Theatre review by Steve Duffy –
The opulent yet intimate musical classic, Funny Girl, tells the fascinating bitter-sweet story of Fanny Brice (played by recording artist and Broadway veteran Shoshana Bean), whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to the Ziegfeld Follies, then on to international fame, and her tempestuous relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein.
It’s been quite some time since “Funny Girl” originally opened on Broadway (1964) and most likely some time has passed since any of us have watched the film starring Barbara Streisand (1968). Set your memories aside, because Shoshana Bean is going to help you create some wonderful new ones.
Barbara Streisand, who?
Bean has a natural comedic instinct and a great stage presence. She owns every bit of her characer and what a singer! She belts out all the shows best-know songs, “Don’t Rain on my Parade’ and “People” with such vocal clarity and power.
Bradley Dean doesn’t do much in his role as Nick Arnstein. Although their interactions as a couple are believable, unfortunately, he is a wet mop compared to Bean’s wildfire.
Rick Faugno as Eddie Ryan, who helps Fanny get into showbiz, was amazing. His personality was infectious and his singing voice was wonderful.
Susan Cella (Mrs. Brice), Sandy Rosenberg (Mrs. Strakosh), and Purdie Bauman (Mrs. Meeker) are all extremely funny and superb as the poking playing ladies of Henry Street. Cella is marvelous as Mrs. Brice as she helps to keep Fanny balanced on her meteoric rise to fame.
As always, the NSMT does an impressive job with the lighting, sets, costumes, and musical direction.
You would be a fool not to see this production of “Funny Girl.” Shoshana Bean is a talent that is not to be missed!
Running Time: Approximately 2 hrs 35 min (includes intermission)
Performances run through June 19th. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.