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The Story of Funny Girl

Discover the story behind the musical Funny Girl - now dazzling on tour!

This delectable revival of Isobel Lennart and June Styne's 1964 musical Funny Girl originated on Broadway in 2022 and is now stunning audiences across the country. Telling the extraordinary tale of Fanny Brice, one of the most famous performers of the 1920s and 30s, the musical theatre classic conjures up nostalgia and emotion while making you laugh out loud as it channels Brice's trademark wit and heartwarming passion.

Who was Fanny Brice?

Born Fania Borach in Manhattan in 1891, Fanny Brice was not a 'typical beauty' of the time, yet after dropping out of school to work at a burlesque revue and later joining Ziegfeld's Follies in 1910, her charm and humor saw her rise to headline the show, launching her to success in venues across the country.

The Ziegfeld Follies

A decadent fusion of vaudeville-style revue, music hall, and cabaret that took its inspiration from the Parisian Folies Bergere, the Ziegfried Follies were the creation of theatre impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., who set up his version in New York in 1907. An elaborate spectacular full of glittering costumes, lavish scenery and a cast of 'Ziegfeld's Girls' these displays were more than just a chance for titillation, between the 'tableaux vivants' (the 'living pictures' the women created) there were performances of song, dance, drama and comedy.

The Musical

Originally pitched as a film by Brice's son-in-law Ray Stark, the project evolved into a musical after actress and Fanny fan Mary Martin thought Isobel Lennart's script would make a great stage show. After adding June Styne and Bob Merrill to create music and lyrics, they looked for actresses to play Fanny, considering Mary Martin, Ann Bancroft, and Eydie Gorme before finally settling on the rising star, Barbara Streisand. It took a few more years, but finally, Funny Girl premiered on March 26, 1964, at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it ran for 1,348 performances. Transferring to London's West End, Sydney Australia, and mounting a North American tour, the show then made it to the screen in 1968, with Streisand reprising her role in an Oscar-winning performance, cementing both her and Fanny's legacies in popular culture.

Famous Fannys

While Barbara was the original Fanny on Stage and screen, the role of Fanny remains a highly sought-after job. In 2016, the show was revived in London, with West End star Sheridan Smith. When this 2022 Broadway revival was announced, the competition was fierce, but ultimately we were blessed by both Bernie Fieldstien and Lea Michele lighting up the stage as the iconic performers. The tour sees newcomer Katerina McCrimmon step into Brice's shoes, in a breakthrough performance.

Reviews for McCrimmon as Fanny on tour

"You'll not often hear a voice as amazing as hers; she is most definitely a young actress who'll go places -- not only can she sing, her performance IS pure musical theater." - Edge Media Network (Providence RI)

"McCrimmon shows such power and control as a vocalist, such depth and consistency as a character actor and such a mesmerizing stage presence that hundreds sat enthralled with her performance from beginning to end." - The Providence Journal (Providence RI)

"Katerina McCrimmon (as Fanny Brice) has talent to burn. She's staggeringly charismatic. She's funny, yes. Given the title, she'd better be. But she's achingly human, too. She sang so well that, more than once, I found myself shivering." The Rapidan (Grand Rapids MI)

"Katerina McCrimmon is a phenomenal Fanny - quirky, adorable, quick, clever, ambitious, and utterly romantic all at once. She's an exquisite comedienne with an astounding vocal range and ability: she makes you laugh out loud with her timing and delivery of lines but also gives you goosebumps." - Revue (West Michigan)

Don't miss Funny Girl when it comes to town on tour this year!