Theatre Reviews
Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade courtesy of The Fabulous Fox.

“Funny Girl”, the 2022 Broadway revival of the 1964 smash Broadway musical, has arrived at the Fabulous Fox.   The musical, loosely based on the real-life exploits of early twentieth century comedian and Broadway star Fanny Brice, including her relationship with gambler/entrepreneur Nicky Arnstein, is no museum exhibit, but instead remains thoroughly charming, engaging and enjoyable!

This national tour is a beautiful classic in every sense of the word. The pitch perfect orchestra, conducted by Elaine Davidson, sets the tone with the Jule Styne’s timeless overture. I don’t know about you, but I find something comforting and familiar about an overture and it seems like the new musicals often don’t have them. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I heard the overture of “Funny Girl”. The curtain goes up and we meet Fanny Brice walking into her dressing room backstage at the Ziegfeld Follies and she sits down at her dressing table and looks into her mirror and quotes those famous two words “Hello, gorgeous”… and off we go!

Of course, everyone is wondering if the lead is going to be as good as Barbra or Lea Michele (the actor who took over the role of Fanny in the most recent Broadway revival and sold out the remainder of the run). What a heavy load for any actor to bear! But Katerina McCrimmon has the chops and then some to put all the wondering and comparisons aside. Somewhat of a newcomer, Ms. McCrimmon has the comedic timing of Groucho Marx, the singing pipes to go toe to toe with the aforementioned Ms. Streisand, and just the right acting talents to pull it all together.

Her rendition of “I’m the Greatest Star” is a showstopper early on because she certainly is, as the song says, at least in this show! Her supporting castmates are not too shabby either. Izaiah Montaque Harris as Eddie Ryan is a tap-dancing master and a joy to watch. Barbara Tirrell plays Fanny’s mother (she took over the role from Melissa Manchester who left the tour due to an injury) with the exact right amount of maternal chutzpah. Her two cohorts Mrs. Strakosh and Mrs. Meeker, played by Eileen T’Kaye and Hannah Shankman, are particularly endearing and cheeky.

The ensemble is incredible and absolutely shine in the big Ziegfeld numbers “His Love Makes Me Beautiful” and “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat”. Stephen Mark Lukas is disappointing as Nick Arnstein with a lackluster and somewhat whiney portrayal, fortunately, his costar shines so brightly we can live with it.

The sets, designed by David Zinn, and costumes, by Susan Hilferty, are fantastic. No projections here, just real sets, props, sequins, giant butterfly wings, top hats, tap shoes, and all the wonderful bells and whistles that go along with a top-notch Broadway show. If you want a quintessential night of showmanship and star-studded talent “Funny Girl” will not disappoint.

“Funny Girl” is at the Fabulous Fox and runs through February 4th. For tickets and information go to the Fabulous Fox website.

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