Lauren Ambrose has been set to play Fanny Brice in the first Broadway run of Funny Girl since the musical originally opened in 1964. The new production, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, will be directed by Tony-winner Bartlett Sher. It will bow at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre from January 15-February 26 before opening on Broadway next spring. Ambrose has done stage turns in Romeo & Juliet in Shakespeare in the Park, Broadway runs in Awake and Sing and Buried Child at London’s National Theatre, and the producers said she started as a classically trained opera singer. “It’s important that people not see this casting process as trying to find the next Barbra Streisand,” Sher said. “Instead, I really needed someone with whom I could explore the original musical and come to terms with Fanny Brice for a new era. I understand how difficult this part is to fill as well as the characteristics required to explore this in a new way. The world of burlesque, vaudeville and the Follies is a unique American invention and how Fanny Brice came up in that world is a wonderful story, but this show is also about the sacrifices of being an artist and the high cost that women in particular suffer when they find great success and the difficult choices that come with accomplishment.”
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