Led by Judy Blazer as the saucer-eyed goofball Fanny Brice, Sundance’s “Funny Girl” is liable to make audiences say, “Barbra who?”
Streisand played the role in the 1968 film, and while Blazer seems to have watched the movie, she hasn’t let it govern her performance. She’s a sassy ball of energy, tied up with a few strings that hint at the sensitive soul beneath, and she’s wonderful to watch and listen to. (Blazer’s singing voice is beautiful and full of personality.)
The show is a biography of Fanny Brice, a successful performer in the early part of the last century. It’s an era where showgirls are real lookers who can dance up a storm, which makes the plain-looking, non-dancing Fanny an unlikely candidate for stardom.
She perseveres, though, and winds up working for Flo Ziegfeld (Max Robinson) on Broadway, thanks to a recommendation from Nick Arnstein (Michael Nouri), a slick-talking gentleman gambler.
Fanny and Nick take up together, to the dismay of choreographer Eddie Ryan (Joshua Finkel), who also has a thing for her and who recognizes Nick for the rat he is.
The live orchestra, conducted by Ryan Murphy, adds a lot of zest to an already-zesty show. In the cast, there are local favorites like Jayne Luke and Marvin Payne, and a chorus of talented students and professional actors in the small roles. Dallyn Vail Bayles, for example, gets exactly one solo, and he knocks it out of the park.
From top to bottom — especially that compelling “the show must go on” conclusion — “Funny Girl” is a smooth, polished production full of humor and heart.
A very short review. We were tight on space in the paper, and I really didn't have much else to say, anyway.
But since it is impossible to please anyone in Utah County, this very positive review still received complaints. They were posted at the Daily Herald's Web site.
So, Mr. Snider, my question is qhat about the sets, costuming, lighting, sound, specific critiques of other performances besides Judy Blazers, and an overall REVIEW of the production that says more than "Judy Blazer is good. Show is good." This is, sadly, one of the weakest reviews I've ever read! Review the show damn it!
And yet, when I do "review" the shows, people bitch about that, too.
Someone else (also anonymous, of course) suggested maybe the reason the review wasn't longer was that when I don't have anything negative to say, I just don't say anything at all. Mrowr!