A Glee-ful Update: Lea Michele Will Replace Beanie Feldstein In Funny Girl

Life really is juicy.

Lea Michele in 2022, Beanie Feldstein on stage in 'Funny Girl' in 2022
Getty Images/Bruce Glikas

Booksmart and Lady Bird actor Beanie Feldstein has been fronting a newly revived Broadway production of Funny Girl since April. The beloved musical is about the life of star actor and comedian Fanny Brice, and her tumultuous relationship with businessman and keen gambler Nick Arnstein. The role was made famous by Barbra Streisand, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Fanny in the 1968 film. Feldstein was originally slated to stay in the revived Broadway show’s lead role until September, but she has surprised fans by stepping away from the production two months ahead of schedule. And in a move that many musical-lovers predicted, Glee star Lea Michele has been confirmed as Feldstein’s replacement.

As fans may well remember, when Feldstein was announced for the role back in Oct. 2021, Michele’s name soon started trending. People were keen to point out that the Glee star — who experienced public backlash when several of her former co-stars claimed she had mistreated them on set — had previously said she’d love to play the role. Amusingly, Feldstein was unaware of this, and was somewhat surprised when Michele’s name began to trend with hers.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy, she told host Andy Cohen: “I didn’t know that any of this was happening, by the way. All of a sudden people started explaining it to me, and I was like, ‘What?’ Like … ‘I didn’t understand.’” But the drama didn’t reach the ladies themselves, as Feldstein was quick to note that Michele had sent her a sweet congratulatory message on Instagram when the casting was first announced.

Meanwhile, questions are swirling as to why Feldstein has opted to quit the Broadway show early. In a statement posted on Instagram, the actor explained: “Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated.” Expressing her gratitude, she continued: “I want to thank every single person who came to the August Wilson [theatre] for the love and support you have shown me and our amazing cast and crew.”

The actor’s time at the musical has not always been smooth sailing. Feldstein was forced to miss multiple performances in June when she was isolating, and understudy Julie Benko has filled in for her on several other occasions for unspecified reasons. Meanwhile, the reviews have been mixed. The Guardian praised Feldstein’s “crisp comedic timing,” but added that her vocal performance “isn’t up to par.” Funny Girl was also largely snubbed at the Tony Awards, with only a single mention for Feldstein’s co-star Jared Grimes, who was among the Best Actor nominees. The play has also suffered from a drop in ticket sales.

Bustle has reached out to representatives of Beanie Feldstein and the August Wilson Theatre for comment