Lea Michele to Star in ‘Funny Girl’ After Benny Feldstein Exits

Actress Lea Michele will take over the role of Fanny Price in the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” in early September, the show said Monday after Benny Feldstein. Sudden announcement That he will leave the role earlier than expected.

Feldstein wrote in an Instagram post Sunday night that his “dream” run as Price, starring Ziegfeld’s Follies, will end on July 31 instead of the previously announced September 25 date. , Feldstein, whose performance in the role received lukewarm reviews, wrote He would leave the musical early as production “decided to take the show in a different direction”.

The show quickly signaled that its successor was waiting in the wings, and on Monday, it was announced that Michael — who starred in the original Broadway production of “Spring Awakening” and is best known for his lead role on the TV show “Glee” ” — Sep. He will make his debut in the role on the 6th.

Until then, actress Julie Benko, who had been playing Feldstein’s understudy Bryce, will step in. Under the new arrangement, Benko will play the role once a week on Thursdays after Michael takes over.

In an Instagram post after the news broke, Michael wrote: “A shortcoming is a dream come true. I am so honored to be back on Broadway playing Fanny Price with this wonderful cast and production.

The show also announced that actress Tovah Feldshuh, who starred in the original Broadway production of “Yentl,” will take over the role of Bryce’s doting mother, currently played by Jane Lynch. The show previously announced that Lynch would be leaving after September 25, but the new announcement comes weeks before her departure. That schedule means Michael and Lynch, who were co-stars on “Glee,” won’t star together.

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show, after Barbra Streisand originated the role of Price in the original 1964 production Broadway has avoided revivals for decadesAs comparisons to Streisand’s star-making performance seemed hard to escape.

It’s no secret that Michelle — who opened every chapter of her 2014 memoir, “Brunette Ambition” with a Streisand or Price quote — was interested in the role. His character’s central storyline on “Glee” involved playing Bryce, the cutthroat captain of the high school glee club the show is based on, giving Michael the chance to sing songs like “People” and “I’m the Greatest Star.” during the series.

“Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy, who had acquired the “Funny Girl” rights, thought that Michelle’s character would be auditioning for the role on the TV series and, perhaps, Michelle would star on the show in real life. In a 2017 appearance On Andy Cohen’s talk show, Michelle said she was considering collaborating on a Broadway production after “Glee” ended, but said it felt too soon because she performed so many songs on the TV show.

“But I feel like I’m ready to do it now, so we can do it soon,” he said on the show.

That dream didn’t come true — until now.

Michael was 8 when she made her Broadway debut as Young Cosette in “Les Miserables,” but focused primarily on television for more than a decade. Michelle sang at the Tony Awards last month Reunification performance With the rest of the original cast of “Spring Awakening.”

In 2020, meal-kit company HelloFresh ended its partnership with Michael, after former “Glee” castmate Samantha Marie Ware, Black, tweeted that Michael was responsible for “shocking microaggressions.” Posted by Michael An apology statement On Instagram, Ware said she didn’t recall a specific comment she wrote, but said she was reflecting on her past behavior. “Whether I was perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times due to my privileged position and perspective, or whether it was my immaturity and unnecessary inconvenience, I apologize for my behavior and the pain I caused,” she wrote.

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The current production of “Funny Girl,” which opened in April at the August Wilson Theatre, has enjoyed strong ticket sales, averaging $1.2 million each week in the 14 full weeks since opening. The show’s only nomination at last month’s Tony Awards was for Jared Grimes’ role as Price’s friend, Eddie Ryan, a top-dance extraordinaire who helps Price’s rise in show business.

Grimes will continue in his role, as will Ramin Karimloo, who played Price’s tender love interest, Nick Ornstein.

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