Update, 8/4/22: Lea Michele has canceled the rest of her summer "Life in Music" tour to focus on rehearsals for Funny Girl. The concert run had six scheduled dates at City Winery venues in D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and Nashville, and Michele only performed at three of them.
After the announcement of her role as Fanny Brice, Michele wrote on Instagram, "A dream come true is an understatement. 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."
Michele has not commented on the cancelation of the shows.
Original, 7/11/22: Funny Girl has a new Fanny Brice.
After weeks of speculation, Funny Girl producers announced today that Lea Michele will be taking over the show's main role starting September 6. Michele made her Broadway debut at just eight years old in Les Misérables, and originated the role of Wendla in Spring Awakening; the actress has long been open about wanting to star in a Funny Girl revival.
Her Glee character, Rachel Berry, stars in the Funny Girl revival in the show's fifth season. In 2017, Michele said she's ready to star in the show in real life. "I did a concert in Central Park," she said. "I did like nine Funny Girl songs and turned to Ryan [Murphy] and I was like, OK, I'm ready to do it. It's a lot of work and it would be an honor to do it. But if I'm going to go back [to Broadway] that's what I'd really like to do." Throughout Glee, her character often performed songs from Funny Girl.
Current Funny Girl star Beanie Feldstein took to Instagram last night to share she'd be leaving the production early in a surprise announcement."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," Feldstein wrote. "Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated."
"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," she continued. "The people I have had the great joy of bringing Funny Girl 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."
Feldstein was initially scheduled to end her run on September 25th. Jane Lynch, who portrays Fanny's mother, Mrs. Rosie Brice, will also end her run early, on September 4. Four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh will take over as Rosie Brice. Ramin Karimloo and Jared Grimes will remain in the show as Nick Arnstein and Eddie Ryan, respectively. From August 2 through September 4, Fanny Brice standby Julie Benko will perform the title role, and Benko will also perform as Brice on Thursdays during Michele's run.
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