The day has arrived! Tonight Lea Michele takes over from Beanie Feldstein in the iconic role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Broadway.
It has not been without controversy – something covered well at the weekend in an interview with Michele in the New York Times.
The photos first appeared in Entertainment Weekly (see link below), where she told EW: “I was speaking with Harvey Fierstein, whom I adore about my first performance on Tuesday. He asked how I was feeling about this big night coming up. I told him I’m feeling ‘over the moon and so nervous at the exact same time.’ He told me ‘that’s called being alive and to live in that feeling.’ It was the perfect advice.”
The show recently shared video of Lea Michele in rehearsal for the role.
Lea Michele starts her run as Fanny Brice tonight, 6 September 2022, at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway, and will stay in the show until 2023. Julie Benko, who has been performing the role throughout August, from when Beanie Feldstein left until Lea Michele takes over, will also cover for Lea on Thursday nights.
Lea Michele stars alongside Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein, in a show directed by Michael Mayer, reuniting with Lea after their famous Broadway production of Spring Awakening. Plus the show has a new book by Broadway royalty Harvey Fierstein.
In Ryan Murphy TV series Glee, Lea Michele played Rachel Berry, who was obsessed with Barbra Streisand – who was the first performer to play Fanny Brice on stage and screen and whose legend in the role looms large (the show hasn’t been revived on Broadway since the original 1964 production!). In Glee, Rachel ends up scoring the dream role of Fanny in a Broadway production, and in a “life imitates art” kind of way, at the time Murphy wanted to produce an actual Funny Girl show.
That didn’t happen, so this in some way feels like unfinished business for Lea Michele., who now gets to sing “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “Who Are You Now,” “My Man,” and “People” on a Broadway stage, night after night.
Lea Michele recently told the New York Times that: “I didn’t feel like there was anything new that I could bring”, but that now, “I feel more ready than I ever have before, both personally and professionally.”
The world will be watching.