The Menier Chocolate Factory has revealed full casting for its 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 2 December, with previews from 20 November, and runs until 5 March 2016.
Funny Girl returns to the London stage for the first time since its 1966 premiere. 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. The score features now-classic songs such as ‘People’, ‘You Are Woman, I Am Man’ and ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’.
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), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre), 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, Accused, Scapegoat, Little Crackers, Jonathan Creek, Gavin & Stacey, Larkrise to Candleford, Grown Ups, Love Soup, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, The Royale Family and Wives and Daughters.
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 is 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 O2) and The History of the Big Bands (tour).
Marilyn Cutts plays Mrs Brice. Her theatre work includes Wicked, Never Forget (West End), The Rose Tattoo, Oklahoma! (National Theatre) and Show Boat (RSC).
Maurice Lane plays Mr Keeney. His theatre work includes Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), 42ndStreet (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, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Funny Girl is presented in association with Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott Landis.