Front Row Reviewers

Putting the ‘Fanny’ in Funny: A Hilarious Romp with “Funny Girl” at St. George Musical Theater

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

Review By Val O’Bryan, Front Row Reviewers

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to witness the magic of St. George Musical Theater at its finest with the delightful production of Funny Girl! The dedicated cast and crew brought this classic musical to life with charm, passion, and an abundance of talent.

The musical Funny Girl is based on the life of vaudeville star Fanny Brice, a showgirl in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Ziegfeld Follies from 1910 to the 1930s. The role of Fanny is double cast with Malory Myers and Brooke Bang.  Both actors are incredible, and I saw Myers in the role on the night I attended. Myers embodied the iconic role of Fanny Brice with charisma and strong vocal talent. Fanny was an accomplished comedienne, so the role requires someone who has excellent comedic timing and emotional depth. Myers fully captures the essence of the character with every line, note, and expression.

Fanny dreams of show business and is undeterred by her mother’s friends, who worry that she isn’t pretty enough to make it.  The women playing Mrs. Brice (Heather Braden), Mrs. Strakosh (Jane Williams), and Mrs. Stewart (Angela Weber) all have great accents and provide comedic relief and heartfelt moments. Fanny wins over fellow dancer Eddie Ryan (Brennan Walters), who supports her in her endeavors to break into show business by introducing her to a biting and domineering Tom Keeney (Robert Craig) and following her as she moves onto fame with Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (Mark Speener) as a star in Ziegfeld’s Follies.  Walters shines as a warm best friend and an energetic tap dancer.  His character never gets the kudos Eddie deserves, but Walters is the glue that keeps the shifts in Fanny’s journey and relationships cohesive for the audience. His performance is dynamic, and at any moment when Fanny dips out of sight, Eddie is there to dazzle and delight.

Fanny’s life is forever changed when she meets handsome charmer Nick Arnstein (Dan Fowlks).  From the start, Nick and Fanny’s relationship is fraught with complications.  Despite class differences and trust issues, Nick’s financial issues bring the most significant strain to their relationship.  Watch how clever costume designer Staci Martin employs color in Fanny’s wardrobe to reflect the status of her career success and bank account (green) and the emotional turmoil of her relationship with Nick (including a stunning revenge dress!). 

The ensemble in Funny Girl serves as the vibrant heartbeat of the production, infusing every scene with energy, excitement, and a sense of community. With their impeccable timing and dynamic dance performances by choreographers Nicole Hadley and Megan Nelson, they bring the world of early 20th-Century showbiz to vivid life. From bustling New York streets to glittering Ziegfeld Follies stages, the ensemble seamlessly transitions between various roles, filling each moment with authenticity and charm. The talents of the hair (Katelyn Parkinson) and make-up artist (Kristi Delatorre), set designer (Brad  Shelton), set construction specialist (Don Clements), props master (Emili Whitney), lighting designer (Jennifer D. Roberts), audio designer (Jonah Lavelle), and media design (Flitch Creative) enhance the atmosphere of the production, transporting audiences to a bygone era of glamour and spectacle. Whether providing comedic relief, lending support to the main characters, or dazzling with their dance numbers, the ensemble and production team contributions are integral to the success of Funny Girl, enriching the storytelling and leaving a lasting impression on all who experience their magic onstage.

One of the shining stars of the show is pianist Paul Taylor.  As a historical nod to the period, director Richard Bugg and music director Annie Lewis decided to have live music for the production. Taylor tirelessly accompanies the entire show on piano and deserves a standing ovation for his exceptional talent, never missing a beat or a note. Nick Lanners is also featured on the trumpet, which brings authenticity to “Cornet Man.”

Overall, Funny Girl is a triumph of talent, passion, and dedication. May we take lessons from Fanny Brice and have extraordinary confidence in ourselves and an unwavering refusal to heed the whispers of ‘don’t.’ Grab your tickets, gather your friends, and prepare to be swept away by the magic of this unforgettable production.  The show opened on May 9, and runs until June 15, 2024.  

St. George Musical Theater presents Funny Girl.  Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Bob Merrill,  Book by Isobel Lennart, from an original story by Miss Lennart. 
Historic Opera House, 212 North Main Street, St. George, UT 84770
May 9 – June 15, 2024 Monday, Thursday-Saturday 7:30 PM, Saturday matinees 2:00 PM
Tickets:  $28
Contact: 435-628 – 8755
St. George Musical Theater Facebook page

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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