Lea Michele, the Glee grad who famously played Fanny Brice on the show-within-the-Fox show, today will take her final bow in Broadway’s Funny Girl revival.
In a farewell post on Instagram shared ahead of her last performance, Michele called Fanny “the role of a lifetime.”
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“For the past year, I’ve had the honor and privilege of playing the iconic Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on the August Wilson Stage,” she wrote. “An opportunity my younger self could have only dreamed of. And did.”
As Glee fans will recall, Michele’s Rachel Berry first auditioned for the role of Fanny in the Season 4 episode “Sweet Dreams.” She made her Broadway debut in the Season 5 episode “Opening Night,” for which she received a glowing review in the New York Times. But soon after, Rachel departed Broadway to star in her own sitcom, That’s So Rachel, which was cancelled after one low-rated episode.
“I’ve always felt a deep love and connection to this story,” Michele said on Instagram. “And to Fanny, a remarkable woman who relentlessly blazed a trail in the entertainment industry. Somehow her essence has continuously been serving as inspiration and motivation throughout the most pivotal corners of my life.
“From watching Funny Girl for the first time while I was in [Broadway’s] Spring Awakening, to singing the songs on Glee as Rachel Berry, to performing in front of Barbra Streisand at [MusiCares], to holding my newborn son in my arms when I learned that this spectacular show would be returning to Broadway, to sitting in the audience for the first time, completely unsure of what the next few months of my life would become… To now, my final performance and the final curtain close of what was truly an exceptional chapter of my life. Fanny Brice has been a part of my career from the very beginning and no words can describe what it has meant for me to play this role on Broadway and make it my own.”
Michele went on to thank the stage production’s “talented cast and hardworking crew,” “every single person who came to see our show,” and her family and friends.
“Your support, enthusiasm, applause and standing ovations have brought me to tears more times than I can count,” she wrote. “I am forever grateful.”
“As I take my final bow tonight, I’m carrying all of these overwhelming emotions with me as I end an unbelievable chapter of my life,” Michele closed her statement. “Broadway has changed my life in the most unforgettable ways and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of its remarkable history. Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you. I cannot wait to see what’s next.”
Michele made her Funny Girl debut in September 2022, replacing American Crime Story’s Beanie Feldstein, who took her final bow that July. She performed “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” the iconic show-stopping number from the hit musical, at this year’s Tony Awards.
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