Following a bout of COVID, Glee star Lea Michele is back onstage starring as Fanny Brice in Broadway's Funny Girl at the August Wilson Theatre beginning September 20. Michele joined the company, along with Tovah Feldshuh as Mrs. Brice, September 6, leaving just days later following a positive COVID test. Standby Julie Benko, who filled in full-time during Michele's departure, will continue to handle Thursday evening performances.
Michele is best known to theatre fans for starring in the original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening, with earlier appearances including Les Misérables, the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, and creating the role of The Little Girl in the original Broadway cast of Ragtime.
Funny Girl, which premiered on Broadway in 1964, features a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, newly adapted by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein for this revival. The original production propelled a young Barbra Streisand to international fame; she would reprise her stage performance in the 1968 film adaptation, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in the process. The biomusical tracks real-life singer and comic Fanny Brice from her humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York, to fame and fortune onstage in the Ziegfeld Follies and as a radio and screen performer.
The cast also includes Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein, 2022 Tony nominee Jared Grimes as Eddie Ryan, Peter Francis James as Florenz Ziegfeld, Ephie Aardema as Mrs. Nadler, Debra Cardona as Mrs. Meeker, Toni DiBuono as Mrs. Strakosh, and Martin Moran as Tom Keeney.
The ensemble features Amber Ardolino, Daniel Beeman, Kurt Csolak, Leslie Donna Flesner, Afra Hines, Masumi Iwai, Aliah James, Stephen Mark Lukas, John Thomas Manzari, Katie Mitchell, Justin Prescott, Mariah Reives, and Leslie Blake Walker. Rounding out the company are standbys Julie Benko, Liz McCartney and Jeremiah James and swings Miriam Ali, Colin Bradbury, John Michael Fiumara, Danielle Kelsey, Alicia Lundgren, and Conor McRory.
The production is directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Ellenore Scott, tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, music supervision and direction by Michael Rafter, scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kevin Adams, sound design by Brian Ronan, and hair design by Campbell Young Associates. Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Jason Thinger. The production also includes orchestrations by Chris Walker; dance, vocal, and incidental music arrangements by Alan Williams; additional arrangements by Carmel Dean and David Dabbon; music coordination by Seymour Red Press and Kimberlee Wertz; and vocal supervision by Liz Caplan.