Looking back: March 26, 1964. Barbra opens in Funny Girl at The Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway.

By Matthew Blank and Joseph Marzullo - Playbill.com

Celebrating its Golden Anniversary today, Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand in her star-making turn, opened on March 26, 1964. The musical production played 1,348 performances and received eight Tony nominations. Playbill.com takes a look back at her work as Broadway's original Funny Girl.

The opening night cast included Sydney Chaplin, Danny Meehan, Jean Stapleton, Roger DeKoven, Lainie Kazan and Kay Medford. But 21-year-old Barbra Streisand, already a Tony nominee for her performance in 1962's I Can Get It for You Wholesale, made headlines as Fanny Brice.

New York Times reviewer Howard Taubman praised Streisand's star turn. "Since Fanny herself cannot be brought back," he wrote, "the next best thing is to get Barbra Streisand to sing and strut and go through comic routines à la Brice."

The Jule Styne/Bob Merrill musical earned eight Tony nominations but faced stiff competition from Jerry Herman's new musical Hello, Dolly!, which swept the 1964 awards. Streisand received a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical but lost to Carol Channing's performance as Dolly Levi.

In 1968 Streisand won an Oscar for her role in the 1968 film version of Funny Girl, and the following year brought Dolly Levi to the big screen in the 1969 film adaptation of Hello, Dolly.

Click here to view the photo gallery.

Click here to read the opening night Funny Girl Playbill.

Comments for this News article

Happy Birthday to my favorite artist. May you have a most wonderful day with family & friends. Call me crazy, but I love you with all my heart!
Robert

Dear Barbra,
i do not know where to put my comments, so i will start here.
ever since i first heard your voice in 1965, and the room began to fill with bright light, i have never been the same. i have been blessed or cursed to hear your voice everywhere i go. super markets, radios in the middle of nowhere, while traveling in airports etc. just like your character in "on a clear day" i am not complaining, but in some ways it has been crazy making. i have developed myself, my art and my photography to a level of mastery, so that one day i would catch your eye or ear, and "knock your socks off" like you did mine!

It has now been 49 years and we have still not had a decent conversation!!!

i just went to India and i even heard you there! I prayed to KRSNA and THE DEITES to be aloud to leave you there with them.

But i came home last week, and there you were on my email and in the ether.

Only you can help me. i have no more solutions. Help a girl out, please to end this divine madness for me!!! i thank you whole heatedly!

love,

JAGAT TERINI DASI , jacquelynfairchild (j.) Honolulu, hawaii