Funny Girl is a successful stage and film musical that features a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, along with a book by Isolbel Lennart. The musical is semi-autobiographical and is based on the life and career of Fanny Brice, the Broadway star and personality. Her stormy relationship with Nicky Arnstein is played out through a flashback, which incorporates her rise to fame. The musical is perhaps best known because of the film adaptation starring Barbara Streisand who reprised her role from the stage.
the life and career of Fanny Brice
Ray Stark in association with Seven Arts Productions
Original Broadway Production
March 26, 1964 – July 1 1967; Winter Garden Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Broadway Theatre, (1348 performances)
Cast: Barbra Streisand, Sydney Chaplin, Kay Medford, Jean Stapleton, Danny Meehan
Movie Cast Included
Barbra Streisand, Kay Medford, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis & Omar Sharif
Original London Production
1966; Prince of Wales Theatre.
What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box
Real-life legend Fanny Brice is the star of the glamorous Ziegfield Follies on Broadway and the toast of New York in the Roaring Twenties. As she awaits her husband’s release from prison, she reflects on her incredible true story in a series of flashbacks.
In 1910, young Fanny is the daughter of Hungarian Jewish immigrants who emigrated to New York City at the turn of the century. She dreams of becoming a Broadway star, but her widowed mother and her friends, led by Mrs. Strokash, insist that “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty” she has no chance of making it in show business. Fanny vows to prove them wrong, singing “I’m the Greatest Star.”
Fanny befriends a Vaudevillian dancer, Eddie, who recognises her talent, but alongside her mother worries that she’ll forget him when she is famous (“Who Taught Her Everything?”). Nonetheless, Eddie secures her a gig singing in his musical revue, and when Fanny turns her ballad “His Love Makes Me Beautiful” into a comic tour de force, it’s clear her star is on the ascent.
When Fanny meets the good-looking gambler Nick Armstein, she promptly falls in love (“People”). The feelings are mutual, and Nick declares his love in “You Are Woman, I Am Man.” Though others worry about his shady past, Fanny decides she will marry him no matter what (“Don’t Rain On My Parade”).
Fanny enjoys life as a married woman in “Sadie, Sadie,” and lands a starring role in the Follies, run by the illustrious Florenz Ziegfield. Meanwhile Mrs. Strokash and Eddie try to convince Fanny’s mother that it’s now time for her to “Find a Man.” Nick hatches a plan to launch a casino and asks Ziegfield to invest, but when he turns Nick down, Fanny decides to front the rest of the money. They lose their fortune when the deal collapses, and Nick chooses to take part in an illegal bond sale, which leads to his arrest for embezzlement. Fanny is heartbroken and feels like she cannot go on without him, singing “The Music That Makes Me Dance.”
Flashing forward to the present, Nick arrives at the theatre after being released from prison, and he decides it would be best for Fanny if they separated. Though devastated, Fanny decides the show must still go on (“Don’t Rain On My Parade, Reprise”).
- If A Girl Isn’t Pretty
- I’m The Greatest Star
- Cornet Man
- Who Taught Her Everything
- His Love Makes Me Beautiful
- I Want To Be Seen With You Tonight
- Henry Street
- You Are Woman
- Don’t Rain On My Parade
- Sadie, Sadie
- Find Yourself A Man
- Who Are You Now?
- The Music That Makes Me Dance
- Roller Skate Rag
- The Swan
- Funny Girl
- I’d Rather Be Blue Over You
- My Man
Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Composer and Lyricist, Best Actor in a Musical (Sydney Chaplin), Best Actress in a Musical (Barbra Streisand), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Danny Meehan), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Kay Medford), Best Choreography (Carol Haney), Best Producer of a Musical (Ray Stark), Grammy Award: Score from Original Cast Album
Oscar: Best Actress Barbara Streisand 1968
UK: Music Scope UK