NEW YORK – It was an unforgettable opening night on Sunday as a classic returned to Broadway for the first time in 58 years.
“Funny Girl” catapulted Barbra Streisand to fame in the 1960s and now a new cast and crew are carrying on the legacy she built, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
Fanny Brice’s story is one that has truly stood the test of time. It’s about being yourself and owning it, and you could feel the energy from everyone in the audience and on stage on Sunday.
Beanie Feldstein fulfilled a lifelong dream playing Brice on Broadway in the revival.
“I’ve loved this story all my life. A dream come true, literally,” Feldstein said.
The 28-year-old sister of actor Jonah Hill was in the audience. So did composer Stephen Schwartz, Tony Award winner Adrienne Warren and movie actress Kristen Bell.
Famous “Glee”‘s Jane Lynch plays Brice’s mother, Rosie Brice.
“When I was becoming like a guest on a sitcom, my mom would leave a message on my answering machine singing, ‘Who Taught Her All She Knows’…and that’s the song I can use, so it’s It’s a full-circle moment that’s truly wonderful,” Lynch said.
“It’s amazing and I feel like every night is opening night because everyone is so excited for it to start,” said actress Liz McCartney, who is Rosie Brice’s backup.
Julie Benko will replace Fanny Brice next weekend.
“She has done so much for Jewish women and to be a Jewish woman representing that on stage is a real honor,” Benko said.
Fanny Brice was the child of Jewish immigrants who dropped out of school in New York in eighth grade. In the 1920s, she broke the glass ceiling held up by society by landing roles based on her talent and comedy and not her looks.
“I think Fanny Brice is showing you that beauty isn’t up to your standards; that’s how I feel inside, so I’ve always resonated with that story,” the actress said. Alex Newel.
Brooklyn native Harvey Fierstein recently reviewed the book “Funny Girl.”
“I love the Golden Age of Broadway. I was brought up on those kinds of shows, that’s what it is,” Fierstein said. “The old-school kind of storytelling, the serious opening starts playing and the audience hears people and ‘Don’t rain on my parade.’ And that’s our job, to make people happy.”
The original 1964 production starring Streisand received eight Tony Award nominations. A few years later, for the film adaptation, Streisand won the Oscar for best actress.
“It’s a show that takes place in a theater. It’s a matter of memory and for us to be together in a theater and celebrate it on stage has been a huge honor,” said costume designer Susan Hilferty.
“I’m thrilled to see one of my favorite movies, favorite Broadway stories that was a movie when I was younger come to life on stage,” said Broadway star Peppermint. “I obviously never got to see that on Broadway.”
“I think people just can’t wait to get out there and feel the energy of the people sitting next to you,” legendary actor Bryan Cranston said. “No matter how old you are, you always want someone to tell you a story and this is one more chance. A timeless story!”
“My dear friend Zac Posen made this for me, of course inspired by Funny Girl’s iconic leopard print. Hello sweetie!” said theater owner Jordan Roth. “This show is like the holy grail of Broadway musicals because it is loved by so many and seen by so few.”
And Sunday is Streisand’s 80th birthday. She wasn’t in attendance, but CBS2 learned she sent the manager a note of support a few weeks ago.