Monday, May 20, 2024

Broadway Exclusive: “Funny Girl” Insiders Are Saying Lea Michele Will Finally Be Fanny Brice


EXCLUSIVE: We know that Beanie Feldstein will exit her role as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” in September. Jane Lynch, who plays Fanny’s mother, is going with her.

Now I’m told by insiders that the producers have found the obvious new Fanny: Lea Michele.

The “Glee” star has always wanted the role. When she was in “Glee” there was a lot of talk about her taking the part. But a lot of things went sideways, and it never happened.

This past Sunday, Lea Michele was a hit on the Tony Awards during the “Spring Awakening” reunion. She was really given the spotlight, and hit a home run.

The Tonys appearance was either because her deal was already done, or because producers were waiting to see how Michele would be received. It was all ‘thumbs up.’

Remember– Lea Michele sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade” at the 64th Tony Awards 11 years ago. She is ready to go!

Lynch still has to be replaced. I have a funny idea for Funny Girl: offer the role to Michele Lee, the great Broadway star of “Seesaw” and TV’s “Knots Landing.” She can sing like crazy, she would seem like Lea Michele’s mother. And think of the marquee– Lea Michele and Michele Lee. David Merrick would do it in a second! (Michele Lee was last on Broadway in “Wicked,” by the way, and I’m told she recently bought a new place in New York.”

So hold on for the announcement. I know a lot of people will be disappointed that understudy Julie Benko won’t get promoted. But if “Funny Girl” is to survive and pay back its investors, they need a ‘name.’I hope Benko hangs in there until she gets her own show. She deserves it.

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Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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