Beanie Feldstein to Star in ‘Funny Girl’ on Broadway

Beanie Feldstein will star as Fanny Brice, the role that helped make Barbra Streisand a star, in a production of “Funny Girl,” which is returning to Broadway for the first time in 58 years.

The revival of the 1964 musical will be directed by Michael Mayer, who oversaw a 2015 revival of the show in London. Producers said performances would begin in the spring, but did not specify a date — though a recent Equity casting call gave April 2 as the first performance. The theater where the musical will be housed will be announced later.

“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,” Feldstein said in a statement. “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,” she added, “and cannot wait for audiences to get back in theaters again!”

Feldstein made her Broadway debut in 2017 as Minnie Fay in “Hello, Dolly!,” which starred Bette Midler, and had memorable roles in the films “Booksmart” and “Lady Bird.” She’ll play Monica Lewinsky next month in the new FX series “Impeachment: American Crime Story.”

“Funny Girl” charts the rise of the self-deprecating comedian and actress Fanny Brice, and her relationship with the professional gambler Nick Arnstein. The original production was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including best musical.

Streisand won a best actress Oscar for the 1968 film and her performance has cast a long shadow over the title role — a multidimensional character who must sing, generate laughs and succeed against the odds all at once.

An attempt to revive the show in 2012, with Bartlett Sher directing the television actress Lauren Ambrose in the lead role, fell apart. So for many theatergoers, the long-awaited return of “Funny Girl” makes it one the most highly anticipated revivals in years.

Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s score includes such classic songs as “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Isobel Lennart’s original book is being revised by Harvey Fierstein. And Mayer has a strong track record, though some of his biggest directing successes have been with rock-inflected material, including “Spring Awakening” in 2006 (for which he won a Tony) and the 2014 revival of“Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

The new production will also feature the choreography of Ellenore Scott and scenic design by David Zinn. Ayodele Casel, an artist in residence at Little Island, will oversee tap choreography for the show.

Producers said that additional casting announcements would be released shortly.

“Funny Girl” is the second previously unscheduled musical to announce its Broadway opening since the pandemic began. Preview performances for the new musical “Paradise Square” will begin on Feb. 22 at the Ethel Barrymore Theater.

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