As a 40-something who went into the performance blind—no knowledge of the songs, the themes, or the storyline, Hennepin Theater Trust’s “Funny Girl” at the Orpheum was a wild ride.
Set in the 1920’s, the musical tells the story of Fanny Brice’s rise to fame. A young, aspiring performer, Fanny longs to break into show business, and despite her “unconventional” looks, she makes it big with her signature blend of humor, heart, and an incredible set of vocal chords. Along her journey to stardom, she falls in love with Nick Arnstein, a charming but ultimately unreliable gambler. Throughout the musical, Fanny grapples with balancing her career and love life. She remains deeply in love with Nick, even as his problems become more apparent. The musical ends with Fanny affirming her strength and independence, choosing to forge ahead in her career alone, showing resilience and determination.
“Funny Girl” is celebrated for its emotional depth, memorable music, and the portrayal of a strong female protagonist. I was a little shocked at the storyline, the dated and problematic elements, particularly in regard to the treatment of gender roles. Oof… misogyony… hello there.
However, it didn’t take much to fall in love with the songs, the characters, the sets and the costumes. One summary called it a “love letter to theater” and I couldn’t state it better. While the storyline was conversation-provoking, the show-stopping musical numbers, the production design, the costume changes (love those sequined pants!), and the tap dancing! Oh the tap dancing.
The star of the show, without a doubt, was lead actress Katerina McCrimmon as Fanny Brice. Her performance was both powerful and poignant, capturing the essence of Brice’s indomitable spirit and vulnerability. Her solos rendered goosebumps showcasing not only her vocal prowess but also her ability to convey deep emotion. That lady can sing!
‘Funny Girl’ is a must-see production. Gear up for the conversations you can have and sit back and enjoy the glitz, glimmer, and that tap dancing!
“Funny Girl” is at The Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through January 21, 2024.
– $40 CASH ONLY
– 2 ticket limit per valid Student/Educator ID
– Starts 2 hours prior to show in person at the Orpheum Theatre
– Line forms outside the theatre
Lucky Seat drawing for $49 tickets. (Note: this drawing has already occurred!) More information visit https://LuckySeat.com
Review by Tracy Whitney; photo by Matthew Murphy