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Lea Michele to Replace Beanie Feldstein in Broadway Revival of ‘Funny Girl’


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Lea Michele has been tapped to replace Beanie Feldstein in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl, producers said Monday.

Michele will take over the title role of Fanny Brice from Feldstein, who departs the show July 31.

Meanwhile, Tovah Feldshuh has been cast as Jane Lynch’s replacement. Lynch will continue to play Mrs. Brice, Fanny’s mom, through Sept. 4.

Fanny Brice standby Julie Benko will perform the title role from Aug. 2-Sept. 4 and on Thursdays starting Sept. 8; Jared Grimes and Ramin Karimloo will continue in their roles as Eddie Ryan and Nick Arnstein, respectively.

The news comes a day after Feldstein announced in an Instagram post that she would be departing the show July 31, earlier than anticipated. Last month, producers said she and Lynch would be departing their roles Sept. 25 instead of at year’s end, which had originally been expected.

In her post, Feldstein said the decision came after producers “decided to take the show in a different direction,” but did not elaborate further.

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

Understudy Ephie Aardema made her debut in the role at the 2 p.m. Sunday show, according to a tweet that was retweeted by the official account.

The revival debuted in April to mixed reviews, with many arguing that Feldstein failed to fill the big shoes left by Barbra Streisand, who originated the role on Broadway in 1964, earning a Tony nom, and subsequently won an Oscar for her performance in the 1968 film adaptation.

Feldstein “has a lovely, light singing voice in a part that often calls for big-belt power,” The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney wrote in his review, while noting that Streisand’s “legacy is a lot to live up to, for any performer.”

Feldstein last month missed several performances after testing positive for COVID-19.

The current revival earned a single Tony nomination at the 2022 ceremony, for featured actor Grimes.

Emmy nominee Michele is known for her theater roles in productions like Spring Awakening, which earned her a Drama Desk Award nomination, and TV series including Glee. Tony nominee Feldshuh’s credits include Broadway’s Yentl and the TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

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