Hey Mr. Arnstein, here she is! Lea Michele was announced today as the next Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl. The big news comes nearly 14 years after Lea exited her career-defining role of Wendla in Spring Awakening in 2008, and nearly 25 years after she made her Broadway debut as Young Cosette in Les Misérables. “A dream come true is an understatement. I’m so incredibly honored to join this amazing cast and production and return to the stage playing Fanny Brice on Broadway. See You September 6th,” Lea wrote on Instagram alongside the announcement. The former Glee star will join the cast beginning Tuesday September 6, alongside Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh, who will replace Jane Lynch as Rosie Brice.
If you recall Lea’s rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” as Rachel Barry in the thirteenth episode of season one of Glee, then you know she will shine in this role. Here she is! Lea will be filling the shoes of Beanie Feldstein, who originally announced she would be leaving Funny Girl in September; however, on July 10th, via a statement on Instagram, the actress revealed that due to production “deciding to take the show in a different direction,” she “made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated.” Jane Lynch, who stars as Rosie Brice, the mother of the heroine, is also expected to depart with Beanie, instead of performing until the previously announced date of September 25th.
Emmy Award-nominee LEA MICHELE and Tony Award-nominee TOVAH FELDSHUH join #FUNNYGIRL beginning September 6!
Don’t miss Beanie Feldstein until July 31 only, followed by @JujujulieBee through September 4.
See you at the August Wilson, gorgeous!⭐️ pic.twitter.com/bvqArWoMJa
— Funny Girl on Broadway (@FunnyGirlBwy) July 11, 2022
The Funny Girl Broadway revival is the first remake of the show that made Barbra Streisand famous in 1964. Lea was an early favorite for the central role of the biographical story based on 1920s Follies performer Fanny Brice, but production opted for Feldstein, who unfortunately received some unfavorable reviews. The recently engaged Booksmart star has missed an increasing number of performances in recent weeks, including yesterday’s matinee. Last month she missed a string of shows due to a positive COVID test.
Since Beanie announced her departure last month, rumors have circulated as to who would fill the major role, that brings with it inescapable comparisons to the incomparable Babs. Lea was an early favorite, as well as Beanie’s understudy Julie Benko, who has been met with rave audience feedback in recent weeks since she’s filled in for the exiting lead. The male leads, Ramin Karimloo and Jared Grimes are expected to remain with the show. With this new announcement, it was also revealed that current “Fanny Brice” standbyBenko will continue to perform the title role from Tuesday, August 2 – Sunday, September 4, 2022 and on Thursdays beginning Thursday, September 8, 2022.