BREAKING NEWS: Bobby Cannavale to Star Opposite Lauren Ambrose in FUNNY GIRL
Two-time Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Bobby Cannavale will star as Nick Arnstein opposite Lauren Ambrose, who will star as Fanny Brice, in the first Broadway revival of FUNNY GIRL since the 1964 original production. FUNNY GIRL, which features music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, will be directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher.FUNNY GIRL will play at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from January 15 through February 26, 2012."It's always been my dream to star in a Broadway musical," commented Bobby Cannavale. "This is a terrific role for my musical theatre debut and an exciting challenge for me. I look forward to working with the brilliant Bartlett Sher and the amazingly talented Lauren Ambrose."
"Bobby Cannavale is a great actor and will make a fantastic Nicky Arnstein, opposite Lauren Ambrose," said Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group. "I think they are going to be a dazzling pair and I can't wait to see them on stage together.""I think it is fair to say Bobby is one of the finest artists working on an American stage today, and we are very fortunate to have him joining us on this adventure. Bobby has all of the qualities I feel you want in casting Nick Arnstein," said director Bartlett Sher. "Nicky Arnstein was a gangster and con man and elegant, charming bon vivant all rolled into one. Bobby is wonderful at playing charismatic streetwise characters, he's a magnetic stage actor, equally adept with comedy and drama, plus he'll be a dashing presence in Nick Arnstein's tuxes and ruffled shirts. More than anything, FUNNY GIRL is a love story and it needs a powerful couple at its center. I'm thrilled that he's joining Lauren Ambrose and I think they are going to be wonderful as Nicky and Fanny. "I couldn't be happier with the casting of Bobby Cannavale and Lauren Ambrose," said producer Bob Boyett. "This pairing of superb actors will bring to life an amazing story about a woman who was arguably the world's greatest female entertainer for over three decades." Bobby Cannavale is a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company. He made his Broadway debut in 2007 in Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and last season, starred in Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherf**ker with the Hat, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award. He received rave reviews in the 2005 Off-Broadway revival of Hurlyburly. Cannavale's many television appearances include NBC's "Will & Grace" (Emmy Award), Showtime's "Nurse Jackie," HBO's "Six Feet Under" and the starring role in ABC's "Cupid." His film credits include The Station Agent (Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival; SAG Award nomination), the Sundance Film Festival hit, Win Win (which reunited him with Station Agent writer/director Tom McCarthy), The Other Guys, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, Diminished Capacity, Fast Food Nation, The Night Listener, Haven, Shall We Dance, Happy Endings, Romance & Cigarettes, Gloria, The Bone Collector and Washington Heights. Upcoming film: Roadie. FUNNY GIRL is the road-to-stardom story of legendary entertainer Fanny Brice (Lauren Ambrose), from her start in a Brooklyn music hall to her meteoric rise as a headliner in the Ziegfeld Follies. While her career soars, she falls in love with charming gambler Nick Arnstein (Bobby Cannavale), just as his own lucky streak is running out. FUNNY GIRL is an irresistible backstage drama, a heartbreaking romance and a classic musical comedy filled with unforgettable songs by the team of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill including "Don't Rain on My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," and the iconic hit "People." FUNNY GIRL originally opened on Broadway on March 26, 1964 at the Winter Garden Theatre and played for 1,348 performances. FUNNY GIRL was a hit on national tour and in London and was adapted to the screen for the popular 1968 movie version, but has not played Broadway since the original production closed in 1967. For FUNNY GIRL, Bartlett Sher reunites the design team of his acclaimed Tony Award-winning production of South Pacific: scenic design by Michael Yeargan, costume design by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Scott Lehrer. Music director is Kimberly Grigsby. Choreographer is Christopher Gattelli. FUNNY GIRL will be produced in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theatre by Center Theatre Group, with special permission from Bob Boyett, Sonia Friedman Productions, Jean Doumanian, Stacey Mindich and Tim Levy.BIOGRAPHIESLAUREN AMBROSE (Fanny Brice) received two Emmy Award nominations and two SAG Awards for her role as Claire Fisher in the critically acclaimed television drama, "Six Feet Under". She has previously appeared on Broadway in Awake and Sing! and Exit the King and starred in the Shakespeare in the Park productions of Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet and in Buried Child at the National Theatre in London. Her film roles include In & Out, Can't Hardly Wait, Psycho