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Lea Michele Will Take the Place of Beanie Feldstein in the Broadway Production of ‘Funny Girl’

In the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl,” the actress will take Beanie Feldstein’s position starting on September 6. A well-known Barbra Streisand superfan, Michele famously sang the show’s iconic “Don’t Rain on My Parade” in the first season of television’s “Glee” and subsequently performed the song at the 2010 Tony Awards.

Streisand created the part of Fanny Brice onstage in 1964. She openly indicated interest in playing the role on a talk show appearance years ago, igniting social media excitement in the prospect of her accepting it. Ever since Feldstein’s departure was revealed, she has been reported to be the new lead.

Fanny Brice and Michele have a history together; Rachel Berry, a character Michele played on the television program “Glee,” sang numerous “Funny Girl” songs, and she even got the part in the resurrection of the made-up world. A fantasy come true is an understatement, Michele posted on Instagram on Monday afternoon when the plotline really materialized.

After years of rumors and further delays, the well-received production “Funny Girl,” which was made into a popular Streisand-starring movie in 1968, finally debuted in late April. Feldstein revealed in June that her final performance will be on September 25 after she took a break from the program due to a coronavirus test that came back positive. On Twitter, the show announced the news and noted that Mrs. Brice’s actor, Jane Lynch, will also be leaving at that time.

Lea Michele Is Replacing Beanie Feldstein in 'Funny Girl' on Broadway

Feldstein later revealed in a message published on Instagram Sunday night that she will be departing “Funny Girl” two months sooner than originally planned. She explained her early departure from the play, a very rare event on Broadway, as the result of the production choosing to “move the musical in a different path.”

According to the statement, “I will never forget this experience and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person who attended the August Wilson [Theatre] for the love and support you have shown me and our incredible cast and crew.” The cast and crew of Funny Girl that I have had the pleasure of working with every night, both on and off stage, are all extraordinarily gifted people.

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Lynch will make her farewell appearance on September 4, departing sooner than anticipated. Tovah Feldshuh, a four-time Tony nominee, will portray Mrs. Brice. (Standby Julie Benko will perform the role of Fanny Brice in August and starting in September on Thursdays.)

The reviews for “Funny Girl” were overwhelmingly unfavorable. Frank Rizzo of Variety described it as “underpowered.” According to Jesse Green of the New York Times, the resurrection “shows why it took so long.” Critics criticized Feldstein’s vocal skills, particularly in comparison to Streisand’s, while noting her ardent character.

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“While, for instance, you thought explicitly that Streisand was a star, with Feldstein, your greatest conviction is that she feels she’s a star,” wrote Peter Marks of The Washington Post.

In mid-May, “Funny Girl” filled the August Wilson to 97.8 percent capacity, according to weekly figures from the Broadway League, a trade association. This was likely due to the popularity of pre-review advance purchases. Early in July, that percentage fell to little under 75%.

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