Entertainment & Arts

Sheridan Smith: I'd love to take Funny Girl to Broadway

Matthew Croke, Sheridan Smith (Fanny Brice), Luke Fetherston Image copyright Marc Brenner
Image caption Funny Girl: Sheridan Smith as entertainer Fanny Brice (centre)

Sheridan Smith says it would be her "dream" to play her latest stage role on Broadway.

The actress plays real-life comedian and singer Fanny Brice in Funny Girl - the role that made Barbra Streisand famous in the 1960s.

The musical opened at London's Menier Chocolate Factory on Wednesday night to a standing ovation and rave reviews.

Smith said she she'd instantly said yes when she was approached about the role.

"It's a dream role," she said. "I'd have kicked myself for the rest of my life had I not done it."

Funny Girl, directed by Michael Mayer, has a sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory until March before it transfers to the West End's Savoy Theatre for a 12-week season.

It has not been seen in the West End since Streisand played Fanny Brice in the original London production in 1966.

Image copyright Marc Brenner
Image caption Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice
Image copyright Marc Brenner
Image caption Darius Campbell plays Fanny Brice's lover and husband Nick Arnstein
Image copyright Marc Brenner
Image caption Funny Girl transfers to the West End in 2016

Smith, who has two Olivier awards for her stage roles in Legally Blonde and Flare Path, told the BBC she wouldn't turn down the opportunity to star in Funny Girl to Broadway.

"I'd be daft if I said no. I would love to, that's my dream. But would they take a Lincolnshire girl to do a New York-Brooklyn girl?

"There's so many American girls who could play this part, so I'm just grateful to be doing it here. Who knows how long this journey will last, but I will love every second of it."

She admitted she'd had "a few wobbles" about taking on a role so closely associated with Streisand, whose role in the 1968 film adaptation won her an Oscar.

"There is only one Barbra Streisand, so the key to it is putting your own stamp on it and to remember that the story is about Fanny Brice.

"It's her biography - and not Barbra Streisand's - which people get confused about."

Smith, who was made an OBE this year, said the role of Fanny Brice resonated with her own experience.

"Sometimes in your life a role comes along at a specific time when you need it and feel ready for it and this is it for me. I can pour all my emotion into it."

Funny Girl is at the Menier Chocolate Factory to 5 March and then at the Savoy Theatre 9 April - 2 July 2016.

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