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Funny Girl (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
Jule Styne, Bob Merrill, Barbra Streisand
Funny Girl (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

After countless alterations, a revolving door of writers and directors (which included Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Sidney Lumet, and Garson Kanin), crazed tryouts, and an opening night that was delayed five times, Funny Gir...  more »


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After countless alterations, a revolving door of writers and directors (which included Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Sidney Lumet, and Garson Kanin), crazed tryouts, and an opening night that was delayed five times, Funny Girl turned out to be an unadulterated smash--and it still sounds great this much further on. Composer Jule Styne, at the peak of his brassy powers, custom-fitted the show to its star, Barbra Streisand, and she ran away with it. Streisand's delivery of "People" still sends a chill down the spine, and she completely radiates with the life-force of someone who's a star and knows it. Funny Girl is a delirious, larger-than-life Broadway epic that projects showstopping energy but never loses track of its characters' humanity. They just don't make 'em like that anymore. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

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CD Reviews

Streisand and a score to die for.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"FUNNY GIRL has become inextricably linked with the phenomenon that is "Barbra Streisand". She created the role on Broadway in 1964, played it [for a time] in London, then went to Hollywood to do the film. After that? Well, the rest is history.Yet this recording is where some argue she is heard at her best. Not quite 22 when she did the show, her voice on the CD is a marvel - no other word for it. She brings new meaning to the word "clarion", providing [I think] some of the most thrilling moments to be heard on ANY cast recording. "People" comes from this score and Streisand did a beautiful reading of it in the film. But it can't compare with the simplicity of her version on the stage - it's just exquisite. The score itself is top-notch and compares favorably with Jule Styne's masterpiece, GYPSY. Bob Merrill's lyrics [remember it was HE who gave us those memorable words to "People"] are first-rate, proving that he really was a talent of the first water. Sydney Chaplin as Nicky Arnstein, while not possessing the richest of baritones, is no slouch with a song, and does a really fun, sexy, version of "You Are Woman". A number of songs left out of the film are of course to be found here on the Original Cast CD. Among those is the lovely, lovely "The Music That Makes Me Dance" which Miss Streisand turns into a gorgeous, very moving showstopper. It's one of those Broadway Cast Albums that really is special. With a star perhaps bigger than any in recent history, a score that is up with the best of the sixties, and a recording that's rich-sounding and theatrical, you won't regret this joining your collection. And by the way, THAT overture [like so many from Styne, the overture "king"] is a treat in itself: talk about "setting the mood"! What more can you ask for? Streisand and a score to die for."
The "complete" FUNNY GIRL.
Robert Johnson | Richmond, KY USA | 06/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The official Broadway cast recording of the Tony-nominated play that was another stepping stone in Barbra Streisand's transition from successful recording artist to unparalleled superstar. Streisand is virtually the only performer who could do justice to Jule Styne and Bob Merril's larger than life score. Two of the most beautiful songs ("Who Are You Now" and "The Music That Makes Me Dance") were actually dropped from the score in the 1968 film adaptation, as were the riotous ragtime number "Cornet Man" and the hilarious "Rat-Ta-Tat-Tat." When originally recorded, Columbia Records (Barbra's label) passed on the rights to the cast album and Capital Records released the record. Much to Columbia's dismay, FUNNY GIRL hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold, a rarity for a Broadway Cast album. This cast album has a simpler, more intimate sound than the film soundtrack version of the score, but isn't nearly as well produced as the latter recording. However, both releases are extraordinary and should be considered separate works."
Fabulous recording
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 11/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This breathtaking recording of one of the finest scores in Broadway history is brought to life by a fantastic cast headed by the legendary Barbra Streisand in her first major stage role.

The story of FUNNY GIRL is the story of Fanny Brice; lower eastside nobody who climbs the ladder of success to become a star of the Ziegfeld Follies. The success comes at a cost though: becoming main breadwinner in the family and helping to bring an end to your marriage.

The original production of FUNNY GIRL opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on March 26 1964 and ran for 1, 348 performances. Barbra Streisand, then with only one minor role in a Broadway musical - I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE - was applauded to the rafters. Her supporting cast included Sydney Chaplin as Nicky Arnstein, Kay Medford as Mrs Brice, Jean Stapleton as Mrs Strakosh and Danny Meehan as Eddie Ryan.

Barbra stayed with the show to the end of 1965, then opened the show in London. The Broadway show continued for an additional year with Mimi Hines as Fanny; proving that the musical could stand alone on its own merits.

The magnificent Overture opens this recording; a musical taste of what's to come. Normally this is accompanied by some sort of montage. Numbers sung by Mrs Brice, Mrs Strakosh and Eddie Ryan - "If A Girl Isn't Pretty", "Who Taught Her Everything?", "Find Yourself A Man" - are as comical as the characters themselves.

Fanny is given the hokey Keeny's Music Hall song "Cornet Man", as well as the wistful "Who Are You Now?", "His Is The Only Music That Makes Me Dance" (which is a masterpiece in itself); and "I'm The Greatest Star". Nicky Arnstein is given solos in "I Want To Be Seen With You Tonight" and "You Are Woman, I Am Man".

A fantastic, record-breaking Broadway show, equalled by a thrilling recording which more than evokes the magic of this musical performance."