Review Roundup: Christina Bianco Earns Raves For FUNNY GIRL In Paris
Christina Bianco currently stars in Funny Girl in Paris, which is currently in performances at Théâtre Marigny in Paris.
In the Ziegfeld Follies, in Hollywood films, and on the radio, Fanny Brice was one of the most celebrated entertainers of her time. With humor, talent, and chutzpah, young Fanny, an awkward Jewish girl who "isn't pretty," defies the odds and becomes one of the greatest stars of her generation.
Fanny's rise to super-stardom and her turbulent romance with gambler Nick Arnstein are explored through Bob Merrill and Jule Styne's unforgettable score, which includes "People," "Don't Rain On My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," and "You Are Woman, I Am Man."
Christina Bianco captured international acclaim as a YouTube sensation with her "diva" impression videos, gaining over 25 million views. Dubbed "the girl of a thousand voices," Christina has performed on major television programs such as The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Today Show, in the US, and The Paul O'Grady Show and This Morning, in the UK. A Two-Time Drama Desk Award nominee, Christina made her West End debut starring in The Menier Chocolate Factory's hailed production of Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.
New York credits include The Marvelous Wonderettes, the one-woman, multi-character comedy, Application Pending (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Newsical the Musical, and Forbidden Broadway; Goes To Rehab (Drama Desk Award Nomination). Other favorite credits include, Maureen in Rent (Weston Playhouse), The Narrator in Joseph And The Amazing... (Drury Lane Theatre) and Dora in the long-running National Tour of Dora The Explorer Live!
As a concert artist, Christina has performed her critically acclaimed solo shows to sold out crowds across the U.S. In the UK, she's enjoyed extended runs headlining at London's Hippodrome, Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room, The Charing Cross Theatre, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a UK solo tour titled, Me Myself And Everyone Else. She's recently made her concert debuts in Switzerland, Spain, South Africa and in Australia, at The Sydney Opera House. Television credits include the POP TV sitcom Impress Me, Hallmark's, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, VH1's I Love The 2000's, Watch What Happens Live and voice work for RuPaul's Drag Race.
Christina frequently performs with major US and Canadian symphonies. She recently debuted her solo symphony show, The Woman Of A Thousand Voices, under the direction of Maestro Jack Everly. Christina's live album Life Of The Party was released in October of 2018.
For tickets and more info visit https://www.theatremarigny.fr/spectacle/funny-girl-the-broadway-musical/
Photo by Julien Benhamou
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Laura Cappelle, New York Times: Bianco is arguably much too lovely to be the subject of one of the musical's early (and most dated) songs, "If a Girl Isn't Pretty." But she embodies the plucky energy of the character, inspired by the real-life entertainer Fanny Brice, an unconventional comedian who found success in the 1930s and 1940s. While Bianco can be seen mimicking Streisand on her YouTube channel, in Paris she is her own performer, warm and effervescent, with a clear, full-bodied voice. Her first rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade," at the end of Act I, is pure exhilaration made song, down to her little hop of excitement as she belts out, "Get ready for me, love, 'cause I'm a comer!"
Mark Ludmon, British Theatre: Performed in English with French surtitles, the show transports the magic of Broadway to the stylishly refurbished 19th-century Théâtre Marigny near the Champs-Elysées in the centre of Paris. With a book by Isobel Lennart, it tells the story of real-life entertainer Fanny Brice whose skill at comedy and unflagging perseverance made her a Broadway star in the first decades of the 20th century. It focuses on the start of her career in the legendary New York-based Ziegfeld Follies shows (inspired by the Folies Bergère cabaret musical hall in Paris) where she was an instant hit despite not conforming to the era's conventional standards of beauty. With her own pitch-perfect comic and vocal abilities, Bianco has the star quality to explain Fanny's stellar appeal. From raising laughs one minute, she shifts the tone to bring out all the emotional power and meaning of hit songs "People" and "Don't Rain On My Parade" as well as less familiar ones such as "The Music That Makes Me Dance" - a show-stopping, intimate contrast to the overall spectacle of the production.
Patrick Honore, BroadwayWorld: But this is of trivial importance, since Mear, now director and choreographer, has found in the person of Christina Bianco, best known for her viral diva impersonations on YouTube, a leading lady entirely worthy of Streisand, fitting into the part of Fanny like a glove and doing justice vocally and emotionally to the show's biggest songs in a way no one else has done since Barbra. An accomplished actrice, as well as singer and dancer, Christina really makes the part her own (I guess this gorgeous woman's short size is supposed to fulfill the ugly duckling criterion of the character), and she nails every song, notably the haunting "The Music That Makes Me Dance" (unfortunately replaced by "My Man" in the movie and so wrongly done uptempo in the London Revival), resulting in a well-deserved nightly standing ovation.
West End Wilma, Blog: Actor and musical impressionist (with over 25 million video views on YouTube) Christina Bianco honestly shines as Fanny Brice and looks like she is having the time of her life on stage. Christina has enjoyed huge success as a cabaret artist but here she proves she is a versatile actress, mixing comedy with heartbreaking emotion and makes me wonder why she hasn't been cast in leading musical theatre roles before now. Ashley Day (as Nick Arnstein) manages to play the slightly obnoxious business man to perfection, whilst also conveying enough charm and charisma that the audience understand what Fanny loves about him so much (not something I have seen in previous productions). Matthew Jeans is also perfectly cast as Fanny's best friend and sidekick Eddie, who longs for Fanny to look at him the way she does her husband. A cliché I know but there honestly isn't a weak link in the chain in this production.
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