Sheridan Smith has made a surprise early return to her leading role in Michael Mayer’s critically acclaimed re-working of Funny Girl.
The star, who had been taking time off due to stress and exhaustion, was as Fanny Brice on Friday night, a few days earlier than expected.
Just hours before the curtain went up on Friday evening the producers of the record-breaking show revealed Smith would be back onstage at the Savoy Theatre that evening.
A statement issued by the production team included details of Smith’s much-anticipated return to the role for which she had earned rave reviews. The actress, who was also performing on Saturday evening, is expected to perform from this Monday (11 July) until Saturday 16 July (excluding Wednesday 13 July matinee and Thursday 14 July evening performances when Natasha J Barnes will once again take over the leading role).
The following week (commencing 18 July), Smith is scheduled to perform Tuesday through Saturday with Barnes playing the title role on Monday evenings.
The Menier Chocolate Factory production is due to ends its Savoy run on Saturday 8 October. It was recently announced that a touring version of the hit show will open in Manchester in February next year.
Loosely based on the life of Ziegfeld Follies star, the comedienne Fanny Brice, and focusing on her turbulent relationship with charismatic gambler Nicky Arnstein, Funny Girl was the vehicle that took Barbra Streisand from Broadway to Hollywood. Over 50 years after the show’s debut, one of Broadway’s biggest and busiest names, Harvey Fierstein, was brought in to turn the show into a musical fit for both its new leading lady and a modern audience.
With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, book by Isobel Lennart and a revised book by Fierstein, the show which includes timeless songs like ‘People’ and ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’, proved to be an instant hit with audiences and critics when it opened at the Menier in November last year.
Choreography is by Lynn Page, with set design by Michael Pavelka, costume design by Matthew Wright, lighting design by Mark Henderson and sound design by Richard Brooker, musical supervisor and arrangements by Alan Williams and orchestrations by Chris Walker.
Funny Girl is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions; Scott Landis Productions; Chocolate Factory Productions, Dante Di Loreto and Michael Harrison.
Tickets for Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre are available HERE.
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