"Sing Out, Louise!" Our Top Ten Musical Theatre Diva Vehicles

By Ben Rimalower
05 Aug 2013



Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl.
Photo by Henry Grossman

2. Funny Girl

Also with music by Jule Styne and dances by Jerome Robbins, and also a show business story, Funny Girl one-ups Gypsy on the diva vehicle list. Not because it's a better show — on the contrary, dramaturgically speaking Funny Girl isn't fit to lick Gypsy's high-button shoes (anyone?). Funny Girl is a better diva vehicle than Gypsy because it's a diva vehicle about a diva, literally a female star of the musical stage. Thus, many of Fanny's songs are set performance pieces (where the character Fanny is singing) and some blur the line enough to give more "real" moments that extra oomph. We get a list of songs including "I'm The Greatest Star," "People," "Don't Rain On My Parade," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," "Who Are You Now?" and "Cornet Man." That's a diva vehicle so powerful Barbra Streisand was able to ride it all the way to Hollywood, winning an Academy Award and ultimately becoming one of the biggest international superstars of the century. No wonder women everywhere are eager to star in a revival.

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