The show features music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart. To be directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, the musical will play at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from Jan. 15 through Feb. 26, prior to opening on Broadway next spring.
"It's always been my dream to star in a Broadway musical," Cannavale said in a statement. "This is a terrific role for my musical theater debut and an exciting challenge for me. I look forward to working with the brilliant Bartlett Sher and the amazingly talented Lauren Ambrose."
"I think it is fair to say Bobby is one of the finest artists working on an American stage today, and we are very fortunate to have him joining us on this adventure. Bobby has all of the qualities I feel you want in casting Nick Arnstein," Sher said. "Nicky Arnstein was a gangster and con man and elegant, charming bon vivant all rolled into one. Bobby is wonderful at playing charismatic streetwise characters, he's a magnetic stage actor, equally adept with comedy and drama, plus he'll be a dashing presence in Nick Arnstein's tuxes and ruffled shirts. More than anything, 'Funny Girl' is a love story and it needs a powerful couple at its center. I'm thrilled that he's joining Lauren Ambrose and I think they are going to be wonderful as Nicky and Fanny."
Cannavale has appeared on the TV shows "Will & Grace," "Nurse Jackie," "Cupid" and Ambrose's "Six Feet Under." His film credits include "The Station Agent," "Win Win," "The Other Guys," "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" and "Shall We Dance."