Broadway gets ‘Funny’ again

Sher tapped to direct tuner revival

Producer Bob Boyett has lined up director Bartlett Sher for a revival of “Funny Girl,” aiming to hit Broadway in spring 2012.

Boyett (“The History Boys,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot”) said he expects the helmer’s frequent creative collaborators — including set designer Michael Yeargan and costume designer Catherine Zuber — to join Sher (“South Pacific”) on the project.

Boyett has had the rights to the musical, famously toplined by Barbra Streisand in its 1964 Broadway preem, for the past several years. The title got a recent pop-culture boost when Lea Michele sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” a tune from the show, on Fox skein “Glee.”

“Funny Girl” has long been seen as a potentially tough revival candidate because of the long shadow cast by Streisand in the lead part, which helped launched her career. Tuner has not had a full Broadway revival since its original run, although a 2002 Actors Fund benefit in Gotham staged the musical with actresses (among them Kristin Chenoweth, Jane Krakowski, Idina Menzel and Bebe Neuwirth) rotating into the role to sing a song.

Musical’s plot is based on real-life performer Fanny Brice, tracing her route to early 20th-century fame with the Ziegfeld Follies and chronicling her romance with a man with a shady gambling past.

Boyett said he anticipates some minor trimming and editing will be done to the book, largely to excise some of its more old-fashioned conventions. “Funny Girl” has music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart.

No casting details for the production have been nailed down. Proposed timeline would see the show bow out of town in fall 2011 ahead of a Broadway stint in spring 2012.

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