Boyett, who holds the rights to the musical that has become synonymous with Barbra Streisand, has enlisted Tony Award-winning South Pacific and Light in the Piazza director Bartlett Sher to helm musical that traces the early life of 20th-century stage, screen and radio star Fanny Brice. Boyett is also a producer of the acclaimed Broadway revival of South Pacific. Funny Girl will likely play an out of town engagement in 2011 prior to its Broadway return. The musical has not been revived since its premiere Broadway outing.
Boyett said he was open to casting "new talent" in the coveted role of Brice, but also commented that "Hollywood types" had expressed interest. Boyett also said of "Glee" TV star and Spring Awakening veteran Lea Michele, "I think Lea is wonderful, she's great, and she would certainly be on anybody's list," adding, "She’s also got a pretty good gig going now." Michele performed one of Funny Girl's signature tunes "Don't Rain On My Parade" this past season on the hit FOX series, which was picked up for a third season through 2012.
Funny Girl's closest full-scale Broadway encounter since it closed at the Broadway Theatre in 1967 (it originated at the Winter Garden) was the Paper Mill Playhouse production starring Leslie Kritzer. The production and its star were acclaimed. A short-lived Broadway-aimed national tour was launched in 1996 starring Deborah Gibson, but shuttered on the road.
Streisand had already achieved a level of stardom by the time she tackled the role of Brice at the age of 21. She was Tony Award-nominated for her performance and earned an Academy Award for repeating her work in the 1968 film. Funny Girl features music by Styne, lyrics by Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart.