FOR the first time in more than 20 years, NEMusicals York are to stage a musical away from their regular venue of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.

Instead, Funny Girl will be performed in the John Cooper Studio @41 Monkgate, York, from July 24 to 28 under the direction of chairman Steve Tearle, joined by musical director Jess Douglas and assistant choreographer Ellie Roberts.

"Breaking new ground, we're trying something more experimental and something completely different for us," says Steve. "We decided to do a full-on crazy comedy, so we've taken the bittersweet biography of Fanny Brace in Funny Girl and broken it down to achieve the maximum comedy effect."

Set in 1928, writer Isobel Lennart, composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill's musical opens with New York Lower East Side comedienne Fanny Brice, star of the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, awaiting the return of her husband, handsome gambler Nicky Arnstein, from prison. This is her moment to reflect on her life, the love of her life and their life together and wonder what might happen next.

"The musical is then told in flashback, as we learn of Fanny's life story, from being a child at Keeney's Theatre, where she meets her best friend Eddie Ryan, who supports her all the way through her career, to being a Ziegfeld star and her marital break-up," says Steve.

York Press:

Roller play: Funny Girl cast members Katie Melia, left, and Raya Montague try out their roller skates

"Funny Girl is hilarious and we're taking it to the max with its amazing storyline and some brilliant characters. Mrs Brice, Fanny’s overpowering mother, and her best friends Mrs Strakosh and nosy neighbour Mr O'Malley have some of the funniest one-liners in the show."

Principal roles go to Katie Melia as Fanny Brice; Andrew Isherwood as Nicky Arnstein; Kit Stroud as Eddie Ryan; Pat Mortimer, Mrs Strakosh, and Paul Jefferson, Mr O'Malley.

Ben Jefferson plays Mr Keeney; Gary Riley, Florence Ziegfeld; Jonny Holbek, The Clown, The Voice and Renaldo; Grace Brown, Emma, Polly, Jenny, Keeney and Ziegfeld Girl; Sam Richardson, John, Keeney and Ziegfeld Guy; Ellie Roberts, Maude, Keeney and Ziegfeld Girl; Raya Montague, Bubbles, Keeney and Ziegfeld Girl; Katie Jefferson, Mimmsy, Keeney and Ziegfeld Girl; Scott Kendrew, Paul, Train Conductor. Keeney and Ziegfeld Guy, and Callum Richardson, Henry.

Songs such as People, Don’t Rain on My Parade, When A Girl Isn’t Pretty, I’m The Greatest Star and Sadie, Sadie will light up a NEMusicals production where "we wanted to create a completely different experience for our audience in the wonderful space of the John Cooper Studio," says Steve.

"With this fantastic cabaret atmosphere, where you can get a cheeky Prosecco while you watch the show, the bar will actually be part of the set. It's going to be a very funny show; I really don’t want to give too much away but you will never think of chickens in the same way again, but one thing I will say, I have kept in the roller skates!"

Tickets for Funny Girl's 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday matinee cost £15 on 07759 260852 or at and