Broadway says "goodbye, gorgeous" to Funny Girl as the revival plays its final performance at the August Wilson Theatre September 3. The production began performances March 26, 2022, and officially opened April 24, 2022. When the final curtain comes down, the production will have played 30 previews and 569 performances.
Glee star Lea Michele and four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh lead the cast as Fanny Brice and Mrs. Brice, respectively, alongside Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein and Jared Grimes as Eddie Ryan. Julie Benko was the Fanny Brice alternate and handled Thursday performances. Soon to be starring in Broadway's Harmony, Benko took her final Funny Girl bow August 31.
The cast also includes Ephie Aardema as Emma and Mrs. Nadler, Anne L. Nathan as Mrs. Strakosh, Debra Cardona as Mrs. Meeker, Martin Moran as Tom Keeney, and Paolo Montalban as Florenz Ziegfeld, with an ensemble comprising Daniel Beeman, Kurt Csolak, Candice Hatakeyama, Curtis Holland, Masumi Iwai, Aliah James, Amy Laviolette, Alicia Lundgren, John Manzari, Katie Mitchell, Mariah Reives, and Leslie Blake Walker. Rounding out the company are standbys Liz McCartney and Michael Mastro, and swings Miriam Ali, Kaitlyn Frank, Danielle Kelsey, Connor McRory, and Derek Jordan Taylor.
Building upon Jule Styne's original score and Bob Merrill's lyrics, Tony winner Harvey Fierstein revised the book (from Isobel Lennart's original) for this revival of the biomusical tracking real-life singer and comic Fanny Brice. From humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York, Brice rose to fame and fortune onstage in the Ziegfeld Follies and as a radio and screen performer. The original 1964 production propelled a young Barbra Streisand to international fame; she reprised her stage performance in the 1968 film adaptation, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in the process.
The production, the musical's first-ever Broadway revival, had a rocky road to becoming a runaway hit at the box office. Fierstein's revised book debuted in a 2015 West End revival starring Sheridan Smith and directed by Michael Mayer. Despite becoming an Olivier-nominated success that later toured the U.K., a Broadway bow did not come until 2022, also directed by Mayer and featuring Fierstein's book revisions but with an otherwise completely new production. On opening night, the cast was led by Beanie Feldstein and Jane Lynch, both of whom ended up departing the production abruptly and earlier than initially announced. Prior to their departure, it was announced that Lea Michele would be the production's next Fanny Brice, fulfilling a very public dream role for the Glee star and Broadway alum. After Michele joined the cast alongside Feldshuh as Mrs. Brice, the production quickly became one of Broadway's top grossers, recouping its initial investment and breaking house records at the Wilson more than once.
Following the final Broadway curtain, this production of Funny Girl will embark on a national tour with newcomer Katerina McCrimmon starring as Fanny Brice alongside "Don't Cry Out Loud" singer Melissa Manchester as Mrs. Brice and Stephen Mark Lukas as Nick Arnstein. The tour will launch September 9 at providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, with more than 30 cities set to follow.
Mayer leads a creative team that includes choreography by Ellenore Scott, tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, music supervision and direction by Michael Rafter, scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kevin Adams, sound design by Brian Ronan, and hair design by Campbell Young Associates. Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Jason Thinger.
The production also includes orchestrations by Chris Walker; dance, vocal, and incidental music arrangements by Alan Williams; additional arrangements by Carmel Dean and David Dabbon; and music coordination by Seymour Red Press and Kimberlee Wertz.
Sonia Friedman Productions, Scott Landis, and David Babani produce, along with Roy Furman, No Guarantees, Adam Blanshay Productions, Daryl Roth, Stephanie P. McClelland, Lang Entertainment Group, Playing Field, Gavin Kalin, Charles & Nicolas Talar, Fakston Productions, Sanford Robertson, Craig Balsam, Cue To Cue Productions, Leonofffedermanwolofsky Productions, Judith Ann Abrams / Peter May, Hunter Arnold, Creative Partners Productions, Elizabeth Armstrong, Jane Bergère, Jean Doumanian, Larry Magid, Rosalind Productions, Iris Smith Kevin & Trudy Sullivan, Julie Boardman / Kate Cannova, Heni Koenigsberg / Michelle Riley, Mira Road Productions / Seaview, In Fine Company, Elie Landau, Brian Moreland, Henry R. Muñoz III & Kyle Ferari Muñoz, and Maggioabrams/Brian & Dayna Lee.