Review: ‘Funny Girl’ by 3D Theatricals reinvents Fanny Brice

This post has been updated. See below for details.

A star is reborn in “Funny Girl,” now marching its band out in Fullerton (and soon after, Redondo Beach). This solid 3D Theatricals revival of the classic 1964 musical generally engrosses, and triumphs in lead Nicole Parker.

Shining in every detail, Parker’s nuanced, platinum-voiced Fanny Brice withstands the Streisand factor -- a hurdle for every Fanny after the role launched Barbra to superstardom -- with breathtaking results. From first entrance on designer Stephen Gifford’s initial bare-stage setting to emotional final moments, Parker reinvents the character, her comic mastery, palpable honesty and soaring chops creating a memorable turn.


Not everything about director Michael Matthews’ adroit staging is as transcendent, but it’s largely effective, particularly the presentational coups that close each act, aided by Gifford’s interlocking pieces, Jean-Yves Tessier’s lighting, Julie Ferrin’s sound and Cheryl Sheldon’s era-spanning costumes.

Choreographer Kami Seymour embraces her limited dance opportunities, with the precision-tap lines of “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat” show-stopping, and the vintage, underrated Jule Styne/Bob Merrill score blazes under Gerald Sternbach’s expert musical direction.

The sharp ensemble responds accordingly, with Jean Kauffman’s Mrs. Brice, Venny Carranza’s Eddie Ryan, Gregory North’s Ziegfeld and the priceless poker players of Helen Geller, Carol Kline and Jill Van Velzer providing apt support.

Conversely, Josh Adamson as leading man Nick Arnstein is proficient and charming, yet a shade too understated to consistently register the requisite charisma against Parker’s virtuosity.

In fairness, a Fanny/Nick imbalance has plagued the property since original show doctor Jerome Robbins jettisoned virtually everything that didn’t highlight Streisand, and Isobel Lennart’s bipolar libretto -- here brassy back-stager, there tear-stained soap opera -- remains pedestrian. That shouldn’t worry devoted ticket holders, who may well consider themselves the luckiest people in the world.

Updated: An earlier version of this post included a wrong phone number for 3D Theatrics and misspelled the photographer’s name on the photo above.


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“Funny Girl,” Plummer Auditorium, 201 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; also 2 p.m. Sept. 21. Ends Sept. 22. Reopens in Redondo Beach, Sept. 27-29. $23-$60. (714) 589-2770 or Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes.