One of Broadway’s most persistent rumors was finally confirmed on Monday: Lea Michele will play Fanny Brice in the Funny girl Revival starting September 6, the show announced on social media. But Michele’s imminent arrival also comes amid the postponed departure of the revival’s original Fanny Brice, the circumstances surrounding Michele’s journey to land the role, and resurfaced memories of her alleged behavior on other projects.
“A dream come true is an understatement,” Michele said in an Instagram post. “I am so incredibly honored to be part of this amazing cast and production and to return to the stage and play Fanny Brice on Broadway. See you on September 6th.”
However, the announcement – which also revealed Tovah Feldshuh would be taking over the role of Mrs Brice from Jane Lynch – was not without controversy. We already knew that Beanie Feldstein (the series’ original Fanny Brice) and Lynch were planning to say goodbye at the end of September. But on Sunday evening, the Funny girlis Twitter bullied “Exciting casting announcements,” just as Feldstein released a statement pushing her high Funny girl departure by almost two months; The statement reportedly left the production “blind”.
Feldstein cited “the production taking the show in a different direction” as the reason for her new departure date; her last show will now be on July 31st; Julie Benko, substitute for Fanny Brice, will fill the role between Feldstein’s departure and Michele’s appearance.
“Playing Fanny Brice on Broadway has been a lifelong dream of mine and to do so for the past few months has been a great pleasure and honor,” Feldstein wrote. “When the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step down sooner than expected.”
Although Feldstein didn’t elaborate on what that direction was, Theater Twitter immediately took to the person whose name was linked to the Funny girl Revival long before she was officially there: Lea Michele.
Funny girl and the role of Fanny Brice have long been associated with Michele. On joyher character, Rachel Berry, starred in Season 1’s Don’t Rain on My Parade, and the character later starred in a Broadway revival of Funny girl. She would perform Funny girl‘s showstopper at the 64th Tony Awards, and back in 2017 Michele said she was interested Funny girl. When Feldstein’s casting was announced, Michele’s name started trending, which confused Feldstein at the time.
But between Feldstein’s cryptic testimony and the seemingly imminent arrival of Michele’s casting, people’s imaginations ran wild as they envisioned what behind-the-scenes drama led to these events (and how we might revisit it for decades to come).
People also used the casting to bring back the long-standing (but not very serious) conspiracy theory that Michele can’t read (which she debunked in 2018).
At Michele joy Co-starring Lynch in the original cast, people couldn’t help but imagine the possibility of Rachel Berry and Sue Sylvester colliding onstage — or not. (Lynch’s final appearance is now September 4th, so that potential joy Reunion does not take place.)
But not everyone was on board at the casting. Many highlighted previous accounts of Michele’s on-stage and off-stage behavior joy set that included instances of bullying and racism allegations from many of her former co-stars. Feldstein, whose performance as Fanny Brice received mixed reviews, was also thought by some to be treated unfairly.
“Lea Michele is proof that if you don’t change or learn when confronted with your reprehensible behavior, all your wildest dreams can come true!” Cody Wimmer tweeted. “Stay the course!!”
But even that aspect became meme fodder.
Michele and Feldshuh’s first performance will be on September 6th.
*Initial publication: July 11, 2022 at 5:15 p.m. CDT
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and television/film critic at the Daily Dot. Covering entertainment, geek culture and pop culture, she has covered everything from the Sundance Film Festival, NYFF and Tribeca to New York Comic Con and Con of Thrones. She lives in Brooklyn.
https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/lea-michele-funny-girl-memes/ Lea Michele replaces Beanie Feldstein in Funny Girl