The production will play the intimate Minerva Studio Theatre beginning April 28 with an official opening scheduled for May 8. It will run there to June 14.
The show, with a book by Isobel Lennart, is based on the true-life story of Broadway and film star Fanny Brice, who will be played at Chichester by Samantha Spiro. Spiro won the 2002 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Mary Flynn in Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse. She also won a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2004 for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her appearance in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's production of A Little Night Music, directed by Gary Griffin. Other leading roles include appearances in the original cast of Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years and the role of Barbara Windsor in Terry Johnson's Cleo, Camping…., both at the National Theatre.
Newly announced to star opposite her as Fanny's husband Nick Arnstein is Mark Umbers, whose leading roles onstage include Freddy Eynsford-Hill in Trevor Nunn's 2001 National Theatre production of My Fair Lady that subsequently transferred to the West End's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; Tom Veryan in The Vortex, Michael Grandage's debut production at the helm of the Donmar Warehouse in 2002; and the Gentleman Caller, Jim O’Connor, in the 2007 West End revival of The Glass Menagerie, opposite Jessica Lange. He was also part of Trevor Nunn's 1999 ensemble at the National, appearing in Candide, Troilus and Cressida and The Merchant of Venice. On TV he has appeared in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Princes in the Tower," while his film roles have included "A Good Woman," "Lady Windermere's Fan," "These Foolish Things," "Colour Me Kubrick" and Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream."
Also in the cast are veteran comedy actress Sheila Steafel as Mrs. Brice, Myra Sands as Mrs. Strakosh, Cornelius Clarke as Keeney, Cara Elston as Mrs. Meeker, Joanna Goodwin as Mrs. O'Malley, Amy Ellen Richardson as Mimsey and Amy Rockson as Emma. The ensemble comprises Kevin Brewis, Anna Carmichael, Kate Cobb, Charlene Ford, David Killick, David Lucas, Abigail Rosser and Laura Scott.
Funny Girl is directed by Angus Jackson, who has previously directed Carousel, The Father and The Waltz of the Toreadors at Chichester. More recently, he was represented in the West End by the short-lived Desperately Seeking Susan. It is choreographed by Stephen Mear, currently represented by Mary Poppins and The Little Mermaid on Broadway. It is designed by Mark Thompson, whose recent credits include the current production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Adelphi Theatre and The Rose Tattoo at the National. For tickets contact the box office on 01243 781312. For more information visit www.cft.org.uk.