Funny Girl

Music: Jule Styne

Lyrics: Bob Merrill

Book: Isobel Lennart

Before Barbra Streisand won the leading role in Funny Girl, it was turned down by Mary Martin, Anne Bancroft, and Carol Burnett. Streisand's only other Broadway credit at the time was a small role in I Can Get It For You Wholesale, but she was destined to become even more famous than the showgirl she would portray in the hit musical. Streisand's recording of "People" was a hit before Funny Girl ever opened.

The plot of Funny Girl revolves around comedienne Fanny Brice and her rise to fame in the early 20s. Told mostly in flashbacks, the musical shows Fanny before she is discovered by showman Florenz Ziegfeld, follows her through her first triumph in the Zeigfeld Follies, her marriage to gangster Nick Arnstein, and the break-up of that marriage after Nick finds himself in trouble with the law.

After five opening-night postponements, Funny Girl finally opened at the Winter Garden on March 26, 1964. The show had gone through three directors (including Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins who eventually returned), four title changes, and numerous script revisions, but the Broadway run--which lasted for 1,348 performances--was a great success. Miss Streisand, who had been catapulted to stardom by the show, reprised her role in the 1968 screen version as well as the 1975 sequel Funny Lady.

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