Inside Lea Michele’s Opening Night in Funny Girl on Broadway

Lea Michele received wide praise from the audience during her Funny Girl opening night, which had special guests in attendance.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez Sep 07, 2022 2:17 AMTags
Watch: Lea Michele Addresses Past Work Allegations & "Illiterate" Rumors

Lea Michele is the greatest star on her Funny Girl opening night. 

The Glee alum wowed audiences on Sept. 6 as she stepped into the shoes Fanny Brice for the first time after replacing Beanie Feldstein, who left the broadway show sooner than expected in July. 

Lots of big stars showed up to see Michele's debut. An eyewitness tells E! News that Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy and Drew Barrymore were in attendance, and that Lea received four standing ovations during the first act. 

The eyewitness added, "The applause and cheering have been nonstop since Lea first came on stage."

Variety reporter Rebecca Rubin noted that Glee actor Jonathan Groff and Zachary Quinto were also in the crowd. The reporter shared a video on Twitter of Ryan and Jonathan hugging during the show's intermission. 

Rubin uploaded a snapshot of Lea's bio on the show's playbill, where it read that the Les Misérables performer "is thrilled to be returning to Broadway."

E!'s eyewitness says that it was "phenomenal" to see Michele work her magic "in such an iconic and perfectly fitting role."

Another eyewitness tells E! News the energy in the room "was crazy," adding, "The audience was losing their minds at pretty much anything Lea did."

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Michele's return so far could be marked as a success, with Wall Street Journal social media editor Gianna Barberia writing on Twitter that the Scream Queens actress "brought the house down during 'His Love Makes Me Beautiful' and 'You Are Woman, I Am Man.'"

Barberia also tweeted about an exchange during the show, which prompted a response from the crowd familiar with the internet rumor that Michele can't read or write.

"I'm praying that someone has a video of Fanny saying 'I don't read many books' to Nick right before 'People,'" the editor wrote. "The laughter and gasps from the audience has energized me for the week."

In response to the rumors, Lea told the New York Times in an interview published Sept. 1 that the allegations were "sad."

"I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day," she told the publication. "And then there's a rumor online that I can't read or write? It's sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn't be the case."

— Reporting by Charles O'Keefe

This story was originally published on Sept. 6, 2022 at 7:17p.m. PT and updated at 7:35 p.m. PT with additional eyewitness information.

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