Following star Beanie Feldstein's abrupt announcement Sunday that she was departing early from the Broadway revival of "Funny Girl," the producers have announced Lea Michele will be replacing her, beginning Sept. 6. Feldstein's final performance is set for July 31.
"The producers today announce that Emmy Award nominee Lea Michele ('Spring Awakening,' 'Glee') will star as 'Fanny Brice,' " the show’s press representatives said Monday in a news release, "and four-time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldshuh ('Yentl,' 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend') will star as 'Mrs. Brice,' " the real-life vaudevillian Fanny Brice's ambitious mother, currently played by another "Glee" alumna, Jane Lynch. Supporting stars Ramin Karimloo and Jared Grimes will continue in their originating roles.
Lynch's last performance will be Sept. 4. Feldstein's well-received standby, Julie Benko, will star from Aug. 2 to Sept. 4, and on Thursdays beginning Sept. 8.
Feldstein, 29, who starred in the film "Booksmart” (2019) and as Monica Lewinsky in the miniseries "Impeachment: American Crime Story" (2021), had posted on Instagram a day earlier that, "Playing Fanny Brice on Broadway has been a lifelong dream of mine, and doing so for the last few months has been a great joy and true honor. Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated."
She and Lynch had been slated to remain through Sept. 25 in the current revival of the 1964 Broadway musical that had made a star of Barbra Streisand. A representative for the revival, which opened at the August Wilson Theatre on April 24 after 30 previews, did not respond to a Newsday request for comment on Feldstein's assertion of "a different direction."
The backstage musical about vaudeville and radio star Brice and her ill-fated marriage to ne'er-do-well Nick Arnstein (Karimloo) has garnered mediocre reviews, and in recent weeks lackluster ticket sales following a single Tony Award nomination, for Grimes, and no win. Feldstein has missed multiple performances due to COVID-19 and other, unspecified reasons.
"I will never forget this experience," her Instagram post continued, "and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person who came to the August Wilson for the love and support you have shown me and our amazing cast and crew. The people I have had the great joy of bringing Funny Girl to life with every night, both on and off the stage, are all remarkably talented and exceptional humans and I hope you continue to join them on Henry Street," referring to a locale in the musical and a namesake song, "after I depart on July 31st."