Lauren Ambrose has definitely been cast in the coveted/terrifying role of renowned vaudeville star Fanny Brice in the upcoming revival of Funny Girl, reports the Los Angeles Times.
In a statement released to the press, Ambrose says, "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. 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!"
The lead in the new production has been challenging to cast as it comes with the formidable imprint of Barbra Streisand, who starred in both the 1964 original and the 1968 film version. Glee star Lea Michele, a noted fan of both the musical and Streisand, had for a while been considered a contender. Ambrose, a trained opera singer who fronts her own pop band, is also a talented actress, having appeared in the gay-themed film Psycho Beach Party. Ambrose currently appears in the Starz series Torchwood: Miracle Day, but she is undoubtedly best known for her acclaimed performance in HBO's groundbreaking series Six Feet Under.
Bartlett Sher, who will direct the Broadway-bound production, directed Ambrose in the 2006 Broadway revival of Awake and Sing! and tells the Times that Fanny Brice was the hardest part he's ever tried to cast.
"It was never a process of finding the next Barbra," Sher says. "No one will be able to replace Barbra." Sher reveals he saw hundreds of people, but he calls Ambrose the "best actress by far who also has a singing voice and who could age through the part."
Sher also reveals that he is looking at music from Funny Girl that was cut from the original production. "Everyone knows that the first act is great and that the second act is a little troubled, so I'm putting some work into that," he says. Sher also plans to explore the memory motifs of the musical as well as "what it takes for a woman to have a life and be a great artist."
Funny Girl will begin previews at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre January 15 and is scheduled to run through February 26.