Lea Michele Kicks Off Rehearsals for Funny Girl amid Controversy

new york, new york june 12 lea michele attends the 75th annual tony awards at radio city music hall on June 12, 2022 in new york city photo by dia dipasupilgetty images

Dia DipasupilGetty Images

In a way, Lea Michele has been auditioning for the lead role in Funny Girl her entire life, and now that she has it, she’s working hard to deliver a dazzling performance.

Yesterday, the Glee star shared a glimpse of her Broadway show script on her Instagram Story, writing, “Here we go… ,” and adding a red heart emoji, suggesting that she is starting rehearsals for the musical.

lea michele

Lea Michele/Instagram

Producers for the Broadway production of Funny Girl announced earlier this month that Michele would take over the lead role of Fanny Brice from Beanie Feldstein, who revealed just hours before that she’d be departing the show months before her run was set to end.

“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 in a telling Instagram post. “Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated.”

Broadway fanatics, theater critics, and former Gleeks quickly took to social media to share their thoughts on the casting decision, with some supporting Michele and others speculating on her backstage behavior following claims of her toxic attitude on the Glee set. (Notably, Jane Lynch, who played Sue Sylvester opposite Michele on Glee and now plays Rose Brice in the current Funny Girl revival, is ending her run early, too, days before Michele is set to take over as Fanny.)

Michele did not address the controversy, but rather happily celebrated her accomplishment in an Instagram post. “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. See you September 6th. @funnygirlbwy #FUNNYGIRL,” she wrote.

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Michele landing the role as Fanny doesn’t come as a surprise—as she has long been considered a front-runner for the dramedy—but there’s certainly a level of irony to the decision, as it seems her fate on Broadway was prewritten for her by Glee‘s producers. On the musical series, Michele played unpopular diva Rachel Berry, a devout Funny Girl disciple who, after moving to New York City to act and excelling in drama school, also snagged the lead in the fictional Broadway revival of Funny Girl.

“And in the end glee was just lea michele’s six season long audition for funny girl,” a Twitter user wrote in reaction to the news.

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