Back in 1964, Barbra Streisand became a star in a stunning, Tony-winning turn as Fanny Brice in the Broadway musical “Funny Girl.” Now, Ray Stark, who was Brice’s son-in-law and produced the original, will team with veteran Broadway producer Emanuel Azenberg to stage a revival in a major Off Broadway production, sources said. They’ve yet to set a date, because it’s contingent upon holding a nationwide search for the new Brice under casting director Jay Binder.
It’s the second major play Azenberg will be producing outside of Broadway. He dropped a bombshell in the fall when he announced he would present Neil Simon’s new play, “London Suite,” Off Broadway.
“Funny Girl” will be partially revised, lending more emphasis to the comic aspects of the lead role, which with Streisand became a vocal tour de force. The revival also will incorporate story elements from the 1968 William Wyler-directed movie, which marked Streisand’s Oscar-winning movie debut as Brice, the ordinary-looking New Yorker whose ambition made her a Broadway star but cost her a marriage.
It’s not the first teaming for Stark and Azenberg, who are adapting Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” for a TV series, with negotiations currently under way with the networks. They’re also planning to do a feature version of Simon’s legit “London Suite.”