amBroadway | ‘Funny Girl’ recoups original investment, ‘Spamalot’ to return to Broadway and more

Lea Michele (Fanny Brice) in “Funny Girl”
Photo: Matthew Murphy

‘Funny Girl’ recoups right before closing

The Broadway revival of “Funny Girl,” which underwent a turbulent transformation over the past year and a half from miscast revival starring Beanie Feldstein to sold-out smash starring Lea Michele, has recouped its initial investment costs of $16.5 million, making it a “hit” under traditional standards – and one of the relatively few shows to achieve such status since Broadway reopened following the pandemic shutdown. The production will play its final performance on Sept. 3, after which it will embark on a national tour led by Katerina McCrimmon. Had Michele not taken over as Fanny Brice, the production probably would have closed a year ago.

The story of this production will go down in Broadway history as a rare example of a troubled show turning itself around, even after its opening night, and coming out on top. A somewhat similar example is “Beetlejuice,” which opened to negative reviews in 2019 and then gained serious traction and became a hit thanks to a fan-dominated social media presence.

‘Spamalot’ to transfer from D.C. to Broadway

Time to search again for the Holy Grail. “Spamalot,” the Tony Award-winning 2005 Broadway musical comedy based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” will return to Broadway in the fall, playing the St. James Theatre (where “New York, New York” just closed) beginning Oct. 31. The revival, which is directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes (“Bright Star,” “Cinderella”), originated at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of its Encores!-style Broadway Center Stage series. “More than ever, it seems we need a good laugh and it’s inspiring to see audiences still embracing this, the most happy of shows I have ever worked on,” Eric Idle said in a statement.

The Kennedy Center cast included Alex Brightman (“Beetlejuice”), James Monroe Iglehart (“Aladdin”), Leslie Kritzer (“Beetlejuice”), Rob McClure (“Honeymoon in Vegas”), and Michael Urie (“Torch Song”). The show’s original Broadway company included Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, Christian Borle, Hank Azaria, Christopher Sieber, and Sara Ramirez (who won a Tony for her breakout performance).

‘The Notebook’ set for spring Broadway debut

A musical adaptation of “The Notebook,” based on the romance novel by Nicholas Sparks (which became a 2004 film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams), will arrive on Broadway in the spring, with previews beginning at the Schoenfeld Theatre on Feb. 6. The musical has an original score by singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson (“The Way I Am,” “Girls Chase Boys”) and a book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter. It will be directed by Michael Greif (“Dear Evan Hansen”) and Schele Williams (“The Wiz”).

Broadway actor Clifton Oliver dies

Clifton Oliver, a stage actor originally from Jacksonville, Florida who appeared on Broadway as “In the Heights” as Benny, “Wicked” as Fiyero, and “The Lion King” as Simba, died last week at the age of 47. The cause of his death has not been disclosed, but social media posts noted that Oliver had been ill and in the hospital during his final weeks. In his memory, Disney Theatricals announced that it would dim the lights of the New Amsterdam Theatre. “He went twirling into the afterlife ready to make his grand appearance as the star of his homecoming celebration,” Oliver’s sister, Roxy Hall, wrote on Facebook.