Actress will star in Broadway revival

Lauren Ambrose has booked the title role in the upcoming Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.”

Casting has been a matter of much speculation among legiters since the production was announced last year. Lead role of Fanny Brice, the real-life Ziegfeld Follies headliner whose career and romantic life is chronicled in the tuner, has become nearly synonymous with Barbra Streisand, who created the role on Broadway in 1964 and toplined the film version in 1968. More recently, Lea Michele sang one of the show’s signature tunes, “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” on Fox skein “Glee” and later during the 2010 Tony Awards.

For “Funny Girl,” Ambrose (“Six Feet Under,” “Torchwood”) reteams with helmer Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”), who directed her in the 2006 Broadway staging of “Awake and Sing!” She also appeared on the Main Stem in “Exit the King” in 2009 as well as in Shakespeare in the Park productions of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet,” plus a National Theater production of “Buried Child” in London.

Rumblings of Ambrose’s potential casting in “Funny Girl” had emerged over the last few weeks. She’s never had a high-profile singing gig before, but the thesp has been classically trained in opera, according to the tuner’s producers.

Design team for the revival includes a number of Sher’s collaborators on Lincoln Center Theater’s hit incarnation of “South Pacific”: Michael Yeargan (sets), Catherine Zuber (lights), Donald Holder (lights), Scott Lehrer (sound) and Christopher Gattelli (choreography).

Production will preem in L.A. at Center Theater Group’s Ahmanson Theater, where the show runs Jan. 15-Feb. 26 ahead of a targeted spring berth on Broadway. Stop at the Ahmanson is produced by CTG with special permission from the show’s commercial producers, a group that includes Bob Boyett, Sonia Friedman Prods., Jean Doumanian, Stacey Mindich and Tim Levy.

With tunes by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, “Funny Girl” has not played Broadway since its initial three-year run in the ’60s.

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