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Lauren Ambrose to play entertainer Fanny Brice in 'Funny Girl' revival


UPI News Service, 08/03/2011 

Lauren Ambrose is to play iconic entertainer Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl," the first Broadway production of the musical since it originally opened in 1964.

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Featuring music by Jule Styne, with lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, the production will be directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, the revival's producers announced Wednesday.

The show will play at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from Jan. 15 through Feb. 26, prior to opening on Broadway next spring.

"Let's face it, there is obviously more than a lot to live up to playing Fanny Brice, but I am humbled and thrilled by the opportunity to be a part of this revival," Ambrose said in a statement. "The character is complex, the music beautiful and challenging. I can't wait to get into that rehearsal room with the team Bart is assembling -- wish we could start tomorrow!"

"It's important that people not see this casting process as trying to find the next Barbra Streisand. She is one of a kind," added Sher. "Instead, I really needed someone with whom I could explore the original musical and come to terms with Fanny Brice for a new era. I understand how difficult this part is to fill as well as the characteristics required to explore this in a new way. The world of burlesque, vaudeville and the 'Follies' is a unique American invention and how Fanny Brice came up in that world is a wonderful story, but this show is also about the sacrifices of being an artist and the high cost that women in particular suffer when they find great success and the difficult choices that come with accomplishment. Lauren Ambrose has enormous accomplishments as an actor, especially a truthfulness in her acting that leads to great comedy, as well as a wonderful, rich voice that is fully trained and can genuinely soar."

Ambrose is a classically trained opera singer known for her work in the plays "Romeo & Juliet" and "Awake and Sing!," as well as on the TV drama "Six Feet Under."


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