Lea Michele as “Funny Girl”. Let’s start from the beginning. After the tragic killing of George Floyd in 2020, Glee actress Lea Michele took to her twitter to write “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter.”
This prompted ‘Glee’ actress Samantha Ware to sharply tweet back “LMAO, remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!! Cause I’ll never forget. I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity, you would SH*T in my wig- amongst other traumatic micro-aggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood…”
Alas, more of Michele’s past co-stars began coming out and detailing the actress’S nasty and racist behavior, including the late Naya Rivera.”I think Rachel- erm, I mean Lea – didn’t like sharing the spotlight,” she wrote in her 2016 book Sorry Not Sorry. And what’s worse? Not a single cast member came to Michele’s defense after numerous people came forward; it was the opposite. Support was offered to any and all people who felt victimized or oppressed by Lea Michele.
Fast forward to 2022. “Funny Girl” on Broadway currently stars Beanie Feldstein as the leading role of Fanny Bryce (and Jane Lynch as Mrs. Brice). While Feldstein’s reviews were subpar, this was a dream role for her – and she more than pulled it off. She took to her instagram yesterday to post the following about her early departure:
“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. Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated.”
Feldstein was originally set to depart the show in September, and now will have her last curtain call in July. Her reps would not comment on what she meant by ‘taking the show in a different direction’, but many are speculating. Did it have anything to do with her successor? Jane Lynch, who plays Mrs. Brice, was also supposed to stay on past September, but now will be departing before Lea Michele takes over the role (Lynch will be replaced by Tovah Feldshuh). If anyone was hoping for a ‘Glee’ reunion, they will be sorely disappointed. Again, many have speculated… does Lynch’s early departure have anything to do with Michele joining the cast?
People in the Broadway community have also expressed frustration with the new casting:
Reps for Michele have yet to make a statement. While Michele did apologize in 2020 amid the bullying and racist allegations, many were not satisfied. At what point do we move on? Should Michele not have been cast in the role if she was “canceled?” Was she even canceled at all?! These are questions we are left pondering in 2022. Lea Michele will take over as Fanny Brice officially on September 25th, 2022.