Funny Girl Reviews
The New York Times- Somewhat Recommended
"...To rip the bandage off quickly: Feldstein is not stupendous. She's good. She's funny enough in places, and immensely likable always, as was already evident from her performances in the movies "Booksmart" and "Lady Bird" and, on Broadway, in "Hello, Dolly!" You root for her to raise the roof, but she only bumps against it a little. Her voice, though solid and sweet and clear, is not well suited to the music, and you feel her working as hard as she can to power through the gap. But working hard at what should be naturally extraordinary is not in Fanny's DNA."
NY Daily News- Recommended
"...That palpable affection and identification, which is often wrongly discounted when it comes to the economic prospects of Broadway musicals, truly was something to experience. And it's indicative, I think, of a bright future for this Michael Mayer revival. It won't need great reviews. It has Beanie and her fans. And thanks to the wily hand of Harvey Fierstein, the book has been cleverly retrofitted. Certainly, it doesn't creak like the last time I saw this musical with original book by Isobel Lennart, lyrics by Bob Merrill and music by the incomparable Jule Styne."
Hollywood Reporter- Somewhat Recommended
"...The revival's shortcomings by no means rest entirely on Feldstein's shoulders. Neither director Michael Mayer nor script doctor Harvey Fierstein has solved the problems of the creaky book, which can't build Fanny's longing for offstage romantic fulfillment to match her professional success - and her eventual showbiz survivor resilience - into a robust through line. The show feels patchy and episodic and it needs a knockout, roof-raising lead to paper over the cracks."
Vulture- Somewhat Recommended
"...Though, you know, I don't think it's inevitable that a strained, everyday voice would necessarily ruin the calculation at the heart of the musical. Funny Girl is itself preoccupied with celebrity, and the mechanisms of fan-love are an un-extractible part of the experience. Why was Brice such an immense star? Watching clips of her work, it seems a mystery; some alchemy must have taken place, and we in the future are missing the chemical ingredients. I can picture a version of Funny Girl that makes that case - that an odd lady with an odd voice nevertheless had it. But Feldstein doesn't give us that, either. Vocal issues, you can work around. But presence? That one, you gotta have."
New York Theater- Somewhat Recommended
"...Yet Feldstein's performance is only occasionally compelling. For all the lovely tone to her voice (within a certain range), there is little distinctive about her song delivery, especially in the ballads. And while she's a game actress, there was nothing about her timing or physical clowning that shouted out: Comic genius. There are only so many geniuses in the world, and Feldstein may have the opportunity during this open run to improve. This doesn't mean attaining perfection. What we can hope for is something imperfect, but singular, the earmark of some of our most beloved stars."
Variety- Not Recommended
"...The problem with this uninspired revival of "Funny Girl" - which opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Sunday, marking the show's Broadway return after nearly 60 years - is not simply the singular ghost of she who shall not be named. (Alright: It's Barbra Streisand.) Rather, the issue here is the production's inability to live up to its star-making potential that would have made us once again forgive the simplistic, sentimental and sanitized original book credited to Isobel Lennart."
New York Post- Not Recommended
"...Ticket-buyers are walking in forgivingly, with an understanding that we don't expect any Broadway performer to match up to one of the greatest American vocalists of all time. Feldstein, however, barely muddles through the beloved songs. The best performed numbers ("Sadie, Sadie") are merely capable; the worst ("People") are awkward letdowns. In the spoken scenes, the jokes are pushed harder than a broken-down Hummer on a highway and few of them earn more than polite giggles. Feldstein is, I'm sorry to say, not giving a Broadway-caliber performance."
Entertainment Weekly- Somewhat Recommended
"...Who is the pip with pizazz? Who is all ginger and jazz? For the vast majority of people (who love people) there will only ever be one true Funny Girl on stage and screen, and her name is Streisand. That towering vibrato is the hill Beanie Feldstein has to climb in the revival currently mounted at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway, and the pizazz, accordingly, flies fast and loose. Her Fanny Brice lands at a lower altitude, though: both funny and girlish but never really big."
amNY- Not Recommended
"...Without an extraordinary lead performance, "Funny Girl" doesn't work - which is unfortunately the case here. Vocally, Feldstein is strained and nasal and unable to handle power solos like "I'm the Greatest Star," "People," "Don't Rain on My Parade," and "The Music That Makes Me Dance." She also overplays the comedy and resorts to mugging. (I question how Feldstein could even be cast as Fanny in a high school or theater camp production.)"
Washington Post- Somewhat Recommended
"...The question has been hanging over Broadway for weeks, as previews got underway of "Funny Girl," the musical that, for 58 years, has been thought of as the exclusive property of Barbra Streisand. And for good reason: Streisand's Fanny Brice, unveiled onstage in 1964 and immortalized in an Oscar-winning turn on film four years later, may be the most captivating musical-theater portrayal ever recorded."
Time Out New York- Somewhat Recommended
"...The rain clouds gather early over the misplaced-pride parade that is the Broadway revival of Funny Girl. The audience is primed for a boffo old-fashioned musical comedy, which this production promises. Even before the curtain-which itself depicts a curtain!-goes up, the audience claps at the overture's most famous songs; when Beanie Feldstein makes her first appearance as Ziegfeld Follies comedian Fanny Brice, stares into an invisible mirror and delivers her famous opening self-affirmation ("Hello, gorgeous!"), the crowd goes wild. But then she starts to sing."
