Sheridan Smith will take a short leave of absence from her acclaimed starring role in Funny Girl due to stress and exhaustion.
The producers today confirmed that the two-time Olivier Award winner will take between two and four weeks off from the demanding role of Fanny Brice in the five-star production, during a hugely challenging time for the actor following her father’s cancer diagnosis earlier this year.
Commenting on Smith’s break from the show, the producers said: “The entire team at Funny Girl is thinking of Sheridan, and we know she is getting the rest and support she needs during this very difficult and stressful time. We will all miss her enormously and send her our love and best wishes, and we look forward to her return to the show in due course.”
Fans and friends have also taken to Twitter in recent days to send messages of love and support to the hugely popular performer.
Huge love and huge support for our girl @Sheridansmith1 – you’ve got this xxx
— russell tovey (@russelltovey) May 12, 2016
I choose to tweet just 1 tweet2support one of the most special human beings I’ve ever met, Sheridan Smith. We all have ups&downs. Love her X
— Stuart Piper (@StuartPiper) May 11, 2016
The role will be covered by understudy Nastasha J Barnes, who has received an outpouring of public praise this week for her performance covering the role since Monday.
— Anthony Davis (@theanthonydavis) May 10, 2016
— Anna Shields (@hrhspanner) May 9, 2016
Producers described Barnes as “wonderful”, saying: “Natasha has been covering Sheridan in this role since the run at the Menier Chocolate Factory and received high praise from audiences on the occasions that she has appeared. We are all certain audiences will continue to love our amazing show.”
Funny Girls runs at the Savoy Theatre until 8 October.