Lea Michele Reveals What She Told Beanie Feldstein After Seeing Her In Funny Girl
The Glee star is set to replace the Booksmart actor as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival.
Lea Michele isn’t raining on Beanie Feldstein’s parade. On Sept. 2, the Glee star, who is set to replace Feldstein in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl, told PEOPLE in a new interview that she was able to watch the Booksmart actor play the lead role of Fanny Brice and revealed what she wrote to her after the show. “I wrote her and told her what an incredible job I thought that she did,” Michele said. “I thought she was hilarious and beautiful and so wonderful. This is not an easy role, and she took it on with such bravery. And I wrote her and told her that.”
In August 2021, it was announced that Feldstein would lead the first Broadway revival of Funny Girl since 1964, when Barbra Streisand made her name by playing Brice. Michele started trending on Twitter because she didn’t land the role after advocating for years, with her Glee character Rachel Berry portraying Brice in a fictional revival on the series, but the actor was still supportive of Feldstein’s casting. “Yes! YOU are the greatest star!” she commented on Feldstein’s Instagram post at the time. “This is going to be epic!!!”
However, Michele’s name was trending again as Feldstein received underwhelming reviews after the opening night of Funny Girl in April. Eventually, she was slated to depart the show on Sept. 25. But on July 10, Feldstein announced that she would leave earlier than expected at the end of the month after the “production decided to take the show in a different direction.” The next day, producers announced that Michele would take over the role on Sept. 6, with their standby Julie Benko performing for the month of August.
The saga concluded one of Broadway’s biggest casting scandals in recent memory, but Michele is putting the negativity aside, saying there’s no drama with Feldstein. “I think that everybody just thinks everything is so drama-filled,” she said. “I also think that people really love the excitement of pitting women against each other, which I think is really sad and unfortunate.”
Now, Michele is solely focused on her (real life) Funny Girl debut, especially in light of accusations from her Glee castmates in 2020 that she fostered a hostile environment on set. Speaking to PEOPLE, she recognized that playing Fanny is an “important opportunity” and said she aims “to not only do a great job onstage every night, but do a great job offstage every single day, to be there for the cast and to be a leader.” “That's something that I've really learned the importance of, especially over the past couple of years,” she added.