Features

Broadway Update: Funny Girl Confirmed; West Side Won’t Be Back, etc.

By: David Sheward 

August 12, 2021: it’s confirmed that Funny Girl, the 1964 musical bio of the legendary comedienne Fanny Brice which made Barbra Streisand a star will be returning to Broadway for its first revival. The lead role will be played by Beanie Feldstein who played Minnie Fay in the recent Bette Midler-led revival of Hello, Dolly! and will be featured as Monica Lewinski in the upcoming TV mini-series Impeachment: America Crime Story. Tony winner Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, American Idiot) will direct and four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein will revise Isobelle Lennart’s original book. The iconic score which includes “People,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty” is by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics).

Beanie Feldstein

By: David Sheward 

August 12, 2021: it’s confirmed that Funny Girl, the 1964 musical bio of the legendary comedienne Fanny Brice which made Barbra Streisand a star will be returning to Broadway for its first revival. The lead role will be played by Beanie Feldstein who played Minnie Fay in the recent Bette Midler-led revival of Hello, Dolly! and will be featured as Monica Lewinski in the upcoming TV mini-series Impeachment: America Crime Story. Tony winner Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, American Idiot) will direct and four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein will revise Isobelle Lennart’s original book. The iconic score which includes “People,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty” is by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics).

Plans for a new Funny Girl have been in the works for years with Lady Gaga, Lauren Ambrose, Idina Menzel, and Lea Michele all mentioned for the lead at one time or another. Further casting, specific dates and a theater will be announced later.

Beanie Feldstein and Taylor Trensch in Hello, Dolly! Credit: Julieta Cervantes 

Broadway buffs are now guessing who is cast as Feldstein’s leading man, Nicky Arnstein, Brice’s husband. I’m more interested in who’s going to play Fanny’s mother (a role for which Kay Medford earned an Oscar nomination for the movie). A few months ago Rosie O’Donnell hinted she was in the running, but it may be a Broadway veteran with more credits such as Mary Testa (Xanadu, 42nd Street, etc.), Jackie Hoffman (On the Town, Hairspray, The Addams Family) or Julie Halston (Tootsie, You Can’t Take It With You, Twentieth Century). Or maybe all three will be cast as Mrs. Brice and her poker-playing buddies.

Beanie Feldstein said, “The first time I played Fanny Brice was at my third birthday party, in a head-to-toe leopard print outfit my mom made for me. So, it’s safe to say that stepping into this iconic role, on Broadway and not in my family’s backyard, is truly my lifelong dream come true. I am immensely grateful to be able to do so alongside such a remarkable creative team, and cannot wait for audiences to get back in theaters again!”

‘West Side’ Not Re-Opening

The company of Ivo van Hove’s West Side Story Credit: Jan Versweyveld

Scratch one more Broadway production. Ivo van Hove’s radical re-imagining of West Side Story will not be re-opening at the Broadway Theater. This was the sixth Broadway staging of the beloved updating of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and the first not to employ Robbins’ original choreography. It opened on Feb. 20, 2020 and closed on March 11 along with every other show on the Main Stem due to the COVID pandemic. Von Hove, an internationally renowned director and Tony winner for his direction of A View from the Bridge, cut songs, employed huge video screens and color-blind casting which did not sit well with some fans of the show. Producer Kate Horton has taken over from the disgraced Scott Rudin who has “stepped back” from his Broadway producing chores following reports of his toxic workplace behavior. She put out the following statement:

“It is with great regret that we are announcing today that the 2020 Broadway revival of West Side Story will not reopen. This difficult and painful decision comes after we have explored every possible path to a successful run, and unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, reopening is not a practical proposition. We thank all the brilliant, creative artists who brought West Side Story to life at the Broadway Theatre, even for so brief a time, especially the extraordinary acting company, 33 of whom made their Broadway debuts in this production.” The production was nominated for six 2020 Drama Desk Awards and won for Outstanding Projection Design. Administrators for the Tony Awards judged West Side ineligible for its accolades since too many nominators and voters did not get a chance to see it before it closed. A remake of the film version of WSS, directed by Steven Spielberg with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, is scheduled for release this winter.

This leaves only two previously-announced shows with no firm dates for the 2021-22 Broadway season: American Buffalo and Sing Street

Additional News

Nick Jonas

In stage-to-film news, Nick Jonas is headlining a film version of the 2005 Tony winning musical Jersey Boys (which will resume Off-Broadway performances Nov. 15.) There already is a Jersey Boys movie, which was directed by Clint Eastwood and released in 2014. This new filmization will be directed by Des MacAnuff who staged the Broadway show and is planned for streaming services, bypassing theaters. 

In another interesting development, the Broadway League has announced they will not be reporting weekly grosses of productions during the 2021-22 season. The group does plan to do so for 2022-23. League President Charlotte St. Martin had previously stated they would not announce grosses if there were not a full 52-week season.

Pass Over, the first Broadway play of the post-lockdown 2021-22 season, has pushed up its opening date from Sept. 12 to Aug. 22. 

