Broadway Reviews: Funny Girl & The Music Man

Funny Girl

Official Blurb: THE MUSICAL COMEDY CLASSIC IS BACK FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER—AND BROADWAY AUDIENCES ARE THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

Featuring one of the most iconic scores of all time by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, a revised book from Harvey Fierstein based on the original classic by Isobel Lennart, tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, choreography by Ellenore Scott, and direction from Michael Mayer, this love letter to the theatre is ready to step back into the spotlight. Golden Globe® nominee Beanie Feldstein stars alongside Tony® nominee Ramin Karimloo, five-time Emmy Award® winner Jane Lynch and Jeff Award winner Jared Grimes and dazzles with the songs “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star,” and “People.” This bittersweet comedy is the story of the indomitable Fanny Brice, a girl from the Lower East Side who dreamed of a life on the stage. Everyone told her she’d never be a star, but then something funny happened—she became one of the most beloved performers in history, shining brighter than the brightest lights of Broadway.

My Take: Funny girl has two of my favorite musical theater songs People and Don’t rain on my parade so trust me as soon as I knew it was coming to Broadway I was in line. When I saw it in London 2016 I asked for a Broadway transfer so thanks for listening to me even if it was 5 years later. The production is as simple as the one in London I thought we were going to go bigger for Broadway, it’s still wonderful. I had a fabulous time at it. I did want more flash and a larger chorus and as my friend who went with me said – the set is just was a tad weird . My favorite part- of course @raminkarimloo – he could sing the phone book and I’m there. Jane Lynch does not need to be in this production her shtick gets boring and she detract from the show in my opinion instead of adding to it. Beanie – I was concerned coming in as I had heard some negative things about her so went in a little bit hesitant but she exceeded my expectations. She excels with wonderful comedic timing even though parts are a little too cutie funny and plays quite young. As for her voice, I’m going with what my singing teacher always says – when she supports the big bold notes are absolutely beautiful when she’s in her comfort zone she gets a tad nasaly and not as agreeable but her acting more than makes up for it. I love that it is a completely different take from Barbara’s version – you don’t want to compare it’s just different and that is fabulous.

The Music Man

Official Blurb: Two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award®, and Emmy Award® winner Hugh Jackman makes his highly anticipated return to Broadway in what is widely agreed to be the greatest role ever created for an actor in the history of musical theater: Professor Harold Hill in Meredith Willson’s beloved classic, The Music Man. Two-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy superstar Sutton Foster will star as Marian Paroo. The production is directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle.

One of the most universally cherished treasures of the American musical theater, The Music Man was an instant smash hit when it premiered on Broadway on December 19, 1957. It went on to win five Tony Awards, including the prize for Best Musical, and ran for 1,375 performances. The Smithsonian Institution ranks The Music Man as one of the “great glories” of American popular culture.

My Take: This is exactly what you expect and want. There is no crazy reinvention, it is a huge very well done production of an average (in my book, its not my favorite musical) but popular musical. But yet you are not here for the Music Man, you are here for Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in Music Man and that it delivers in spades. Shoutout to my luck to getting first row tickets on the day of the show and seeing even the sweat trickle down Hugh Jackman’s brow, worth every penny!. The set is gorgeous and so are the costumes. There are so, so many costumes and they are all spectacular. I also really appreciated the dancing. A great mix of different genres, the kids dancing was spectacular. My favorite numbers were Shipoopi and the SPOILER ALERT the tap at the curtain call.

My only two issues – 1. the casting leads to great suspension of disbelief. Sutton Foster actually looks great against Hugh Jackman and it is very age appropriate as a partner. Obviously putting someone much younger would look too much like a December May inappropriate romance. However me sitting so up-close the huge issue is with Mrs Paroo. Marie Muellen is almost 70 and reads quite old on stage , appropriate to play Sutton Fosters mom, but really her appearing as the mom of a 10 years old boy just doesn’t play. Sutton can play much younger but believing Mrs Paroo had a 10 year old son is a huge suspension of disbelief. This actually would just add fuel to the fan theory (that actually evolves into a story line in Schmigadoon the series which you should go check out) that the kids is actually Marians 😉

2. I’m obsessed with Suttons Voice and really this material is not the best for her. She still does it beautifully, I just don’t think its the best use of her voice.

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