Barbra Streisand put a brand on Funny Girl that makes the Fanny Brice role daunting for any other performer. Heidi Kettenring, who has the job in the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire production that opened this week, isn’t letting that rain on her parade. Though the influence of the diva is unmistakable, Kettenring, a more spontaneous actor than Streisand, with a voice that’s brassier on the high notes, grabs the part and lays claim to it within her first few minutes onstage. If anybody’s missed here, it’s Omar Sharif. The Marriott, whose circus-ring layout precludes anything like a real set and imposes awkward limits on every bit of staging and choreography, is a less-than-perfect venue for a show anchored in the Ziegfeld Follies; what you get is a cross between a concert performance and the spectacle that ought to be. But Nancy Missimi’s costumes are lovely, if mostly unsurprising; the ensemble hoofing, choreographed by Marc Robin, and the music, directed by Shawn Stengel, are top-notch; and Kettenring and Bernie Yvon (as Eddie Ryan) are pure joy to behold. Director Dominic Missimi delivers a straight-up Funny Girl that lets the Jule Styne music, Bob Merrill lyrics, and Isobel Lennart book shine through. Performances are at 8 Wednesday through Friday; 5 and 8:30 Saturday; and 7 Sunday, with matinees at 2 Wednesday and 2:30 Sunday. It runs through January 19 at the Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive (off Milwaukee just south of Half Day Road) in Lincolnshire. Tickets range from $35 to $40, with $5 discounts for seniors and students at matinee and Sunday performances; dinner packages are available. Call 847-634-0200.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Maday Photography.