The long overdue Tony Awards will be presented on Sept. 26 at the Winter Garden Theater, home of the upcoming revival of The Music Man. The four hour ceremony will be broadcast on Paramount Plus and on CBS.

2021-22 Broadway/Off-Broadway Season

Aug. 22—Pass Over (August Wilson)

Sept. 2–Hadestown (Walter Kerr); Waitress (Barrymore)

Sept. 3–Blue Man Group (Astor Place)

Sept. 12–Pass Over (August Wilson)

Sept. 14–Chicago (Ambassador); Hamilton (Richard Rodgers); The Lion King (Minskoff); Wicked (Gershwin)

Sept. 17–David Byrne’s American Utopia (St. James)

Sept. 21—Sanctuary City (NYTW/Lortel); Little Shop of Horrors (Westside)

Sept. 22–Come from Away (Gerald Schoenfeld)

Sept. 24–Moulin Rouge (Al Hirschfeld)

Sept. 26–Tony Awards (Winter Garden/CBS/Paramount +)

Sept. 28–Lackawanna Blues (MTC/Samuel Friedman); Aladdin (New Amsterdam)

Oct. 1–Diana premieres on Netflix

Oct. 3–Six (Brooks Atkinson)

Oct. 4–Letters of Suresh (Second Stage/Kiser); Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)

Oct. 5–To Kill a Mockingbird (Shubert)

Oct. 7–Freestyle Love Supreme (Booth)

Oct. 8–Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Lunt-Fontanne)

Oct. 9–Gazillion Bubbles Show (New World Stages)

Oct. 10–Chicken and Biscuits (Circle In the Square)

Oct. 11–Is This A Room (Lyceum)

Oct. 13–Girl from the North Country (Belasco)

Oct. 14–The Lehman Trilogy (Nederlander)

Oct. 14–Fairycakes (previews begin; Greenwich House Theater)

Oct. 16–Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial)

Oct. 17–Dana H. (Lyceum)

Oct. 21–Jagged Little Pill (Broadhurst); The Woman in Black (McKittrick Hotel)

Oct. 22–Phantom of the Opera (Majestic)

Oct. 27–Caroline or Change (Roundabout/Studio 54)

Oct. 31–Thoughts of a Colored Man (Golden)

Nov. 3–Morning Sun (MTC/City Center)

Nov. 5–The Book of Mormon (Eugene O’Neill)

Nov. 12–Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Lyric)

Nov. 15–Jersey Boys (New World Stages)

Nov. 17–Diana (Longacre)

Nov. 18–Trouble in Mind (Roundabout/AA)

Nov. 22–Clyde’s (Second Stage/Hayes)

Dec. 5–Mrs. Doubtfire (Stephen Sondheim)

Dec. 9–Company (Bernard B. Jacobs)

Dec. 11–Dear Evan Hansen (Music Box)

Dec. 13–Flying Over Sunset (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)

Jan. 12, 2022–Skeleton Crew (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)

Jan. 27–Intimate Apparel (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Feb. 1–MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical (Neil Simon)

Feb. 10–The Music Man (Winter Garden)

March 20–Paradise Square (Barrymore)

March 28–Plaza Suite (Hudson)

April 4–Take Me Out (Second Stage/Hayes)

April 7–The Minutes (Studio 54)

April 10–Birthday Candles (Roundabout/AA)

April 14–To My Girls (Second Stage/Kiser)

April 19–How I Learned to Drive (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)

May 17–Golden Shield (MTC/City Center)

Spring 2022 (dates TBA)

Funny Girl (possibly)

Romeo and Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona and Brooklyn (possibly)

No Dates Yet

(New Shows)

American Buffalo (Circle in the Square)

Sing Street

Fall 2022

1776 (Roundabout/AA)

Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)

2022

Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, The Piano Lesson

2022-23

Dancin’

2023 and Beyond

Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby

Future–Our Town; Death of a Salesman; Funny Girl; K-pop the Broadway Musical; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Smash; Some Like It Hot; Soul Train; The Who’s Tommy

2021-22 Broadway Season Breakdown:

New Plays

Birthday Candles

Chicken and Biscuits

Clyde’s

Dana H. (transfer from Off-Broadway)

Is This A Room (transfer from Off-Broadway)

The Lehman Trilogy (transfer from Off-Broadway)

The Minutes

Pass Over

Skeleton Crew (previously presented Off-Broadway in a different production)

Thoughts of a Colored Man

Play Revivals

American Buffalo

How I Learned to Drive

Lackawanna Blues (previously produced Off-Broadway)

Plaza Suite

Take Me Out

Trouble in Mind

New Musicals

Diana

Flying Over Sunset

Mrs. Doubtfire

Paradise Square

Romeo and Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona and Brooklyn (possibly)

Sing Street (transfer from Off-Broadway, possibly)

Six

Musical Revivals

Caroline or Change

Company

Funny Girl (possibly)

Waitress (return engagement)

Specialties

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (return engagement)

David Bryne’s American Utopia (return engagement)

Freestyle Love Supreme (return engagement)


Originally Posted on The David Desk 2 Aug 10, 2021 & August 11, 2021