When it comes to Funny Girl, you can’t escape the Streisand factor. Barbra Streisand famously originated the role of Fanny Brice on Broadway in 1964 and subsequently immortalized the part on screen in 1968. In announcing Lauren Ambrose as the star of the upcoming revival of the show, director Bartlett Sher even acknowledged Streisand in the press release. “It’s important that people not see this casting process as trying to find the next Barbra Streisand,” he said at the time. “She is one of a kind.” Now Streisand has offered her thoughts on casting Ambrose in the musical.
In an interview with USA Today about her new album, What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the iconic performer was asked about the young star best known for Six Feet Under. “I saw a clip on YouTube of her singing ‘My Man,'" Streisand said about Ambrose. "But it was uptempo, so I couldn't judge it. It doesn't matter because she doesn't sing it in the show." The number is from the film adaptation of Funny Girl.
Featuring music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, Funny Girl tells the rags-to-riches story of legendary entertainer Fanny Brice and her enduring love for rakish Nicky Arnstein. The original production opened on Broadway on March 26, 1964 and ran at three theaters for a total of 1,348 performances, closing on July 1, 1967. Streisand received an Academy Award for the 1968 film adaptation. Sher’s revival of the musical is headed for the Great White Way in spring 2012 after a pre-Broadway run at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre from January 15 to February 26.
In other Streisand news, the actress told the paper that her on again, off again plans to star in a new movie adaptation of the musical Gypsy are still on, as previously reported. "We just have to find our team and a writer,” Streisand said about the remake. “It's too bad, because I was looking forward to working with Arthur," she said of late scribe/director Arthur Laurents, who died in May at the age of 93. "I had seen him a few months before that, and he seemed so strong and healthy." Streisand plans to take on the role of ultimate stage mother Rose in the remake. "It's like a bookend starting with Funny Girl," she has previously stated about her return to movie musicals.