Funny Girl, the sensational musical comedy revival, is coming to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday, November 14 through Sunday, November 26.
Welcome to musical comedy heaven! Featuring Grammy-Award winner Melissa Manchester as Mrs. Brice, the “vivacious and delightfully glitzy” (Vogue) Broadway revival features iconic songs, including “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star,” and “People.” Breaking box office records week after week and receiving unanimous raves on Broadway, this bittersweet comedy is the story of the indomitable Fanny Brice played by South Florida’s own rising star Katerina McCrimmon. As a girl from the Lower East Side who dreamed of a life on the stage, everyone told her she’d never be a star, but then something funny happened—she became one of the most beloved performers in history, shining brighter than the brightest lights of Broadway. The Observer describes the revival as “sparkling and explosively entertaining!”
FUNNY GIRL is directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and features the classic score by Tony, Grammy, and Academy Award winner Jule Styne and lyrics by Tony Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Bob Merrill, (comprising additional songs from Styne & Merrill). The original book by Isobel Lennart, from an original story by Miss Lennart, is revised by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots, Newsies).
Hailing from Miami, Katerina McCrimmon will make her national tour debut on the heels of becoming a YoungArts Winner in Theater and a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. “Fans have adored Melissa throughout her 50-year musical career, and Katerina is a star in the making who embodies the rising stardom of Fanny,” says production director Michael Mayer. “We could not be more thrilled to have this dynamic and talented duo lead the Funny Girl tour.”
It was a pleasure to sit down with lead cast member Stephen Mark Lukas who plays Nick Arnstein for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
At what age did you begin performing?
We had a regional theater near me that offered acting and singing classes. I was actually a shy kid, and my parents thought it would help so they signed me up when I was about 5, and I never stopped.
What was your first paid gig?
When I was 11, I did a production of “The King And I” and I played Lewis. I had just seen it on Broadway, as my parents would take us to NY to see 4 or 5 Broadway shows every November.
When did you know performing would be your career?
When I was young I always thought it would just be a hobby. I didn’t play sports in high school; I did theater instead. Alot of my friends were going to Ivy League schools and I started to really like acting so I auditioned and got into NYU School of the Arts. Once I got accepted, I knew this would be my career.
“Funny Girl” is so iconic, is there extra pressure being in this show?
It’s an honor to get to do a show and a role people know and love already. There is also a special opportunity as an actor to do this role in a contemporary way. We try and reinvent the characters.
Other than this one, what has been your favorite role so far?
That’s hard as every project has something I fell in love with. I loved playing Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, and Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. Those are probably the two I would say are my favorite.
What’s your fantasy role (a role you haven’t played but want to)?
Oh gosh, that’s a great question. I am getting a little older now and off the top of my head I would love to play Billy Bigelow in Carousel, George in Sunday In The Park With George and King George in Hamilton.
Is it hard being on the road all the time?
Being on the road has its challenges for sure as it’s tough to be away from home. I did Funny Girl on Broadway for a year and a half, so it’s an adjustment to wake up in a new city every few days. However, in some ways it feels like a new show as every city has different audiences that identify with different things. This keeps the show fresh and exciting.
How well do you and your castmates get along?
Amazing, it’s an incredible group of people. To start from scratch with this show with a new group of people that has a fresh take on the show is amazing. Both casts (Broadway and touring) have had amazing human beings who bring people the joy that this show offers.
I see you are “Family” and have a partner. Tell us about him?
Yes, we have been together for 9 years and we are engaged. We met through mutual friends in the Broadway community. He is a great fit for me, because he is so incredibly kind and patient, and our energies compliment each other very well.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Earnest, generous, and quirky.
What do you do for fun?
I work out and I like to stay active and find a gym in every city; both for the role and my mental health. I also love to zone out, and watch a good TV series. When I am not on the road, I love cooking and baking.
What should our readers expect from this touring company of “Funny Girl”?
I think that this show brings everything that people love about musicals and Broadway into one evening at the theater. There is fantastic dancing and unbelievable vocals. Also, you will be surprised even if you think you know the show. And it turns out to be a story of two people desperately in love despite their shortcomings. It’s a very intimate and personal story.
If you want to know more about Stephen and his cute fiancé, follow him at: Instagram.com/smlukas
Tickets starting at $45 are available at BrowardCenter.org and Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 954.468.0222 or at the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office located at 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33312.
For more information on Funny Girl, visit Funnygirlonbroadway.com.
Photo Credit: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade