Lea Michele's tenure as Fanny Brice began September 6 (the same day Tovah Feldshuh took over the role of Mrs. Brice) in a career full-circle moment. Currently sidelined by COVID, Michele is scheduled to return to the role of Fanny Brice at the August Wilson Theatre August 20.
A self-proclaimed "Streisand Worshiper," Funny Girl marks the first time Michele has returned to the Main Stem since the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening. “This is such a dream come true for me,” Michele shared with Playbill a few days before she tested positive for the coronavirus. “I love the show so much, but I loved this production so much from the minute I saw it back in March.” Watch the video above for the full interview with Michele and her co-stars Tovah Feldshuh, Ramin Karimloo, and Jared Grimes.
While starring on six seasons of Glee, Michele, or rather Rachel Berry, sang the musical's "Don't Rain On My Parade," "You Are Woman, I Am Man," "People," "I'm the Greatest Star," and "Who Are You Now," and a season five plot line for the character saw her playing the role on Broadway.
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 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 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.