Jane Lynch is joining Beanie Feldstein in the first Broadway revival of the 1964 Barbra Streisand-led musical Funny Girl.
The five-time Emmy winner will star as Mrs. Rosie Brice — the adept, supportive and perceptive mother to Feldstein’s Fanny, who single-handedly supports rising star Fanny and her siblings through a real estate business after separating from her alcoholic husband.
“The first music I ever learned in my life was from Funny Girl. My mother was a huge fan of musicals and especially this one — we bonded on this musical,” Lynch tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I knew every breath of the Broadway cast album before I was like 10 years old. I sang it all over the house. We were big fans of it.”
Also joining the cast are Tony Award nominee and Les Misérables star Ramin Karimloo, who will star opposite Feldstein as professional gambler Nick Arnstein, and A Soldier’s Play actor Jared Grimes, who will play Eddie Ryan, a dancer and friend to Fanny.
Directed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), the new production, and first Broadway revival in 58 years of the musical that helped make Barbra Streisand a household name, will run at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre. Performances begin Saturday, March 26, 2022, before the show officially opens on Sunday, April 24, 2022. Whether it’s coincidental or by design, that’s the date of Streisand’s 80th birthday.
The show comes nearly a decade after the Glee and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actor made her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in the 2013 Broadway revival of Annie.
“When I was doing Annie on Broadway, it just blew my heart and my mind open. I just loved it,” Lynch says. “I love being back onstage and I love being a part of that community. It’s such a vibrant, wonderful, long-standing institution.”
She will also step into the shoes of Mrs. Brice amid Broadway’s reopening season, an endeavor that was, while not decades, a pretty lengthy 18 months in the making.
“I live in L.A. but I’ve been in New York several times since COVID hit and I missed it. I missed going to a play,” Lynch says. “It’s really wonderful to see people with their masks on and they’re vaccinated coming back into the theaters.”
Lynch tells THR that she got the role thanks to her agent, who was working on it behind the scenes and didn’t tell her until “it was time to talk about doing it,” something she calls “brilliant.” Once she got the role, she met with Mayer and producers, where she says they sang and she was made to feel welcome.
“I love Michael Mayer. We had a nice little meeting and he was just wonderful and welcoming, so I’m really looking forward to this,” Lynch says.
The Good Fight actor says she “won’t overthink anything” when it comes to taking on the memorable character but that the simple message of the confident and driven single mother and business mogul — in a time when there was “a great sense of shame if you didn’t have a two-parent home” — remains true decades later.
“In the course of the musical, [Fanny Brice] doesn’t think she’s pretty, but there is absolutely not one thought in her head that stops her from going for what she wants to do, which is to be the greatest star,” Lynch says. “That’s the kind of confidence I think she was born with, but also I think that was nurtured by her mother.”
Funny Girl charts the rise of real-life comedian and actress Fanny Brice and her relationship with professional gambler Nick Arnstein. Starring Streisand 13 years after Brice’s death, the original production received eight Tony Award nominations, including best musical, before being adapted in 1968 for the big screen with Streisand winning a best actress Oscar for the role.
“I think one of the best Broadway musicals that went to the movies is Funny Girl,” says Lynch, who helped give an entire generation a musical education with her onscreen role in Glee. “I watched it as soon as I heard they were interested in me doing it — I watched it again for the first time in maybe 25 or 30 years, and it just stands up.”
Produced by Sonia Friedman, Scott Landis and David Babani, the upcoming production will feature choreography from Ellenore Scott, tap choreography from Ayodele Casel and scenic design by David Zinn.
The revival’s music is by Tony, Grammy and Oscar-winner Jule Styne, with lyrics from Tony nominee and Grammy winner Bob Merrill. The original book by Tony nominee Isobel Lennart is being revised by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein for the new production.
Funny Girl tickets go on sale beginning Friday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m. ET, with an exclusive fan presale beginning at 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 6, for those who sign up for the Funny Girl email list at FunnyGirlOnBroadway.com. Those who subscribe before the public on-sale will also be entered to win a pair of tickets to opening night.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.