Review: Brynn Lucas makes her own mark on 'Funny Girl'

01:42 PM, May 06, 2013

Brynn Lucas is Fanny Brice, and Jake Purcell Nick in JCC Centerstage's production of Funny Girl. (STEVE LEVINSON/Photo provided by JCC)/


Written By Debbie Waltzer

If you go

What:
Funny Girl, a production of JCC CenterStage.
When: Through May 19, with performances this week at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Because of brisk sales, a second May 19 performance, at 7 p.m., has been added.
Where: Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester, 1200 Edgewood Ave., Brighton.
Cost: $26 ($18 for students).
For tickets: (585) 461-2000 or JCCCenterstage.org.

Welcome back to Rochester, Brynn Lucas. We loaned you to New York City and Los Angeles for a few years, but now you’re back — all to our benefit.

Lucas, 31, who grew up in Pittsford, plays the starring role of vaudevillian Fanny Brice in JCC CenterStage’s production of Funny Girl, running through May 19.

Lucas is magnificent, lovely and charming. Could the real Brice have been this delightful?

Director Ralph Meranto showed moxie when announcing this show. After all, the image of Barbra Streisand starring in the 1964 movie version of Funny Girl is permanently etched in our collective brains.

And who wants to go up against Babs?

The point of Funny Girl, though, is to celebrate the singing, dancing and comedic gem that was Fanny Brice, not to compete against Streisand’s performance, Meranto says.

Lucas’ timing is impeccable, facial expressions endearing, vocals strong and interplay with fellow cast members spot on, making her interpretation worth seeing.

Many others in the cast are strong as well. Jake Purcell plays a powerful Nick Arnstein, particularly during the musical numbers “You Are Woman” and an abbreviated version of “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

Other standouts include Mary Krickmire as Fanny’s mother, Rosie Brice, and Ed Popil as Eddie Ryan, Fanny’s mentor and friend.

Particularly memorable moments in the show are Lucas’ unhurried delivery of “People,” Purcell’s seductive moves during “You Are Woman” and a downstage left-and-right pairing of Lucas and a solo saxophone accompaniment during “The Music That Makes Me Dance.” This reviewer, though, would kill the behind-scrim dance duet during that number; it’s just a distraction.

Overall, though, JCC’s Funny Girl is lovely.