The Wrap- Recommended
"...Feldstein doesn't possess Streisand's voice, but what she does offer is a sweet, piping sound that encompasses the score's range from E below middle C to a high F. Equally important, she respects that 1964 score and doesn't modernize it with a lot of melismatic distortions. After her enchanting Broadway debut playing Minnie Fay in the Bette Midler "Hello, Dolly!," Feldstein is a quirky, offbeat choice to play Fanny Brice. But then, Streisand was also a quirky, offbeat choice back in 1964. Carol Burnett and Anne Bancroft were the more conventional choices back then, and Brice's daughter, Fran Arnstein Stark, wanted to see Mary Martin cast in the title role."
Los Angeles Times- Somewhat Recommended
"...Feldstein's Fanny is at her best when most vulnerably herself. "You think beautiful girls are gonna stay in style forever?" she says to one of her early naysayers. "I should say not! Any minute now, they'll be out! Finished! And then it'll be my turn!""
TheaterMania- Somewhat Recommended
"...Of course, Funny Girl is one of the few shows where a middling lead performance dents the plot. Feldstein entertains with her wide-eyed, goofy antics, mugging to the audience at every turn and hitting all the "oys" in her Yiddishisms with extra gusto in her wandering Brooklyn accent. It's broad and campy, and often succeeds in landing the laugh. Her shtick, however, feels more grasping than authentically character driven."
TheaterScene.net- Somewhat Recommended
"...Beanie Feldstein's clunky rendition of "I'm the Greatest Star" crystalizes the absurdist dimension of this off-kilter first Broadway revival of the 1964 musical, Funny Girl. With her nasal, often muffled singing, oddly emphatic line readings and smug mugging, in no way does she suggest a great star, yet this nearly three-hour show is centered around her. It instantly deflates with her wan introductory "Hello, gorgeous." She does exhibit idiosyncratic pluck and stamina throughout."
NY Theatre Guide- Recommended
"...Theatregoers seeking thrills at the revival of Funny Girl aren't kept waiting. The musical about the real-life comedian Fanny Brice, back on Broadway for the first time since its 1964 premiere, instantly delivers delights in its exhilarating overture. Melodies glide from one instrumental earworm to the next: the rousing "I'm the Greatest Star" to the tender "People" to the defiantly upbeat "Don't Rain On My Parade.""
Theater Pizzazz- Recommended
"...The show offers two big Ziegfeld Follies-style farcical routines with the ensemble, neither hysterical enough. In "His Love Makes Me Beautiful," Fanny wields a bride's pregnant belly like a battering ram, and in "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat" she clowns as a Jewish military recruit with bagels on her belt instead of grenades. But we need more, and droller, Briceian shtick if we're to appreciate why the show is called Funny Girl, not Singing Girl."
Stage and Cinema- Recommended
"...So to mount a revival of Funny Girl - which is really a show about Fanny Brice as interpreted by Barbra Streisand who was really just playing Barbra Streisand - is quite a daunting prospect. Particularly for the actress charged with playing Fanny Brice in the shade of Ms. Streisand's very long, very iconic shadow. The good news is the creative and producing teams behind the current Broadway revival of Funny Girl, now running at the August Wilson Theater, have fought through undaunted and delivered a visually striking, often funny, sometimes moving period piece with deeper emotional layers and a few surprises thrown in. And the whole thing rests on the often funny, sometimes moving, though not always solid shoulders of Ms. Beanie Feldstein, the new Brice in town."
StageZine- Somewhat Recommended
"...There is a reason why Funny Girl hasnít been revived since its opening in 1964 and her name is Barbra Streisand. Everything about the show was tailor made for Ms. Streisandís talents, phenomenal voice range and the ability to electrify an audience. By the time she finished her first number in Act I, ďIím the Greatest Star,Ē she knew it, we believed it, and it became her anthem."
Daily Beast- Somewhat Recommended
"...The show feels like a series of rigorously executed set-pieces-with this person going there and that person going here, deep breaths, are we all standing in our places? Great!-rather than flowing story. Its best scenes showcase Feldstein and Karimloo's lively combined comic energy, most visible in a nervous energy-filled dinner scene when he somehow flips from floor to sofa, and when they beautifully sing "You Are Woman, I Am Man" (which is wittily redirected to give Fanny power)."
The Observer- Highly Recommended
"...It's hard to describe what Beanie Feldstein does exactly. Words like "endearing" come to mind immediately, but there's more. Working carefully to make Fanny Brice her own original creation, she is simply enchanting."
Broadway News- Recommended
"..."Funny Girl" is still more of a star vehicle than it is timeless or transporting. Its notions about women and men betray the rust of half a century, particularly its premise (she's funny, but couldn't possibly be pretty without fitting in). There are constraints to any material so snugly tied to gendered conventions, and their narrow conceit of how happily ever after is supposed to look. But with Feldstein firmly steering the ship, "Funny Girl" is a breezy and joyful ride."
Theatrely- Highly Recommended
"...Funny Girl is a brilliant work, and with Feldstein, radiates pure theatrical joy. It's a revelation for the stage that is certainly not to be missed. Dare I say one of the most enjoyable revivals of the last decade? Go see what all the People are raving about for yourself."
New York Stage Review- Recommended
"...Paging all musical comedy fans. Have I got news for you! It turns out that after all the running off at the mouth about the much-publicized Funny Girl revival, Barbra Streisand isn't the only one who can shake up a Broadway auditorium playing Fanny Brice. Beanie Feldstein also has the abundant charisma and the chutzpah."