Will Funny Girl Play London?

News   Will Funny Girl Play London? London's Daily Mail reports that Sheridan Smith, who won an Olivier Award for her performance in the leading role in the West End production of Legally Blonde, is in talks to star in a London revival of Funny Girl, the classic 1964 musical that helped launch the career of Oscar winner Barbra Streisand.

Sheridan Smith
Sheridan Smith

The production, according to the London paper, would be presented at the famed Menier Chocolate Factory featuring direction by Tony winner Michael Mayer. Sonia Friedman Productions, which holds the London rights to the Fanny Brice musical, would produce.

No official announcement has been made about a London production of the musical, which has never been revived on Broadway.

A 1996 national tour starring Debbie Gibson was discussed as a possible Broadway transfer, but it never completed its itinerary, closing prematurely in Green Bay, WI.

A planned full-scale Broadway revival, starring Lauren Ambrose in the lead role opposite Bobby Canavale as Nick Arnstein, was postponed prior to its out-of-town Los Angeles engagement, which had been scheduled for January 2012.

In a statement at that time producer Bob Boyett said, "We have made the extremely difficult decision today to postpone our production of Funny Girl. Given the current economic climate, many Broadway producing investors have found it impossible to maintain their standard level of financial commitment. Our desire to produce Funny Girl on the scale it deserves required a capitalization of $12 million making it one of the most expensive revivals in Broadway history.” Boyett continued, “I am deeply saddened by this decision, but I, along with the finest group of co-producers I have ever had the pleasure to work with, Sonia Friedman, Jean Doumanian, Stacey Mindich and Tim Levy, determined that this was not the right time to bring Funny Girl to the stage."

The production, starring two-time Emmy Award nominee Ambrose as Fanny Brice and two-time Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Bobby Cannavale as Nick Arnstein, was scheduled to open at Broadway's Imperial in April 2012 following its engagement at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.

Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher was to direct Funny Girl, which features music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart.

Since that time there has been much talk of "Glee" star Lea Michele, who performed Funny Girl's "Don't Rain on My Parade" at the 2010 Tony Awards, playing the role that made a star out of Streisand.

On the May 22, 2014, broadcast of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live," the Drama Desk-nominated Spring Awakening star told host Andy Cohen, "Ryan [Murphy] has the rights [to the musical], and it's something that we'd both, I think, would really like to do. And, we've had some really exciting first meetings with a really fabulous director that we think would be really wonderful."

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