The Menier Chocolate Factory has today announced full casting for their production of Funny Girl. Joining Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice are Valda Aviks (Mrs O’Malley), Natasha J Barnes (Emma/Mrs Meeker), Darius Campbell (Nick), Marilyn Cutts (Mrs Brice), Maurice Lane (Mr Keeney), Bruce Montague (Ziegfeld), Joel Montague (Eddie), Gay Soper (Mrs Strakosh); with Emma Caffrey, Matthew Croke, Joelle Dyson, Rebecca Fennelly, Luke Fetherston, Leah Harris, Kelly Homewood, Sammy Kelly and Stuart Ramsay completing the ensemble. The multi award-winning Michael Mayer directs the production, which opens on 2nd December, 2015 with previews from 20th November, and runs until 5th March 2016. Funny Girl is presented in association with Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott Landis.
Funny Girl returns to the London stage for the first time since its 1966 première. With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, the Broadway smash which skyrocketed Barbra Streisand to stardom, is revived with book revisions by Harvey Fierstein. Sheridan Smith plays Fanny Brice, who rose from the Lower East Side of New York to become one of Broadway’s biggest stars under producer Florenz Ziegfeld. While she was cheered onstage as a great comedienne, offstage she faced a doomed relationship with the man she loved. With a score featuring now-classic songs such as “People”, “You Are Woman, I Am Man” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, this brand new production promises to be a major theatrical event.
Sheridan Smith returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory to play Fanny Brice. She previously appeared in Little Shop of Horrors for the company (also Duke of York’s Theatre). Her other theatre work includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Old Vic), Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket – Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Actress), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical), Tinderbox (Bush Theatre), The People are Friendly (Royal Court) and Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse). For television, her credits include Blackwork, The C Word, Cilla, The Widower, The 7.39, Dates, Mr Stink, Mrs Biggs (BAFTA Best Actress), Accused, Scapegoat, Little Crackers, Jonathan Creek, Gavin & Stacey, Larkrise to Candleford, Grown Ups, Love Soup, Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps, The Royale Family and Wives and Daughters; and for film, The Huntsman, Powder Room, Quartet, Tower Block and Hysteria.
Valda Aviks plays Mrs O’Malley. Her theatre includes Once (Gaiety Theatre Dublin and Phoenix), Sweeney Todd (Adelphi Theatre) and Jerry Springer: The Opera (National Theatre and Cambridge Theatre)
Natasha J Barnes plays Emma/Mrs Meeker. She currently performing in American Idiot (Arts Theatre). Other theatre work includes Chess (Union Theatre), Snow White (Old Vic) and Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith and Novello Theatre).
Darius Campbell plays Nick Arnstein. For theatre his work includes in the West End, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Gone with the Wind, and From Here to Eternity; Carmen (Europe and 02) and The History of the Big Bands (tour). Also a recording artist, his first single Colourblind went to #1 in the UK singles chart.
Marilyn Cutts play Mrs Brice. Her theatre work includes Wicked, Never Forget (West End), The Rose Tattoo, Oklahoma! (National Theatre) and Show Boat (RSC). For film, her work includes Les Miserables.
Maurice Lane plays Mr Keeney. His theatre work includes Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Fiddler on the Roof (Her Majesty’s Theatre). He was also in the original cast of Funny Girl (Prince of Wales Theatre).
Bruce Montague plays Ziegfeld. His West End theatre credits include The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s) and Oliver! (Palladium).
Joel Montague plays Eddie. Most recently he completed a UK tour of The Producers. Other credits include Urinetown (Apollo Theatre) and Sister Act (UK tour).
Gay Soper returns to the Menier to play Mrs Strakosh – she previously appeared in Sunday in the Park with George (also Wyndham’s Theatre). Her other theatre work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Apollo and National Theatre) and Lend Me a Tenor (Gielgud).
Michael Mayer directs. His West End credits include Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith and Novello) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Shaftesbury Theatre). For Broadway his work includes Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony nomination for Best Director), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, American Idiot (Drama Desk Award for Best Director of a Musical), Spring Awakening (Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Drama Desk Award for Best Direction of a Musical) and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Drama Desk nomination for Best Direction of a Musical). For television, his work includes Smash; and for film, A Home at the End of the World, Flicka and currently in production, Chekhov’s The Seagull.
Music by Jule Styne Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Book by Isobel Lennart from an original story by Miss Lennart
Revised Book by Harvey Fierstein
Director: Michael Mayer; Set Designer: Michael Pavelka; Costume Designer: Matthew Wright
Choreographer: Lynne Page; Lighting Designer: Mark Henderson; Sound Designer: Richard Brooker
Musical Supervisor: Alan Williams; Orchestrations: Chris Walker
20th November 2015 – 5th March 2016