It’s official: Lea Michele will perform in the Broadway version of “Funny Girl” in Beanie Feldstein’s place. Approximately two months before she was supposed to leave the production, Feldstein announced on Sunday night that she will be departing the play on July 31. She explained that the choice to leave early was made by the production in order “to push the show in a different path.”
On September 6, Michele, who has long been expected to replace Feldstein, will take on the role of Fanny Brice. Julie Benko, the show’s stand-in, will play the title role from August 2 through September 4, and every Thursday starting on September 8. In addition, Jane Lynch, who portrays Fanny’s mother Mrs. Brice, is departing the production earlier than anticipated. Beginning on September 6, Tovah Feldshuh (“Yentl”) will take her place.
Some people view Michele’s casting as the vivacious comedian and chanteuse Fanny Brice as evidence that manifestation is genuine. Her desire to play the lead in “Funny Girl,” the role that made Barbra Streisand become famous, has been long (and vocally) acknowledged, and the musical even played a significant role in the storyline for her “Glee” character.
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When asked by a fan in 2017 if she would ever feature in “Funny Girl,” she replied, “I truly hope so,” during her appearance on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.” At the time, she said, “We were thinking of doing it directly after ‘Glee,’ but I did a lot of the songs from ‘Funny Girl’ on ‘Glee,’ so it felt like too soon. But I feel pretty prepared to do it right now, so perhaps we can proceed quickly. After the news was revealed, Michele posted on Instagram, saying, “A dream come true is an understatement.” “I feel beyond blessed to be a part of this incredible cast and production and to make my Broadway stage debut as Fanny Brice. On September 6th, see you.
On April 24 at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre, the revival of “Funny Girl” debuted to mixed reviews. Feldstein initially said that she would be leaving the position on September 25 after the Tonys, during which the show was blanked. Lynch was never intended to appear alongside her fellow “Glee” graduates because she was also planned to quit the programme on that day.
However, the casting brings Michele back together with “Funny Girl” producer and director Michael Mayer, who also directed “Spring Awakening.” The coming-of-age musical “Spring Awakening,” which debuted on Broadway in 2006 and featured Michele, Jonathan Groff, and John Gallagher Jr., garnered Mayer a Tony for directing.
Brice’s incredible ascent to popularity and her turbulent relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein are both followed in “Funny Girl.” Streisand played Brice in the 1964 Broadway debut of the play, which received eight Tony Award nominations, including best musical. Only one Tony nomination was given to the revival, which debuted six decades after the original, for Jared Grimes’ portrayal of Eddie Ryan, a dancer who Brice encounters while attending a vaudeville performance.