Lea Michele to Star in ‘Funny Girl’ After Beanie Feldstein’s Departure
The former “Glee” star will share the stage with Tovah Feldshuh, who will replace Jane Lynch as Fanny Brice’s mother, starting Sept. 6.
The actress Lea Michele will take over as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” in early September, the show said Monday, after Beanie Feldstein’s abrupt announcement that she would be leaving the role earlier than expected.
Feldstein wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday night that her “dream” run as Brice, a spunky stage performer who shoots to stardom with the Ziegfeld Follies, would end on July 31, instead of the previously announced date of Sept. 25
Without elaborating, Feldstein, whose performance in the role received tepid reviews, wrote that she would leave the musical early because the production had “decided to take the show in a different direction.”
The show quickly signaled that it had her successor waiting in the wings, and on Monday, it was announced that Michele — who starred in the original Broadway production of “Spring Awakening” and is best known for her central role on the television show “Glee” — would be debuting in the role on Sept. 6.
Until then, the actress Julie Benko, who has been playing Brice as Feldstein’s understudy, will step in. Under a new arrangement, Benko will continue to perform in the role once a week, on Thursdays, after Michele takes over.
In an Instagram post after the news was announced, Michele wrote: “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.”
The show also announced that the actress Tovah Feldshuh, who starred in the original Broadway production of “Yentl,” will be taking over the role of Brice’s doting mother, who is currently being played by Jane Lynch.
The show had previously announced that Lynch would be leaving after Sept. 25, but the new announcement moved her departure a few weeks earlier. That timetable means that Michele and Lynch, who were co-stars on “Glee,” will not be performing together.
After Barbra Streisand originated the role of Brice in the original 1964 production, the show evaded a Broadway revival for decades, partly because comparisons with Streisand’s star-making performance seemed hard to escape.
It has been no secret that Michele — who opened each chapter of her 2014 memoir, “Brunette Ambition,” with a Streisand or Brice quote — had interest in the role.