Wednesday, March 26, 2014

50 years ago: Funny Girl opened on Broadway

Funny Girl

Jule Styne (music), Bob Merrill & Walter Scharf (lyrics)

The Musical

Opened on Broadway: March 26, 1964

Number of Performances: 1348

Opened at London’s West End: April 13, 1966

Number of Performances: ?

Movie Release: September 19, 1968

Cast Album

Charted: May 2, 1964

Peak: 2 US, 19 UK

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: show tunes


Charted: September 28, 1968

Peak: 12 US

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Genre: show tunes

Songs on Cast Album:

  1. Overture
  2. If a Girl Isn’t Pretty
  3. I’m the Greatest Star
  4. Cornet Man
  5. Who Taught Her Everything?
  6. His Love Makes Me Beautiful
  7. I Want to Be Seen with You Tonight
  8. Henry Street
  9. People
  10. You Are Woman
  11. Don’t Rain on My Parade
  12. Sadie, Sadie
  13. Find Yourself a Man
  14. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat
  15. Who Are You Now?
  16. The Music That Makes Me Dance
  17. Don’t Rain on My Parade (Reprise)

Songs on Soundtrack:
  1. Overture
  2. I’m the Greatest Star
  3. Roller Skate Rag
  4. I’d Rather Be Blue Over You Than Happy with Somebody Else
  5. His Love Makes Me Beautiful
  6. People
  7. You Are Woman, I Am Man
  8. Don’t Rain on My Parade
  9. Sadie, Sadie
  10. The Swan
  11. Funny Girl
  12. My Man
  13. Finale

Singles/Hit Songs:

These are songs from this musical which became hits:

  • “People” – Barbra Streisand (#5, 1964)
  • ”Funny Girl” – Barbra Streisand (#44, 1964)
  • ”Don’t Rain on My Parade” – Glee Cast (#53, 2009)


4.702 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show and Cast Album:

“This recording of the Fanny Brice biomusical has that wonderful collection of Jule Styne-Bob Merrill songs; vivid performances by Sydney Chaplin as Nick Arnstein, Kay Medford as Fanny’s mother, Danny Meehan as her showbiz pal Eddie Ryan, and Jean Stapleton as a family friend; a killer overture, more than good enough to rival Gypsy’s; Ralph Burns’ opulent orchestrations; and Milton Rosenstock’s excellent musical direction/conducting.” CA

“But what matters most is Barbra Streisand, who deservedly shot to super-stardom playing Brice. She’s never been fresher or more appealing than she is here in I’m the Greatest Star, Cornet Man, Who Are You Now?, Don’t Rain on My Parade, “The Music That Makes Me Dance,” and the definitive rendition of People. Streisand uses her sprawling belt, liberally doused with her natural tenacity and eccentricity, to make these songs sound like no one else should even think about singing them for fear of paling in comparison. Even so, her ambitious approach to the songs is always held in check by a complete commitment to character. More than 50 years after this cast album was made, Streisand’s performance still represents the best of what Broadway can be, and propels the recording from ‘excellent’ to ‘essential.’” CA

About the Movie and Soundtrack:

Streisand reprised her role as Fanny Brice for the movie and won an Academy Award for her performance. However,“the heartfelt emotions she summons on the original Broadway cast recording eminently preferable to the affected, manufactured emoting she does on the film soundtrack.” CA “Strictly in terms of vocal quality, Streisand probably sounds better on the soundtrack than on the Broadway album, but the mile-thick shell of artifice is very off-putting” CA as “Streisand’s bottomless self-indulgence is given full rein here.” CA

“The film is notable for the almost complete absence of any singing by other characters; we hear only little bits from Kay Medford, back as Fanny’s mom, and Omar Sharif as Nicky Arnstein.” CA “There are drastic changes to the tune stack, with some of Styne and Merrill’s best work cut. Replacements include two old songs associated with Brice, My Man and I’d Rather Be Blue; and some new numbers written by Styne and Merrill, including the lame Roller Skate Rag and The Swan, plus a superfluous title song that has no heart in it.” CA

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 12/24/2021.

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