Hello, Gawjus!: Funny Girl brings the audience to its toe-tapping feet

Katerina McCrimmon as Fanny Brice. Photo by Evan Zimmerman

This. Is. Sheer. Perfection. Seldom do you hear a critic say these words, but it was hard to find fault with the great production value of this show. This bittersweet comedy is the story of the indomitable Fanny Brice, a girl from the Lower East Side of NYC who dreamed of a life in theater. Everyone told her she’d never be a star, but then something funny happened—she became a beloved leading performer. Theater life isn’t all glamorous, however. Brice shares a stormy marriage with entrepreneur Nicky Arnstein, a serious gambler, during the WWI era. The second she opens her mouth, you discern leading lady Katerina McCrimmon has an angelic, melodic voice with a pure, much larger sound than her tiny frame. She’s got a tone you could listen to all day, and her comedic delivery is impeccable. Perhaps her story mimics Fanny’s in some ways, as she is blowing audiences away with her performance. She owns the stage every moment she’s on it. That’s immensely impressive considering this was McCrimmon’s first major production. Wow. Just, wow. Perhaps this one should’ve been billed A Star is Born!


Every cast member exhibits skill with euphonious voices. You’ll surely recognize one of the most iconic scores of all time by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. Based on the original classic by Isobel Lennart, Funny Girl has been called a love letter to the theatre, having the whole shebang! The sensational Broadway revival dazzles with one of the most celebrated musical scores of all time, including the classic songs, “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star,” and “People.” Stephen Mark Lukas portrays Arnstein with the macho aura of a man with a secret. His voice is also powerful and impressive. Melissa Manchester, who is celebrating 50 versatile years in entertainment, portrays Mrs. Brice, Fanny’s mother. If only she had a singing part that showcased her natural ability for which she’s so famous. While her acting and comedic timing were just fine, we couldn’t help but wish we could hear her belt out a tune or two. Alas, the smallish part did not allow for this. 

Featuring sensational tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, spot-on choreography by Ellenore Scott, and direction from Michael Mayer, you’ll surely appreciate the dynamic, spirited dancing in this production. Let’s face it, tap dancing at this point feels like a bit of nostalgia from the days of old. Seldom do we see this type of choreography anymore. Enter Izaiah Montague Harris, who could tap his way into anyone’s heart. The cheers raised the roof each time he performed his magic!Music Director Elaine Davidson provided the flawless, seemingly nonstop melodies throughout. Clever lighting design by Kevin Adams is also impressive. The lights constantly change to keep pace with every new thought, memory and movement. Scenic design by David Zinn gives us the NYC brick-face skyscape typical of that timeframe, with lots of beautiful furniture from that era. Stunning costumes by Susan Hilferty keep you staring in awe. The dancer’s costumes are especially dazzling and spectacular. It’s a must-see sensation!