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Sheridan Smith Will Return to West End's FUNNY GIRL Tonight

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As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Sheridan Smith has taken a leave of absence from Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre due to "stress and exhaustion." Today, producers have confirmed that the actress will return to the West End production tonight in the role of Fanny Brice. Natasha J. Barnes has subbed for Smith since the end of May.

The producers' full statement reads:

"We are delighted to welcome Sheridan Smith back to Funny Girl this evening. It is currently planned that Sheridan will also play this Saturday evening (not matinee), and Monday to Saturday next week (excluding the Wednesday matinee and Thursday evening performances at which Natasha J Barnes will perform). From the week commencing 18 July, Sheridan is scheduled to perform Tuesday through Saturday, with Natasha playing Fanny Brice on Monday evenings. This schedule is subject to change, but we look forward to continuing to entertain audiences at the Savoy Theatre until our run ends on 8 October."

Smith was originally set to take between two and four weeks away from the musical, and was expected to return mid-June. After no announcement, reports began to emerge that she might not return at all.

Barnes played the role for the completion of the run at the Menier Chocolate Factory - her performance receiving plaudits from Audience members and critics alike.

FUNNY GIRL's transfer follows a sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and the show is booking until October 8. Smith takes on Barbra Streisand's iconic role of Fanny Brice, the Brooklyn singer and comedienne who became a Broadway sensation under producer Florenz Ziegfeld. The cast also features Darius Campbell as Nicky Arnstein, Marilyn Cutts as Mrs Brice,Maurice Lane as Mr Keeney, Valda Aviks as Mrs Meeker, Gay Soper as Mrs Strakosh, Natasha J Barnes as Emma/Mrs Nadler, Bruce Montague as Florenz Ziegfeld, and Joel Montague as Eddie Ryan.

Michael Mayer directs a retooled version of the show, with Harvey Fierstein revising Isobel Lennart's book. Funny Girl features music from Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, with classic songs such as "People", 'I'm the Greatest Star" and "Don't Rain on My Parade".


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