1967 - 1968
Funny Girl is a generally faithful re-telling of parts of the career of Fanny Brice who was born in New York City in 1891 and was, for 25 years, one of the brightest comedians of the American musical theatre. The story of Fanny Brice's won't-take-no-for-an-answer battle to bash her way into a burlesque chorus line and then to catch star-maker Florenz Ziegfield by the ear isn't really much different from any other major performer's successful assault on Broadway, but Isobel Lennart's understanding libretto and the tuneful Jule Styne-Bob Merrill score make it different.
The musical is also intent on telling the story of how Fanny loved and lost Nicky Arnstein. It is most fun, however, when it is revelling in Fanny's preoccupation with show business. Bursting with energy and eagerness to improve her routines, Fanny is an impudent dancing doll who refuses to run down, and when imagining herself in a radiant future in "I'm the Greatest Star", she is not only Fanny Brice but all young performers believing in their destiny. And then there are the two production numbers which recall the Ziegfeld theatre of the early 1900's - one an opulent salute to American beauties decked out in bridal gowns and diaphanous little nothings, the other a World War I extravaganza with dough boys and dough girls tapping out a rousing "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat" - which are rare nostalgic treats.
Director: Joseph L. Shaver
Musical Director: Berthold Carriere
Choreographer: Richard Jones