funny girl
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“Shtein shines in title role in Gallery Players production”

“Most famous as a star-is-born vehicle for Barbra Streisand, “Funny Girl” doesn’t require a name-brand star, but benefits from a multi-talented lead performer. Gallery finds a memorable one in Paula Shtein, a New York actress with Columbus roots.

Shtein makes the title role her own with powerful singing, expert comic timing and believable personality.

Beyond her confident handling of the vaudeville-style shtick, Shtein grounds her funny girl in piquant insecurity. Her nuanced acting makes clear that Fanny uses humor to hide very real fears about her self-image and the possibility of romance.

Perhaps Shtein’s most convincing display of Fanny’s resilience is her mesmerizing rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” the triumphant first-act finale.

But “People” is the stand-out hit by composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill. Shtein makes the song translucent with yearning, reinforced by the supportive embrace of gambler Nick Arnstein.”

-Michael Grossberg