I'm gonna preface this blog with I am no Broadway expert. However, I did go to one of the Princeton Review Great College Theater schools and I lived on the theater floor of my dorm building for a year. I also took DA191 History of Dance and TH107 Stage Craft during my undergrad career as well as a few other theater gen-eds. I think that makes me at least slightly qualified to give a solid opinion on Funny Girl.
Unless you live under a rock, you know Funny Girl is going through casting changes. Jane Lynch is leaving and Lea Michele will be stepping in come September 4th. Beanie Feldstein has been playing the role of Fanny Brice for several months but her last curtain call was the end of July. In all these changes - Julie Benko was given her shining moment. Benko has been Feldstien's understudy and in the wave of her leaving, Benko has been blessed with headlining for the next few weeks. I don't have much to compare it to but I think the newest Fanny Brice did a fabulous job! She was witty in her delivery, her voice was great, and her chemistry with the rest of the cast was lovely.
I loved the costume and set design. I observe way more than just the acting and vocals in a musical. Funny Girl features the Ziegfeld Follies which obviously means the costume were gonna be amazing. They had get-up to make the girls look like giant flowers; they had all white diamond ensembles. But something I found very interesting was how Fanny was always in a highly contrasting color to the ensemble's outfit picks. But when she was alone or with one other character, she was in more muted or dark colors which mirrored her co-stars.
Set design was very, very well done. Wagner have any DTM majors working on it?? They made multiple subtle but great changes to each scene that transformed the show into the next set. Personally, I loved when the fourth wall was broken to represent the Follies performing but then the front stage lighting would switch to the back wall to turn the point of view. I am a sucker for some good transitions. I'm really a sucker for art done well and this show was just that.
Overall, I had a fabulous time at the show and had a great night singing along to Don't Rain On My Parade. AAAND shoutout to BOH because the show would not go on without y'all and I'm so appreciative of everything you do before, during, and after the curtain goes up!