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Who Will Star in the Revival?

Who Will Star in the Revival?


With her high-voltage performances of songs from Funny Girl at numerous events during the past year, Glee's Lea Michele seemed to be giving the world's most public audition to take on Barbra Streisand's legend-making role of Fanny Brice in the upcoming revival of the 1964 musical, but it now appears another actress is in talks for the part.

Lauren Ambrose, endeared to television viewers for playing disaffected teen Claire Fisher on HBO's lamented Six Feet Under, is the choice of the revival's producers, reports E! Online's Marc Malkin.

Ambrose is currently appearing in the series Torchwood: Miracle Day, and as Malkin points out, she is also a trained opera singer and "worked with the revival's director, Bartlett Sher, when she made her Broadway debut five years ago in his revival of Clifford Odets's 1935 hit drama, Awake and Sing!" Ambrose also fronts a band called Lauren Ambrose and the Leisure Class.

The 1964 musical launched Streisand, already a top-selling recording artist and popular guest on television variety programs, into superstardom, and her performance as Brice remains one of the most legendary in Broadway history. Streisand received a Tony Award nomination (she lost to Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!), but would win the Academy Award as Best Actress (in a tie with Katharine Hepburn) when she repeated the role in the 1968 film.

Michele must be credited with introducing the classic musical to a younger audience. Besides performing "Don't Rain on My Parade" on her series and at the 2010 Tony Awards, the Glee star has practically made Funny Girl awareness into a side career. Michele performed "My Man," one of Brice's signature songs, when Streisand was honored at MusicCares last February. In May 2010, Michele and Ryan Murphy introduced a screening of the Streisand film in front of an audience at Los Angeles's Egyptian Theatre.

Funny Girl will have a pre-Broadway run at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre from January 15 to February 26, 2012.

Watch Ambrose sing "My Man" below.

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Jeremy Kinser