard print outfit my mom made for me. So, it’s safe to say that stepping into this iconic role, on Broadway and not in my family’s backyard, is truly my lifelong dream come true. I am immensely grateful to be able to do so alongside such a remarkable creative team, and cannot wait for audiences to get back in theaters again!”

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