Beanie Feldstein falls flat on Broadway


Theater review

Two hours and 50 minutes with one intermission. At the August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St.

The viewers members at “Funny Girl” will not be the luckiest individuals on this planet.

They’ve waited a protracted, very long time for the first-ever Broadway revival of the 1964 musical, which opened Sunday evening on the August Wilson Theatre. Fifty-eight years! But the mediocrity that salivating Fanny Brice followers are lastly laying their eyes on isn’t significantly humorous, or properly sung, or properly designed or properly directed. This sorely missing new manufacturing rains on the outdated musical’s parade.

It’s clear from the get-go that the burden of anticipation and showbiz lore has not been variety to this “Girl.”

The final girl to originate the function of Fanny in a Broadway staging was, in fact, Barbra Streisand. That proficient ingénue was rapidly propelled to superstardom and went on to behave within the 1968 movie model. And, you understand, bought greater than 70 million albums.

Now Beanie Feldstein, who was a smash as Monica Lewinsky in “American Crime Story: Impeachment” final year, takes on the Brooklyn comedian legend who sings traditional hits like “People” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” She is meant to steal our hearts and sprain our humorous bones. No cube.

Ticket-buyers are strolling in forgivingly, with an understanding that we don’t anticipate any Broadway performer to match as much as one of many biggest American vocalists of all time. Feldstein, nonetheless, barely muddles via the beloved songs. The finest carried out numbers (“Sadie, Sadie”) are merely succesful; the worst (“People”) are awkward letdowns. In the spoken scenes, the jokes are pushed more durable than a broken-down Hummer on a freeway and few of them earn greater than well mannered giggles. Feldstein is, I’m sorry to say, not giving a Broadway-caliber efficiency.

Beanie Feldstein stars as Fanny Brice within the first-ever Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.”
Matthew Murphy
Barbra Streisand (middle) originates the function of Fanny on Broadway in 1964 and went on to star within the 1968 movie model.
Everett Collection

Fanny has nowhere to cover in “Funny Girl,” because it’s about as removed from an ensemble piece as you may get with out being a one-woman present. There are solely a handful of supporting characters, who do subsequent to nothing. Just Jared Grimes brings a smile to our face as Eddie, a pal who pines for Fanny, along with his marvelous faucet dancing. Really, although, the musical is all about Fanny, and due to this fact all about Beanie.

The biographical present with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and a ebook by Isobel Lennart tells how Fanny went from a proficient, under-appreciated Brooklyn dreamer with a nagging mom (Jane Lynch, enough) to starring within the Ziegfeld Follies after which to worldwide fame. She additionally falls in love with Nick Arnstein (Ramin Karimloo), who’s a discreet drinker and playing addict.

Fanny (Beanie Feldstein) is speechless when she first meets future love curiosity Nick Arnstein (Ramin Karimloo).
Matthew Murphy

Karimloo is a serviceable actor, however a wonderful singer. When he begins to croon a brief reprise of “People,” we silently beg him to do the entire thing.

The musical’s darkish aspect has all the time original it right into a much less dramatic and compelling “A Star Is Born.” The second act — the script has been revised by Harvey Fierstein — is a miserable slog a few strained marriage and Nick’s slide into criminality. Styne’s well-known rating and the much more pleasing film have satisfied Broadway buffs that “Funny Girl” is best than it truly is.

That mentioned, the revival may very well be an entire lot higher than the uninvolving stroll that director Michael Mayer has turned it into. High jinks, romance, heartbreak, Brooklyn, Broadway and Monte Carlo are all liquified right into a tasteless goo. There’s hardly any variation to be discovered. Showstoppers don’t cease the present. Fanny and Nick develop on paper, but they flatline the place it counts most — stay onstage.

Eddie (Jared Grimes) and Mrs. Brice (Jane Lynch) are among the musical’s few supporting characters.
Matthew Murphy

The actors’ efforts — to Feldstein’s credit score, she is clearly working very laborious — are additional undone by David Zinn’s set: a brick-lined Pringles can that repeatedly opens and closes to disclose red-velvet curtains, or a dressing room, or a stately home. It’s the stuff of coupons. The glam of showbiz isn’t dropped at dazzling life, and we spend an excessive amount of time watching pink bricks and soiled mirrors. 

From prime to backside, this “Funny Girl” wanted completely different individuals.