At long last, Lea Michele plays ‘Funny Girl’ on Broadway — to six standing ovations

A woman wearing a fringe dress clasps her hands to her chest as others clap on a stage
Lea Michele takes her first curtain call as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City.
(Bruce Glikas / Getty Images)

No one rained on Lea Michele‘s parade during her highly anticipated “Funny Girl” debut.

The actor and singer made a triumphant return to Broadway on Tuesday night at the August Wilson Theatre where some of her fellow “Glee” alumni and other industry friends cheered her throughout the show, according to Variety. The trade magazine reported that Michele received six standing ovations before the evening concluded.

Michele’s first Broadway performance as Fanny Brice comes about two months after the Emmy nominee was officially tapped to replace Beanie Feldstein as the legendary Jewish vaudeville star in the “Funny Girl” revival. Feldstein announced in July that she would be ending her Broadway run “sooner than anticipated” after “the production decided to take the show in a different direction.”

Ahead of her debut in Broadway’s ‘Funny Girl,’ ‘Glee’ star Lea Michele discussed the allegations about her microaggressions and prima donna behavior.

Sept. 2, 2022

The casting decision was met with a mix of excitement and reproach, given that Michele is a controversial figure who has been accused of mistreating her co-stars in the past. During her time on “Glee,” Michele sang multiple “Funny Girl” songs — including a standout rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” — in character as Rachel Berry, who coincidentally went on to play Fanny in a Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” later in the series.


Last week, Michele addressed the bullying allegations leveled against her by “Glee” alum Samantha Marie Ware and others: “I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes,” she told the New York Times. “That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”

In the “Funny Girl” audience Tuesday night was “Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy, as well as former “Glee” actor Jonathan Groff, who also starred opposite Michele in the Broadway production “Spring Awakening.” Other entertainment luminaries in attendance included Zachary Quinto, Drew Barrymore and Harvey Fierstein, according to Variety.

‘Glee’ actor Lea Michele will star in ‘Funny Girl’ on Broadway. The ‘different direction’ pushed Beanie Feldstein to exit two months earlier than expected.

July 11, 2022

Video footage shared by Variety’s Rebecca Rubin shows the leading lady bowing deeply while crying as the crowd showers her with applause during her first curtain call as Fanny Brice, a role originated by the legendary Barbra Streisand.

“For the Fannys who have fearlessly graced this stage before me ... You all have climbed the mountain that is Fanny and I am honored to be in your company,” Michele, for which this was a dream role, posted Tuesday on Instagram. “And of course, @BarbraStreisand, our queen.”