Like Fanny Brice, Katerina McCrimmon fell in love with performing when she was just a kid, and pursued her dreams with a white-hot passion, so it shouldn’t be surprising that she is now on stage, portraying the legendary comedian, singer, and actress in the national touring company of the hit Broadway musical, “Funny Girl.
"I was always the kid dancing in front of the TV and singing –and even doing monologues in the shower, but I didn’t know what to do with that until I was eight years old, and saw my first musical. Then, at that moment, I knew,” says McCrimmon.
The show opens Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale for a 12-day run with the original Broadway show opening on Broadway in 1964 that catapulted Barbra Streisand to stardom.
The musical follows the legendary Brice from her humble beginnings on N.Y.C.’s Lower East Side to international fame as a star of stage, screen and radio, while chronicling the heartbreak she endured during her marriage to gambler Nick Arnstein.
McCrimmon, 25, who grew up in the Westchester area of Miami, was eight years old when she saw “Matilda’s Christmas,” at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables.
“I turned to my mother and said, ‘this is what I want to do,’ so she helped me audition for a children’s show they were doing called 'Understood Betsy,' and, from then on, I just never stopped,” she says.
Like Brice, McCrimmon is the daughter of an immigrant mother. In Brice’s case, her mother settled in the Lower East Side of New York City, having immigrated from Hungary. McCrimmon’s mother, who is of Spanish descent, had lived in Cuba before immigrating to the United States.
No one in McCrimmon’s family, she says were performers, but they always encouraged her
She attended various performing arts schools in Miami, worked with the Miami Children’s Theater, and then went on to the New World School for the Arts.
“Their training was really pivotal,” she says.
She got involved with the national YoungArts program, and won its theater award. She was also named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
In the fall of 2019, McCrimmon got her big break. Producers at the Roundabout Theater were trying to find someone to play actress Marisa Tomei's daughter for the Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's “The Rose Tattoo.”
Unbeknownst to McCrimmon, Tomei had seen her perform in a national YoungArts showcase, and passed the word along that she might be perfect for the role, she recalls.
She was still a student at Florida State University when she got a part in the Broadway show.
“It was crazy,” McCrimmon recalls. “I was directing the kids in ‘Aladdin Jr. at the children’s theater, when I got a call from the Roundabout Theater asking me to audition. The audition was in three days. So, the next day, I flew to New York, and they offered me the role of the understudy on the spot, and, at the moment everything changed,” says McCrimmon. “It was a random experience that I never saw coming.”
In 2021, McCrimmon married her musician husband, Matias Sanes, and they were living in Brooklyn. She said she was doing a variety of odd jobs, including dog walking when she learned that the “Funny Girl” national tour was holding auditions. She sent in a demo tape of her singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” About a month later, she was called for an in-person interview. As fate would have it, Jim Carnahan, who had cast her in “The Rose Tattoo” four years earlier, was doing the casting.
“He had never heard me sing, and I didn’t even know if he remembered me,” says McCrimmon.
He did indeed remember her, and she was summoned for an in-person audition. Says McCrimmon, “They usually do multiple callbacks, but, you can feel it when the stars align. A few days later, I was standing on a pier with my husband, and I got a call that I had gotten the role.”
Although “Funny Girl” is not slated to play this season in Miami, McCrimmon is thrilled that she is performing just a short distance away, in Broward.
“When I was young, I did go to see plays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and, one time, I was a backup singer for Kristin Chenoweth in a show that was performed there,” she recalls.
In any case, she says, all of her family, along with “all of the friends I’ve ever known,” will be coming to Fort Lauderdale to see her in “Funny Girl.”
“Funny Girl” will be performed Tuesday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 26 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts,” 201 SW 5th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 33312. Tickets start at $45 are available at BrowardCenter.org, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the box office at 954-468-0222.