Broadway producers are people who need people — especially courageous people willing to congregate indoors during a pandemic. And maybe even get excited about a new take on a classic musical.
Four new musical revivals are expected on Broadway over the next eight months. The latest to throw its hat in the ring is Funny Girl, scheduled to begin performances on April 2, 2022, per a recent casting notice. It will star Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), according to industry sources.
It would follow Caroline, or Change, which begins previews Oct. 8 at Studio 54, with Sharon D. Clarke, who won an Olivier Award for the role in London; Company, which resumes previews on Nov. 15 at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre after being interrupted by the pandemic, with Katrina Lenk as Bobbie, a role traditionally played by a man; and The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, with a first preview on Dec. 20 at the Winter Garden, ahead of a Feb. 10 opening.
Ivo van Hove’s video-heavy 2020 revival of West Side Story will not reopen, according to a statement today attributed to Kate Horton, a British theater producer who’d been named executive producer of Music Man. A production spokesman said that West Side Story will return the $10 million that the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded it via the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. Originally capitalized for $16 million, the Scott Rudin production played just 78 previews and 24 regular performances before it was shuttered by the pandemic.
This will be the busiest season for musical revivals since 2016-17, when there were five: Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Sunday in the Park with George, Miss Saigon and Hello, Dolly! — the Bette Midler-led hit in which Feldstein made her Broadway debut.
The new revivals have been in the works for years, so it will be a happy accident should they emerge as the perfect pandemic product. Music Man has been a hot ticket since it was first announced, more than two years ago. On Telecharge, the primary outlet, seats fetch as much as $614 for as far back as the 16th row of the orchestra. Some resellers are asking for thousands of dollars a ticket.
Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) is to direct the first-ever Broadway revival of Funny Girl, the hit 1964 Jule Styne-Bob Merrill-Isobel Lennart musical that starred Barbra Streisand as Ziegfeld Follies legend Fanny Brice. In 2015, Mayer staged a revival at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory with Sheridan Smith that producer Sonia Friedman transferred to the West End. Its revised book, by Harvey Fierstein, will be used on Broadway.
Idina Menzel had been in talks to play the lead role on Broadway before the pandemic delayed the production. Feldstein, 28, has said that she’s been obsessed with the show since she was a child. Streisand played Brice — a successful singer, actress and comedian — on Broadway and on film, winning the first of her two Oscars for the part. The score includes “I’m the Greatest Star,” “Don’t Rain on my Parade” and, of course, “People,” which became a Streisand signature song.
Feldstein next plays Monica Lewinsky in Impeachment: American Crime Story, the latest installment in the Ryan Murphy franchise, which begins Sept. 7 on FX.
The Funny Girl casting notice was reported earlier by Stephi Wild in Broadway World.