Home Celebrity “Glee” Star Lea Michele At “Hair” Premiere After Pink Slip

Poor little Lea Michele. Imagine getting fired from your wildly popular TV show and the news breaks while you’re sitting in a Broadway premiere. A premiere, by the way, filled with press people. And so, as the revival of “Hair” went into intermission, many of us got messages on our electronic devices that Michele, Cory Montieth and Chris Colfer were not going to make it into the fourth season of “Glee.” Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, told the Hollywood Reporter this, and the news spread like wildfire. You look down at the Blackberry and then behind me four rows is the very same Lea Michele, squirreled into her seat and buried beneath large hat, hidden by boyfriend Theo Stockman, a former member of the “Hair” cast (and son of novelist Jayne Anne Phillips).

Timing is everything. Lea — who will likely headlining a revival of “Funny Girl” headed to Broadway– was not so pleased to be recognized, but polite nonetheless. This reporter tried to make it seem like an opportunity–“You could star in a Broadway show,” I said to her with hopefulness. “I’ve never been in a Broadway show,” she replied. I’m sure she was thinking that she’d signed a five or six year contract with “Glee,” so what gives? Good question. Even the kids from “Beverly Hills 90210” were allowed to age into college.

Meanwhile, “Hair” — now in its third or fourth version since its 2008 smash in Central Park–is better than ever. Who’da thunk it? This cast has been on the national tour, and will play the St. James Theater–once home to “Hello, Dolly!” and “The Producers” — for ten weeks. It’s joyous, ebullient, raucous and satisfying. The songs remain timeless and perfect. The staging is tighter than ever. Creator James Rado, who sat in front of me, confided, “They’ve been doing a lot of work on it.” You can see director Diane Paulus is still fine tuning. Like “A Chorus Line,” “Hair” started at the Public Theater. That group’s leader, Oskar Eustis, was sitting right up front. “Hair” makes the money so that Eustis can stage things like his very fine “Measure for Measure” in Central Park this summer. It’s the one place where art and commerce meet nicely.

Also at “Hair”: former cast member Will Swenson, now star of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” He brought superstar girlfriend Audra McDonald, who won a Tony for the original version of “Master Class”–which just got revived on Broadway, too. “I went last night with Zoe Caldwell,” Audra said of her co-star in that show. “I’d never seen it before”– because of course she was on stage. Audra has left TV’s “Private Practice” to return to Broadway in “Porgy and Bess” later this year. It’s about time. If she’s not singing, it’s a waste of super powers.

PS Kudo’s to the “Hair” cast, but I especially liked Caren Lynn Tackett, who gets to sing the show’s big numbers “Easy to Be Hard” and “Good Morning Starshine.” Her four year old daughter Raven, full of blonde curls, sat in the first row like a lady, drawing pictures and occasionally looking up to mouth the words to the songs. Raven has done the whole national tour and knows the show by heart. When a member of the “Hair” tribe comes and sits with her during the show, Raven barely registers surprise. It’s her life.

6 replies to this post
  1. Just an fyi, Lea (and her co-stars) were not fired from the show. There’s a big difference between characters’ story arcs being planned that way and an actor being fired. And she never signed any such contracts that were that long. She’s not an idiot.

  2. Curious but do you actually do any research before you publish an article?

    She wasn’t fired, neither was Chris or Cory. Their characters will be graduating and their contracts (which were only for 3 seasons btw) will not be extended due to mutual decisions made between them and those in charge

    Suggesting that Lea would be fired is insane, especially when you are implying that Cory and Chris were also fired. Lea and Chris are the only ‘kid’ members of the cast to receive Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for their work on the show, so no they were not fired.

    Also the implication that Lea wasn’t aware of the length of her contract is insulting to her intelligence

    And I don’t even know what you were trying to get at with the ‘I’ve never been in a Broadway show’ statement, but if you were saying she said that sarcastically then at least add that it was said sarcastically. Because Lea has been in 4 Broadway shows and was even a lead in one before Glee

  3. I’ve read this like three times and it makes less sense to me each time. First off, please have someone proof read for sentence structure. Lea didn’t get a ‘Pink Slip’ she’s known about this for AT LEAST three weeks now. She says that they knew from the beginning that they would graduate.

    Also: “This reporter tried to make it seem like an opportunity–’You could star in a Broadway show,’” WHY would you make Broadway sound like a consolation prize to A BROADWAY LEGEND??? She started on Broadway when she was eight years old!

  4. Private Practice was the biggest waste of Audra McDonald’s many talents. I’m thrilled to hear she’s headed back to Broadway.

  5. 1. She wasn’t fired.
    2. You didn’t actually suggest she star in a B-way show?
    3. She was pulling your leg becasue of your goofy question.
    4. She can’t do Funny Girl cause it will start before glee ends. She has already talked to the producers and it won’t work.

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