THEATER REVIEW: “Funny Girl” @ Mac-Haydn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Chris Cherin as Nicky Arnstein and Lauren Palmieri as Fanny Brice. Photo by Sarah Kozma.
Chris Cherin as Nicky Arnstein and Lauren Palmieri as Fanny Brice

Review by Roseann Cane
Photograph by Sarah Kozma

A small number of American musicals seem inseparable from the actors who originated the lead roles. For devotees of musical theater, Yul Brynner is The King and I; Robert Preston, The Music Man; and of course, Barbra Streisand is Funny Girl. Contemporary actors cast in these roles have a special burden in making each of these characters their own creation, knowing that many in the audience cannot avoid comparing and contrasting.

I was at once curious and concerned about the actress cast as Fanny Brice in Mac-Haydn Theatre’s production. Streisand is a superstar, and Funny Girl is the show that catapulted her to international fame. But I needn’t have worried. From very early in the show, Lauren Palmeri proved herself a sensation in her own right, a triple-threat (actor/singer/dancer) to be reckoned with.

Funny Girl is a fictionalized biography of vaudeville and Ziegfeld Follies legend Fanny Brice. The show, which takes place in New York City and environs beginning a few years before World War I and ending a few years after, opened on Broadway in 1964 and closed in 1967 after 1,348 performances. The 1968 film adaptation was the top-grossing movie of that year.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.