Top 10 reasons to see 'Funny Girl' on Broadway
Discover why you need to watch the greatest stars in this Tony-nominated musical revival.
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter because Funny Girl is here. On Broadway for the first time since its 1964 premiere, the musical that made the greatest star out of Barbra Streisand has gotten a new production with Beanie Feldstein in the title role. Funny Girl follows the life and career of Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice, who rises to the peak of her fame just as she falls for Nick Arnstein, a gambler with a shady past. She puts everything on the line for love — but does it pay off, or has she bet over her head?
You'll have to see the musical to find out. If you weren't around to catch Funny Girl in the 1960s, you won't want to miss it now, because who knows when the next revival will come around? This eye-catching production in particular boasts a starry cast, high-stepping dancing, and beloved songs by an even more beloved songwriter. We've highlighted all the reasons you'll have great fun at Funny Girl, which you can get tickets to on New York Theatre Guide.
Beanie Feldstein and Jane Lynch lead the Funny Girl Broadway cast.
They're the greatest stars! You'll get to see celebrities live when you go to Funny Girl on Broadway. Beanie Feldstein — of Lady Bird, Neighbors 2, Booksmart, and American Crime Story: Impeachment fame — is playing her first Broadway leading role as Fanny Brice. Playing her mother, Mrs. Rosie Brice, is Jane Lynch, an Emmy Award winner for playing Sue Sylvester on Glee. Neither are new to the stage, though — Feldstein made her Broadway debut in 2017's Hello, Dolly!, and Lynch played Miss Hannigan in Annie on Broadway in 2013.
You'll want to get your tickets to see them now, though, because Feldstein and Lynch are only in the show through September 25.
Funny Girl is a classic musical from Broadway's Golden Age.
Okay, technically the Broadway Golden Age ended in 1959, but Funny Girl's 1964 premiere is close enough, and the musical is still considered among the great classics. If you like old-fashioned, 20th-century musicals with lots of big, bold singing and dancing; captivating romance; and lavish sets and costumes, Funny Girl delivers on all counts. Much of the show is set right at the Ziegfeld Follies, too, so expect lots of showbiz pizzazz.
The musical made Barbra Streisand iconic.
Barbra Streisand has been a household name for decades now, and Funny Girl is the reason why. You may have seen her perform as Fanny in the movie adaptation, but first, she played the role on Broadway to acclaim. Surprisingly, she hasn't been on Broadway since, but that one breakout role kicked off a long and successful career as a singer and screen actress. She's nearly synonymous with the show now, and even though she's not involved with the 2022 production at all, you still have to see it if you're a Streisand fan. The opening of the show on April 24, 2022, did, however, coincide with Streisand's 80th birthday.
The show features well-known songs like "Don't Rain on My Parade."
"Hey Mr. Arnstein," recognize that song? The exuberant Act 1 closer "Don't Rain on My Parade" is by far the most famous tune in Funny Girl. Besides being Streisand's signature song, it's been covered countless times by people like Diana Ross, Robin Williams (in the Mrs. Doubtfire movie), Bobby Darin, Liza Minnelli, and Judy Garland. There are other popular and catchy songs in the musical, too, like "People," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," and "I'm the Greatest Star."
Funny Girl is based on the life of a real performer.
The main character of Fanny Brice was a real-life funny girl in the early 1900s! Lots of the events in the musical, including Brice's difficult romance with Nick Arnstein, really happened. She was a variety performer known for her comic acts in Florenz Ziegfeld's Ziegfeld Follies variety shows, and she also did comedy in various stage, screen, and radio projects.
As the title suggests, the show is really funny.
Since the main character is known for her storied comic career, there's no way the musical couldn't be a comedy. A famous sequence in the show sees Fanny do a Follies act that starts out as a sweet romance, but she unexpectedly spins it into a riotous comic routine about a pregnant bride by the end. Between physical comedy like this and plenty of hilarious lines, there's plenty of fun and laughs to be had at Funny Girl.
Funny Girl has the same composer as other famous musicals.
Jule Styne composed Funny Girl, and he's the same person that wrote the music for the shows Gypsy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Peter Pan. So if you love songs like "Everything's Coming Up Roses" or "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," you have Styne to thank, and you're sure to like his Funny Girl tunes, too. He's also written famous non-theatre songs like "Let It Snow" and Frank Sinatra's "Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)."
There's spectacular, Tony-nominated dancing.
A common sight in classic musicals is energetic tap dancing, and Funny Girl is no exception. The character who does the most of it is Eddie Ryan, Fanny's best friend. Jared Grimes plays the role in the current revival and received widespread acclaim for his performance, especially his sharp tapping among other styles. And the cherry on top? He got a Best Featured Actor in a Musical Tony nomination for it, too. Feldstein and Lynch may be the marquee names, but you won't be able to take your eyes off Grimes when he dances.
Funny Girl is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The original Broadway cast recording of Funny Girl was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004, a prestigious honor reserved for music with lasting cultural significance. That's not the only honor the musical has received, however. Funny Girl got eight Tony nominations in 1964, though it faced stiff competition from Hello, Dolly!, which ended up sweeping the ceremony.
The 2022 Broadway production also got multiple awards nods, including an Audience Choice Award win for Beanie Feldstein in the Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Female) category, and Distinguished Performance nominations for her and Lynch at the Drama League Awards. In addition to his Tony nomination, Grimes also got an Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical nomination at the Drama Desks, and the choreography, direction, and costume design also got nods at various ceremonies.
The musical was featured on Glee.
Glee fans will know that Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) is a huge Funny Girl fan, and "Don't Rain on My Parade" is the character's signature song. She sings it repeatedly throughout the series and, in season six of Glee, even lands the role of Fanny in a Broadway production of it, winning a 2020 Tony Award. There are plenty of other Funny Girl references in the series, too, that you might recall — Rachel also sings “My Man” in Barbra Streisand-themed episode, and Kurt sings “I’m the Greatest Star” for an audition. It's kind of ironic that of all the Glee stars, Lynch, who plays the musical-hating character of Sue, is the one to actually perform in the Broadway show!