Feature

Lauren Ambrose in Funny Girl: Can she pull it off?

The former Six Feet Under star will tackle the iconic Broadway role that skyrocketed Barbra Streisand to international fame in the 1960s

The video: Hello, gorgeous! This week, Lauren Ambrose — best known for portraying moody, flame-haired artist Claire on HBO's funeral-parlor drama Six Feet Under — was tapped to play the lead in next year's Broadway-bound revival of Funny Girl, the 1964 musical about the life and career of comedienne Fanny Brice. It's the iconic musical theatre role that launched Barbra Streisand's career, and one that many assumed would go to Glee's Lea Michele, who tore through the show's grand-standing number, "Don't Rain on My Parade," on the Fox show and at the Tony Awards. Can Ambrose fill Streisand's diva-sized shoes and play a Jewish girl described as "a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls"? To judge, many commentators are turning to Ambrose's 2010 concert performance of the Funny Girl torch song "My Man." (Watch the video below.)

The reaction: Anyone who doubts that Ambrose "has the musical chops to tackle the vocally demanding role" of Fanny Brice, says Brent Lang at The Wrap, just needs to listen to her belt her way through "My Man." Still, Ambrose doesn't exactly fit the bill physically, says Emilia Barrosse at New York Press. "Since when is this pale redhead a gawky Jewish girl from New York?" Producers missed the opportunity to cast a star who endured a period of Fanny Brice-like awkwardness before reaching fame. Yep, you guessed it: Lady Gaga. Check out Ambrose's performance for yourself:

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