Following a triumphant opening night, the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Sheridan Smith-led Funny Girl has extended its forthcoming run in the West End to 10 September.
The show faced the press at its Off West End premiere last night, collecting a string of rave reviews for Michael Mayer’s new take on the classic musical and Smith’s return to the stage following her Olivier Award-winning roles in Legally Blonde The Musical and Flare Path.
The combination of Smith and the revival of the iconic piece was enough to secure the production a West End transfer even before it began its Menier Chocolate Factory run. The show will now play a further two months at the Savoy Theatre when it begins its second run from 9 April, with the extension marking Funny Girl’s 50th anniversary.
Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s musical first came to fame when Barbra Streisand originated the leading role of Smith’s Fanny Brice on Broadway. Featuring songs including Don’t Rain On My Parade and I’m The Greatest Star, the charming musical tells the story of how Brice rose from being a Brooklyn music hall singer to become one of Broadway’s biggest stars under producer Florenz Ziegfeld.
In its four-star review, the Daily Telegraph raved: “If Sheridan Smith was a star before the lights went up on Funny Girl last night, she was twice the star by the time she took the thunderous curtain-call,” while Time Out declared “Only a fool would rain on Sheridan Smith’s parade”.
Smith will continue to lead a cast that also includes Darius Campbell in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s sold out run until 5 March, before Funny Girl moves into the West End from 9 April.