Baz Bamigboye has announced the highly anticipated Menier Chocolate Factory production of Funny Girl is to transfer to London’s Savoy Theatre early next year.
Given the huge fan-fare and demand for tickets – it was the fastest selling show in the Chocolate Factory’s history – it was always tipped for a West End transfer providing Smith’s availability and a few rights issues were ironed out.
Funny Girl hasn’t been produced in the West End since Barbra Streisand originated the role in 1966; this is most likely due to the second act being written around the star vehicle Streisand at the expense of the story. Hervey Fierstein who has been very busy of late with Kinky Boot’s The Musical and Casa Valentina opening in London was asked to review the book and significant changes have been made, cutting 40 pages from the script on the first read. Fierstein said “It’s not that I’ve cut it to make it shorter — I’ve edited it to make it stronger.”
A couple of songs have been dropped, others moved around and two numbers that were written by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, but never used, have been dusted off and reinstated.
One of these was written for the character of Nicky Arnstein (played by Darius Campbell), the shifty gambler who married Brice at the height of her fame as a comedienne and singing star with the Ziegfeld Follies.
Smith will reprise her role with further casting to be announced.
Written by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, the musical is based on the life and career of Broadway star Fanny Brice, and her relationship with Nick Arnstein. Barbra Streisand famously originated the role on Broadway and film. It features songs including “People”, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “I’m the Greatest Star”.
Funny Girl will play a 12 week season from 9th April 2016 at the Savoy Theatre.
Priority tickets will be released on 9th November 2015 before tickets go on general sale from 16th November 2015.