8 Years Ago, Glee Predicted 2022’s Biggest Broadway Casting Scandal

Lea Michele is starring in Funny Girl after her ex Glee co-star Jane Lynch left the Broadway show.

8 Years Ago, 'Glee' Predicted 2022's 'Funny Girl' Cast Controversy About Lea Michele & Jane Lynch
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Sue Sylvester is a psychic. In 2014, Glee eerily foreshadowed 2022’s biggest Broadway casting scandal in the Season 5 episode titled “Opening Night.” As Lea Michele’s character Rachel Berry made her Broadway debut as Fanny Brice in the revival of Funny Girl, her former high school adversary Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) became so disgusted by her rendition of “I’m the Greatest Star” that she left the theater mid-performance. Eight years later, as it was announced that Michele would star as Fanny in the Broadway show, a similar scenario involving Lynch played out.

It all started on July 10, when Beanie Feldstein announced that she was leaving the Broadway production of Funny Girl, two months ahead of her planned Sept. 25 exit, which was already cut down from the year-long run she was originally contracted for. In an Instagram post, Feldstein said the “production decided to take the show in a different direction.” Lynch played Mrs. Brice in the show, and had also been scheduled to leave at the same time as Feldstein in September. The next day, producers announced that Michele would replace Feldstein in the lead role on Sept. 6, with Feldstein’s standby Julie Benko leading the show in August.

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Amid Michele’s casting, Lynch’s departure date was moved up to Sept. 4, two days before Michele’s debut. Fans speculated this was because Lynch didn’t want to reunite with her onstage due to Michele’s alleged treatment of Glee co-stars. Some fans even noticed the parallels to Glee’s “Opening Night” episode when Lynch’s character Sue left Rachel’s debut performance of Funny Girl and said, “I just can’t even ... excuse me, I need to go kill myself.”

However, in a July 12 interview with Deadline, Lynch said she’s been in touch with Michele since her casting and clarified that the only reason she won’t perform with her former co-star is so Michele can rehearse with Lynch’s replacement Tovah Feldshuh, rather than learning the ropes with two different actors. “You know, it was just a really strong idea to have Feldshuh and Lea premiere together,” she said. “I adore her. She’s just going to take this show and make it her own. I’m so glad she’s getting the opportunity in real life to do the show and not just on Glee.”

Lynch ended up leaving the production on Aug. 14 instead of Sept. 4, attributing her decision to a long-scheduled vacation and her attendance at the Creative Arts Emmys in Los Angeles on Sept. 1. Nonetheless, fans couldn’t help but poke fun at the similarities of Michele and Lynch’s Funny Girl journeys onscreen and offscreen. And that’s what you missed on Glee!