“You back there! I see you. You’re not standing, bitch. Groff, grab my prunes, a wig needs shitting in.”
After successfully praying at her altar to the dark Gods for Beanie Feldstein’s downfall, Lea Michele made her debut as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Broadway last night, and apparently, it was a success. And it was such a success that Lea reportedly got seven standing ovations. Although, the audience was filled with her friends and past co-workers like Jonathan Groff, Ryan Murphy, Drew Barrymore, Lee Pace, Zachary Quinto, and many theater people like Harvey Fierstein. So they had to stand or Lea Michele would get their asses! And Lea probably made her assistant hide electro shock pads on each chair and trigger that shit every time Lea wanted a standing O. But still, Lea is now out of the cancel corner and is back! And I’m sure that her power bars of evil are quickly recharging as Jonathan Groff reads her all the words of praise for her performance this morning.
The first Fanny Brice of Broadway’s Funny Girl revival, Beanie Feldstein, ended her run early in July after she got mixed to bad reviews and didn’t get a Tony nomination. Julie Benko, who is the standby for Fanny and has gotten lots of love for her performance, took over the lead role until Lea Michele stepped into it last night. It was also opening night for Tovah Feldush who plays Mrs. Brice, the role Jane Lynch originated in this revival. We learned from Lea’s New York Times interview that she really started manifesting her way into the Funny Girl revival last November, months before the show even opened in April, when she let director Michael Mayer know that if Beanie’s run as Fanny should ever end, she’d be “honored” to take over. And after she said that, I’m sure she stepped to the side, quietly pulled out her Beanie Feldstein voodoo doll, and choked it some more.
Lea has been ready for this for eons. She played Fanny in episodes of Glee, and I’m sure she also played Fanny in many Friday night living room productions of Funny Girl that she made her family sit through. But last night, she played Fanny in an actual Broadway production of Funny Girl, and here she is yodeling out Don’t Rain On My Parade:
— Lea Michele Brasil Mídias (@LeaMBRCom) September 7, 2022
Deadline says that last night’s audience got their cardio in because they stood for Lea’s entrance and kept the standing Os coming for a grand total of seven throughout the show. They also laughed when Lea (as Fanny) admitted she hasn’t read many books. And Lea was actually pointing at BFF Groff in that header pic:
At least four standing ovations before intermission. Sounds like Lea Michele’s first night as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl went, well, gleefully.
More ovations followed throughout the evening, including an extended and rousing one at the final curtain, with a sobbing Michele and co-star Tovah Feldshuh, also making her debut, accepting large bouquets of white roses.
Among those standing: Former Spring Awakening castmate Jonathan Groff, Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Harvey Fierstein, who added some new material to this musical revival. Also in attendance was Zachary Quinto. During the curtain call, Michele appeared to point to, and wave at, Groff.
Michele is making her public debut in the show tonight, and although critics won’t be in attendance until later this month, audience members are already taking to social media with reactions and accounts from the show. Sources at the August Wilson Theatre tell Deadline that Michele received her first standing ovation upon her entrance, and there were at least three more before the end of the first act.
Michele also apparently got a big laugh from one of the show’s more innocuous bits of dialogue – though given the crazy conspiracy rumors about her literacy, the quip was more than a little weighted: Early in the show, Fanny recalls growing up on Henry Street in Brooklyn, and notes, “I hadn’t read many books.”
Here’s the curtain call:
Okay, but honestly, the producers still made the wrong decision. Instead of casting Lea, they should’ve reworked the revival and just played this clip of Robin Williams as the Mrs. Doubtfire dad as Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice on a loop for audiences.
Shit, I stood EIGHT times during that 13-second clip. Take that, Lea!
Pic: Bruce Glikas/WireImage