Lea Michele Confirmed to Star in Broadway's Funny Girl After Beanie Feldstein Exit

Hours after Beanie Feldstein announced she was stepping away from the role of Fanny Brice in Broadway's Funny Girl, the production announced that Lea Michele is taking on the part in September.

By Elyse Dupre Jul 11, 2022 7:54 PMTags
Watch: Lea Michele REPLACES Beanie Feldstein in Funny Girl

It's Lea Michele's turn at bat, sir.

The actress is replacing Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice in the Broadway production of Funny Girl. She's not the only one joining the cast. Tovah Feldshuh is taking over the role of Mrs. Brice from Michele's former Glee co-star Jane Lynch. Both Michele and Feldshuh will start their runs September 6. 

"A dream come true is an understatement," Michele wrote in a July 11 Instagram post. "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. @funnygirlbwy #FUNNYGIRL."

The news comes less than 24 hours after Feldstein announced she was leaving Funny Girl earlier than expected.

"Playing Fanny Brice on Broadway has been a lifelong dream of mine, and doing so for the last few months has been a great joy and true honor," she wrote on Instagram July 10. "Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated."

Stars on Stage: Broadway & Beyond

While Feldstein did not go into specifics, she noted her last show would be at the end of this month. Both she and Lynch were originally scheduled to star in the production until September 25. Standby Julie Benko will play Fanny after Feldstein's departure and before Michele's arrival, from August 1 through September 4. Lynch's last show will be September 4.

Even though Feldstein is bowing out early, she's looking back fondly on her time in the production.  

"I will never forget this experience and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person who came to the August Wilson for the love and support you have shown me and our amazing cast and crew," the Booksmart star continued. "The people I have had the great joy of bringing  to life with every night, both on and off the stage, are all remarkably talented and exceptional humans and I hope you continue to join them on Henry Street after I depart on July 31st." 

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions, Noam Galai/Getty Images

Feldstein received mixed reviews on her portrayal of Fanny, a role played by Barbra Streisand in the original Broadway production and in the 1968 movie. It was announced in August 2021 that the Impeachment: American Crime Story alum would play Fanny and at the time Michele congratulated her on getting the part.

"Yes!" she wrote underneath Feldstein's Instagram announcement. "YOU are the greatest star! This is going to be epic!!!"

Michele has starred in a number of Broadway productions over the years, including  Les MisérablesRagtimeFiddler on the Roof and Spring Awakening. While on Glee, she also sang several songs from Funny Girl, and her character, Rachel Berry, even auditioned for and eventually landed the part of Fanny.

And during a 2017 episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Michele expressed her interest in playing the part in real life (Glee creator Ryan Murphy, who held the Funny Girl rights at one point, spoke to Entertainment Weekly in 2014 about his hopes to bringing the show to Broadway with Michele in the lead role).

"We were thinking of doing it right after Glee, but I did a lot of the songs from Funny Girl on Glee so it felt like a little soon," Michele, who made headlines in 2020 for her alleged onset behavior on the Fox series, told Andy Cohen at the time. "But I feel really ready to do it now. So maybe we can do it soon."

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