- Lea Michele will take over as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Broadway starting on September 6.
- Tovah Feldshuh will replace Jane Lynch as Mrs. Brice starting on the same date.
- Beanie Feldstein announced Sunday that she will be leaving on July 31 after the production “decided to take the show in a different direction.”
Lea Michele will replace Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” on Broadway, the show announced Monday.
She will begin her run on September 6, alongside Tovah Feldshuh, who will be joining the cast as Mrs. Brice on the same date.
Fans had been speculating Michele would take over the lead, mainly because of her cover of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” while playing Rachel Berry in season one of “Glee,” the character’s lifelong dream of playing Fanny Brice, and the similarities Michele shares with both Fanny Brice and Streisand.
Feldstein initially announced in June that she would be leaving the production on September 25 alongside co-star Jane Lynch.
But the actress then posted an update Sunday evening stating that she had moved her last show up by two months. Her final curtain call will now be July 31.
“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 on Instagram.
“Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated,” she continued.
Standby Julie Benko will take over the role until Michele steps in.
Feldstein has been starring as the iconic Fanny Brice — a role originated by Barbara Streisand in 1964 — since the Broadway revival of the show opened in April.
Her highly anticipated performance was met with harsh criticism: The Hollywood Reporter wrote that “she has a lovely, light singing voice in a part that often calls for big-belt power, and she reads girlish, never quite selling the consuming hunger that propels Fanny to stardom in the early-1920s Ziegfeld Follies.”
The review adds that Feldstein “leans hard on the comedy with enormous charm, but she struggles to locate the raw vulnerability of Fanny in later years.”
Similarly, The New York Times wrote “Feldstein is not stupendous. She’s good. She’s funny enough in places, and immensely likable always.”
It continues: “You root for her to raise the roof, but she only bumps against it a little. Her voice, though solid and sweet and clear, is not well suited to the music, and you feel her working as hard as she can to power through the gap.”
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