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Lea Michele
Photograph: Courtesy of the artistLea Michele

It's official: Lea Michele replaces Beanie Feldstein in Broadway's Funny Girl

Feldstein will leave the production early on July 31.

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

It's been no secret that the vultures have been swirling around the troubled Broadway production of the musical Funny Girl. The birds are now feasting with today's official news that  Lea Michele—the erstwhile star of TV's Glee and Broadway's Spring Awakening—will take over the show's leading role of Fanny Brice starting September 6, 2022.

Inspired by the history of the early-20th-century Ziegfeld Follies singer-comedian and radio star Fanny Brice, Funny Girl helped make Barbra Streisand a megastar in 1964, but its current revival—the show's first on Broadway—has proved far less salubrious for its young star, Beanie Feldstein. Many of us had high hopes that Feldstein, a talented comic actor, would find a successful new spin on the role, but her reviews were mostly brutal, and she has gone on to miss many performances, whether because of illness or pre-scheduled absences. Meanwhile, her standby for those performances, Julie Benko, has been the subject of excited buzz and praise throughout the process, which can't have made things easier for the beleaguered Beanie.

Last month, the production announced that Feldstein and costar Jane Lynch would leave the production on September 25, considerably earlier than planned; unconfirmed rumors swirled that Michele, who has made no secret of her interest in playing Fanny, would be her replacement. The situation got more dramatic yesterday when Feldstein posted a cryptic message to her instagram account, revealing that she would be leaving Funny Girl even earlier—on July 31—because "the production decided to take the show in a different direction."

That direction is now official: Lea Michele will assume the role of Fanny on September 6, with Broadway veteran Tovah Feldshuh (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) replacing Lynch as Brice's mother, as a little birdie told us last night. (Sorry, Glee fans: That means no Rachel Berry–Sue Sylvester reunion.) Co-stars Ramin Karimloo and Jared Grimes will remain with the show, and the star-is-born standby Julie Benko will not only assume the role for all of August but also play it every Thursday once Michele takes over—like Donna Murphy's once-a-week gig in Hello, Dolly! a few years back. Isn't it funny how things work out? 

Tickets for Funny Girl are now on sale through March 26, 2023

Beanie Feldstein in Funny Girl
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew MurphyFunny Girl

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