Funny Girl premiered on Broadway in 1964, making her a superstar out of 21-year-old Barbara Streisand. On Sunday, the show, a mythical tale of the life of Fanny Brice, a comedian, makes its way into new production starring Beanie Feldstein. The comedy-drama film is somewhat based on the life and career of Broadway and the film star Fanny Brice in addition to her struggling relationship with her husband.
The New Production Director
Michael Mayer, the new production director, believes that there is no other musical well-known as well as unknown as Funny Girl. Several of its songs are pretty famous, like “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” It, however, has not been brought back on Broadway mainly because Streisand’s only talent surrounded the original production and the more famous movie.
Was She the First Choice?
An interesting fact concerning this is that she was not even close to being the first choice for the role. Other names were put forward to play Fanny Brice in the original production. However, when the composer Jule Styne met Streisand in a nightclub in Greenwich Village, he became captivated and recounted in a radio interview in 1970.
During an interview, Mayer said that while they were filming it, to him, it looked like an alchemical where they were also making Barbra, the Barbara of legend. The show continuously became more about Barbara’s personal story and less about Fanny Brice.
Mayer grew up with his grandparents, who entertained him with stories about watching Fanny Brice perform in the Ziegfeld Follies, callously using Jewish humor. He added that Fanny Brice knew she was different from others and did not sound like them. She somewhat changed herself to fit into the character, which can do both low comedy, high comedy, hysterical songs, and shtick. Everything she did was out of nature, and these characteristics are the reasons for her experience growing up as a child in the Jewish part of Brooklyn.
Brice soon became the most popular and highest-paid Broadway artist of her time. Mayer believes that without Fanny Brice taking the lead, there would have been no Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman, or even Barbra Streisand.
Although Michael was well-acquainted with Fanny Brice, he got the chance to see the Funny Girl just once and thought it fell into pieces in the second act. When he was asked to direct the revival seven years ago in London, he called up Harvey Fierstein to do the editing. Fierstein knew that the only job he had was to give the audience the memory of Funny Girl, despite having no relation to it.
Fierstein’s primary role in the play was in breaking up the marriage of Fanny Brice and con artist Nick Arnstein, played by Ramin Karimloo, lifting the space to another level. Two of the songs in the revival were taken from somewhere else and reused something else to give them a more modern look.
Beanie Feldstein as Fanny
In the new production, Fanny is played by Beanie Feldstein, known for the top-rated film Booksmart and Monica Lewinsky’s role in Impeachment: American Crime Story. The reason behind choosing her for the character is that she has a sense of the times. She felt fresh, Jewish, funny, a fantastic actress, a brilliant singer, and not to mention a fabulous dancer.
The 28-year-old Feldstein had his dream come true by being cast for the revival of such a famous play. Beanie has watched Funny Girl on a continuous loop during her childhood, to such an extent that she begged her mother to host her 3rd birthday party Funny Girl themed. She was looking forward to its revised version, which was still changing a week before the premiere. She says that the songs are already engraved in her soul, and it is the story and the script she wanted to watch with a new look as if it is an entirely new story.
However, even with the new hand, something caught her eyes as soon as the music began – some people were singing along, remembering each word which has been loved for around 60 years. This makes her feel like one of the happiest people in the world. Are you going to experience the 2022 revival of the iconic musical?