Funny Girl is a musical with a book by Isobel Lennart, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill. The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway, film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein. Its original title was My Man.
The musical was produced by Ray Stark, who was Brice's son-in-law via his marriage to her daughter Frances, and starred Barbra Streisand. The production was nominated for eight Tony Awards but, facing tough competition from Hello, Dolly!, it failed to win in any categories.
The musical is set in and around New York City just prior to and following World War I. Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice, awaiting the return of her husband, Nick Arnstein, from prison, reflects on their life together, and their story is told as a flashback.
Fanny is a stage-struck teen who gets her first job in vaudeville. Her mother and her friend Mrs. Strakosh try to dissuade her from show-business because Fanny is not the typical beauty ("If a Girl Isn't Pretty"). But Fanny perseveres ("I'm the Greatest Star") and is helped and encouraged by Eddie Ryan, a dancer she meets in the vaudeville shows. Once Fanny's career takes off, Eddie and Mrs. Brice lament that once she's on Broadway she'll forget about them ("Who Taught Her Everything?"). Fanny performs a supposedly romantic number in the Follies, but she turns it into a classic comic routine, ending the number as a pregnant bride ("His Love Makes Me Beautiful").
She meets the sophisticated and handsome Nick Arnstein, who accompanies Fanny to her mother's opening night party on "Henry Street". Fanny is clearly in love ("People"). They meet in Baltimore and have a private dinner at a swank restaurant and declare their feelings ("You Are Woman, I Am Man"). Fanny is determined to marry Nick regardless of his gambling past ("Don't Rain on My Parade").
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