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    HomeCultureHello Gorgeous: Don’t Miss this Tour of “Funny Girl”

    Hello Gorgeous: Don’t Miss this Tour of “Funny Girl”

    I never saw “Funny Girl” on stage or the film version, both (stage version 1964, film 1968) starring Barbara Streisand, but I got a sense of what it must have been like to witness a rising star performing live. The recent “Funny Girl” national tour, currently playing at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, stars Katerina McCrimmon who is the best female vocalist I have seen in all my years of reviewing theater.

    The original Isobel Lennart musical has been reworked by Harvey Fierstein, which follows the life of Jewish comedienne, singer, and actress Fanny Brice, from her beginnings on the Lower East Side of New York to the glamourous Ziegfeld Follies and Broadway.

    Early on she catches the eye of handsome Nick Arnstein (played brilliantly by Stephen Mark Lukas), and throughout act one we follow Fanny and Nick fall in love and chase their dreams. After they marry, act two reveals the truth of Nick’s jealousy of his wife’s stardom and trouble with the law due to his gambling debts.

    There’s plenty of comedic relief throughout the production provided by numbers from the Ziegfeld Follies with Fanny as a fake pregnant wife and Jewish bagel soldier and delightful numbers featuring Eddie (Izaiah Montaque Harris) as Fanny’s admirer, mentor and friend who steals the stage with his tap numbers. The female trio of Fanny’ s mother Mrs. Brice (very well played by Melissa Manchester), Mrs. Strakosh (Eileen T’Kaye) and Mrs. Meeker (Cindy Chang) also provide much of the laughs as they criticize and compliment Fanny’s career.

    After McCrimmon began singing “I’m the Greatest Star” the audience became aware that her voice was on the par of Streisand, Garland and Celine Dion. Her performances of “People,” “His Love Makes Me Beautiful,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” and “The Music That Makes Me Dance” all received partial or full standing ovations from our audience. Her voice, coupled with great comedic timing, make “Funny Girl” worth a trip to the theater.

    Also beautiful are the showgirl and period costumes by Susan Hilferty and the set designs by David Zinn.

    “Funny Girl” is currently playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, 8pm Tuesdays – Fridays, 2 and 8pm Saturdays, 1 and 6:30pm Sundays, ends April 28. Tickets at https://www.centertheatregroup.org or 213.628.2772, and will run in theaters nationwide for another year.

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    Shaena Engle
    Shaena Engle
    Shaena Engle is a food, lifestyle and travel writer for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Pasadena magazine, AOL, The Daily Meal, The San Diego Union Tribune and PokerPro magazine. She has interviewed top chefs including Lidia Bastianich, Michael Chiarello, Hubert Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jose Andres, and many others. She has authored three books, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Las Vegas (Globe Pequot Press), The Best Places to Kiss in Southern California (Beginning Press, a romantic travel guide) and Silver Linings: Triumphs of The Chronically Ill and Physically Challenged (Prometheus Books).  She is also an amateur magician and often writes on gambling, poker and magical happenings.  She also is a freelance consultant on restaurant, food, travel and hospitality public relations and marketing efforts.
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