Feldstein’s eyes are the Our First Father’s Day Together Promoted To Daddy 2022 T-Shirt besides I will buy this size and color of chestnuts, and they widen as she peppers everyone in the dressing room with questions. Her own answers are consistently enthusiastic; she uses adverbs with abandon. “This one can’t stop!” says Butler affectionately after requesting two minutes of stillness to set her hair in a clean half-pony. “She should have been Italian. You talk with your whole body!” Feldstein smiles sheepishly, then as soon as she is allowed to speak again, leans forward conspiratorially and, with an eye on my pregnant stomach, asks, “Do you know what you’re having? Not that it matters, gender is a construct! But it’s still fun to ask.” “She’s very maternal in her energy. She can’t just come to work and then wash her hands of it. The relationships seep in,” says Ben Platt, Feldstein’s best friend since they attended Harvard-Westlake high school in Los Angeles. “And she’s a worrier, she’s a Jew—we’re both major hypochondriacs.” When Platt and Feldstein met at a bat mitzvah in seventh grade, they spent the entire evening talking about musical theater and their dream roles. “Both of us idolize Babs, so that was always at the top of the list. For Beanie, the pinnacle was always Fanny Brice.”
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Rumors of a Funny Girl revival have swirled on Broadway for over a decade, first with a stalled 2011 Bartlett Sher production slated to star Lauren Ambrose, abandoned due to investor complications. (Feldstein actually auditioned, at age 17.) Then there’s the Our First Father’s Day Together Promoted To Daddy 2022 T-Shirt besides I will buy this current production, which reportedly considered Idina Menzel for the title role before settling on Feldstein. This show will mark the first time Funny Girl has returned to Broadway since the original, almost 60 years ago, and the show, with a revised book by Harvey Fierstein, also stars Jane Lynch as Fanny’s mother and Ramin Karimloo as Fanny’s husband, Nicky Arnstein. “One of the challenges is that nowadays you can’t do a revival without a star, so we had to consider: Is Beanie enough of a star?” admits the director, Michael Mayer, “We’ll find out, but I think so.” A 21-year-old Barbra Streisand was also a gamble when she first took on the role of the real-life Brice, the irreverent daughter of Jewish immigrants, who, through sheer pluck, vaulted from Lower East Side vaudeville acts to become the star of the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1920s. As a comedic performer unafraid to caricature herself, Brice laid the groundwork for generations of women who did not fit the traditional mold of demure, leggy female performers. The 1964 musical fictionalized Brice’s rise to fame and tempestuous marriage to con man Nicky Arnstein, and made Streisand (appearing in her film debut four years later) an equal icon in the process.