Beach Party, Swimming, Admissions, Diggers, Starting Out in the Evening, Cold Souls, A Dog Year, The Other Woman, Where the Wild Things Are and the upcoming films, Wanderlust, Think of Me and Grassroots. Her television credits include "Torchwood," "Party of Five," "Loving Leah," "The Return of Jezebel James," "Saving Graces," and "Law & Order." BOBBY CANNAVALE (Nick Arnstein) is a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company. He made his Broadway debut in 2007 in Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and last season, starred in Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherf**ker with the Hat, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award. He received rave reviews in the 2005 Off-Broadway revival of Hurlyburly. Cannavale's many television appearances include NBC's "Will & Grace" (Emmy Award), Showtime's "Nurse Jackie," HBO's "Six Feet Under" and the starring role in ABC's "Cupid." His film credits include The Station Agent (Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival; SAG Award nomination), the Sundance Film Festival hit, Win Win (which reunited him with Station Agent writer/director Tom McCarthy), The Other Guys, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, Diminished Capacity, Fast Food Nation, The Night Listener, Haven, Shall We Dance, Happy Endings, Romance & Cigarettes, Gloria, The Bone Collector and Washington Heights. Upcoming film: Roadie. JULE STYNE (1905-1994) (Music) made Broadway sing for 50 years as the composer of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Peter Pan; Bells Are Ringing; Funny Girl; Hallelujah, Baby!; and Gypsy. He developed his feel for popular music working with the jazz bands of 1920's Chicago and as vocal coach to such Hollywood stars as Shirley Temple and Alice Faye. With lyricist Sammy Cahn, he created a string of hit songs including "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and the Oscar-winning "Three Coins in the Fountain." His theatre collaborations with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Merrill, Leo Robin and E.Y. Harburg resulted in such Broadway showstoppers as "The Party's Over," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "People" and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Jule Styne was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981 and became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1990. BOB MERRILL (1921-1998) (Lyrics) wrote music and lyrics for the Broadway musicals New Girl in Town, Take Me Along, Carnival, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Henry, Sweet Henry, and lyrics for Funny Girl, Prettybelle and Sugar. Merrill's screenwriting credits include Mahogany, W.C. Fields and Me and the television movies "Portrait of a Showgirl" and "The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer". Among Merrill's television credits were two holiday specials, the classic "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" and "The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood," written specifically for Liza Minnelli. Merrill began his songwriting career writing tunes for Dorothy Shay. One of his first major hits was the 1950 novelty song "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake". He also co-wrote the 1950 Moon Mullican country song "You Don't Have To Be a Baby To Cry". His three most famous songs were "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?", a hit for Patti Page, "Mambo Italiano" recorded by Rosemary Clooney, and "The Kid's Last Fight" recorded by Frankie Laine. ISOBEL LENNART (1915-1971) (Book) wrote the original book for Funny Girl and also the screenplay for the 1968 screen version, for which she received the Screen Writer's Annual Award. Born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn, she had a particular affinity to the subject matter. Her other film credits include The Sundowners (Limelight Award, Academy nomination), Love Me or Leave Me (Academy nomination), The Affairs of Martha, A Stranger in Town, Anchors Aweigh, A Life of Her Own, Merry Andrew, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Two for the Seesaw, Latin Lovers, Lost Angel and It Happened in Brooklyn. In 1966, she received the Laurel Award for Achievement in screenwriting.BARTLETT SHER (Director) LCT: Resident director; Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Tony nomination), South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Awake and Sing! (Tony nomination), The Light in the Piazza (Tony nomination). Artistic director of Seattle's Intiman Theatre (2000-2010), credits there include the world premieres of Prayer for My Enemy and Singing Forest by Craig Lucas (both also Long Wharf Theatre) and Nickel and Dimed; plays by Chekhov, Wilder, Shakespeare, Goldoni and Tony Kushner. Opera: The Barber of Seville, The Tales of Hoffman, Le Comte Ory (Metropolitan Opera), Roméo et Juliette (Salzburg Festival), Mourning Becomes Electra (Seattle Opera and New York City Opera). New York: Prayer for My Enemy (Playwrights); Cymbeline (2001 Callaway Award for Best Director; first American Shakespeare at the Royal Shakespeare Company), Waste (2000 Best Play Obie), Don Juan (all TFANA). He is a member of the TCG board.