26 Mar 2014
Celebrating its Golden Anniversary today, Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand in her star-making turn, opened on March 26, 1964. The musical production played 1,348 performances and received eight Tony nominations. Playbill.com takes a look back at her work as Broadway's original Funny Girl.
The opening night cast included Sydney Chaplin, Danny Meehan, Jean Stapleton, Roger DeKoven, Lainie Kazan and Kay Medford. But 21-year-old Barbra Streisand, already a Tony nominee for her performance in 1962's I Can Get It for You Wholesale, made headlines as Fanny Brice.
New York Times reviewer Howard Taubman praised Streisand's star turn. "Since Fanny herself cannot be brought back," he wrote, "the next best thing is to get Barbra Streisand to sing and strut and go through comic routines à la Brice."
The Jule Styne/Bob Merrill musical earned eight Tony nominations but faced stiff competition from Jerry Herman's new musical Hello, Dolly!, which swept the 1964 awards. Streisand received a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical but lost to Carol Channing's performance as Dolly Levi.
Streisand won an Oscar for her role in the 1968 film version of Funny Girl, and the following year brought Dolly Levi to the big screen in the 1969 film adaptation of Hello, Dolly.