In Columbia County's Chatham, Mac-Haydn Theater has brought Fanny Brice back to life in the stage production of "Funny Girl." This production is strong, well-packaged and a joy to watch, all two hours and 45 minutes of it. The "Funny Girl" role is another that's an icon " both Fanny herself and the depiction of her that projected Barbra Streisand to superstardom. They leave very large shoes to fill. Melissa Giattino is not Streisand, though here, her rendition of Brice works well. Her interpretation hampers neither the show nor the character, though she lacks the ability to get into some of Brice's schtick with any sense of believability. Her voice is strong in a pretty way, and her dancing is superb.
A strong supporting cast " Richard Weidlich as Nicky Arnstein, Elizabeth Dowling as Fanny's mother and area favorite Brandon Davis as Flo Ziegfled " all captivate the audience with their strong voices and acting acumen.
This show's standout is Richard Schwartz, in the role of Brice's confidante, Eddie Ryan. Schwartz steals the stage every time his feet start to move his tap dancing is flawless, his voice strong and he alone is worth the trip to Chatham. Jimm Halliday's costume designs have pushed this theater to a new level.
The show is unique in that it isn't a typical musical comedy, leaving you laughing after the big splashy grand finale. Rather, the very quiet, down ending leaves you pensive and thinking well after the house lights have come up. Great costumes, Jule Styne's wonderful score and Melissa Giattino, Richard Schwartz and a stage filled with great voices make this one show not to be missed this summer.
"Anything Goes" at Williamstown Theatre Festival runs through July 16. For information on tickets or the remainder of the summer schedule, contact the box office at 413-597-3400 or go online at www.wtfestival.org.
"Funny Girl" plays at The Mac-Haydn Theatre through July 16. For ticket information or the remainder of the summer schedule call the box office at 392-9292 or go on line at www.machaydntheatre.org. ""