Hilliard Northwest News

Arts council stages 'Funny Girl' July 11-13

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Taryn Barton, who portrays Fanny Brice, is held up by Steven Prosser (left) as Eddie and Dan Stevens as Jody.
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Funny Girl, the 1964 Broadway musical that provided Barbra Streisand with the signature tune People and launched her theatrical and musical career, is the summer production of the Hilliard Arts Council.

The arts council will perform Funny Girl July 11-13 at the Performing Arts Center at Hilliard Davidson High School, 5100 Davidson Road.

"It's one of my favorite shows," said director Robin Brenneman, who as a child recited lines from the production and sang People and the show's other signature song, Don't Rain on my Parade.

"I know the lines as well as the actors," Brenneman said.

The arts council has never performed Funny Girl in its 30-plus year history, but Brenneman twice directed the show during her career as director of the drama department at Hilliard High School and Hilliard Davidson High School.

Brenneman said she chose the show, in part, because of its intergenerational characters, which allows actors in a wide variety of age ranges to participate.

Funny Girl is set in New York City during the 1910s and early '20s and is partly a biography of its two central characters: Fanny Brice, best known for her performances in the Ziegfeld Follies, and Nick Arnstein, a professional gambler who was once married to Brice.

"But (the writers) take a lot of liberties," Brenneman said.

It was nominated for eight Tony Awards and was adapted into a film in 1968, with Streisand reprising the role of Fanny.

Omar Sharif played Nick in the film version, while Sydney Chaplin played the character in the original Broadway production.

In the Hilliard Arts Council's production, Marysville resident Taryn Barton, 32, portrays Fanny, and northwest Columbus resident David Hammond, 31, plays Nick.

If the two look comfortable embracing on stage, they've had some practice. Hammond and Barton have been dating since they met two years ago in the arts council's presentation of Cabaret.

Both were quick to agree their real-life romance has distinct advantages -- and sometimes disadvantages -- onstage.

"But it's great to have that natural chemistry and energy," Barton said.

Barton, a Pennsylvania native who came to central Ohio via Iowa, describes her character as a young woman who is single-minded about a stage career, yet begins to view it as a job, and one she might abandon to start a family with Nick.

"You see her transition from a child to a woman during the play," Barton said.

Hammond, a native of Mansfield, describes his character as "suave and put together."

"But you can begin to see some cracks," he said.

The Hilliard Arts Council will perform Funny Girl at 8 p.m. Friday, July 11, and Saturday, July 12, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 13.

Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and students, and are available at localevelevents.com.

Tickets at the door are $17 for adults, $14 for senior citizens and students.

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