Lea Michele shares first look at Funny Girl rehearsals… as the actress sings Don’t Rain on my Parade
Lea Michele shared a first look of herself singing in rehearsals in the Broadway revival Funny Girl.
The 35-year-old actress posted the snap on Friday while singing Don’t Rain on My Parade ‘for the first time ever today.’
Lea took over the role of Fanny Brice from actress Beanie Feldstein.
The latest: Lea Michele shared a first look of herself singing in rehearsals in the Broadway revival Funny Girl
Lea wrote: ‘The incredible @Epiheaardema got a photo of me singing don’t rain on my parade on a Broadway stage for the first time ever today! @Epihieaardema you are amazing I love you!!!’
In the snap, Lea donned a black jacket and matching bottoms, adding heels; she had her hair pulled back into a casual look.
Although it was initially announced that Beanie would leave the show on September 25, she fired up her Instagram in mid-July and shocked her fans by declaring that she would in fact be exiting the show early at the end of that month.
It was claimed that Beanie found out from Gawker that she was being replaced by Lea after a string of bad reviews, and was in such a state at being booted from her ‘dream role’ that she surprised the producers by publicly quitting early.
Happy: The 35-year-old actress posted the snap on Friday while singing Don’ Rain on My Parade ‘for the first time ever today’
An inside source dished to The Daily Beast that Beanie, whose older brother is Jonah Hill, was ‘basically fired’ from the show.
However the producers and a representative for Beanie told People in a joint statement: ‘The producers of Funny Girl were not blindsided by Beanie’s social post.’
They continued: ‘The producers decided to take the show in a different direction and end Beanie’s contract on September 25th, 6 months earlier than anticipated. A month after that decision, Beanie decided it was best for her to leave on July 31st. The producers were aware of and in support of her decision.’
Life imitating art: Michele’s character Rachel Berry landed the lead role of Fanny Brice on the show, the role she will start playing on Broadway next month; still from Glee
The statement concluded: ‘The producers and Beanie worked on this together professionally, respectfully and graciously.’
Until Lea’s takeover in September, Fanny is being played by Julie Benko, who served as Beanie’s understudy and earned praise online when she stepped into the part.
The current Funny Girl revival is directed by Michael Mayer, who won a Tony for the original production of Spring Awakening – the show that made Lea a Broadway star.
Moving on: Beanie Feldstein previously held the role in the revival. Her singing received mixed reviews, but others praised the actress and her costars
Beanie opened in the show on April 24 and received a disappointing critical response, including from the New York Times, whose theater reviews used to be able to make or break a show decades ago.
The New York Times review noted that the role was sculpted around Barbra’s abilities and that July Styne composed the music so that ‘only Barbra could sing it.’
Funny Girl was originally a passion project for its producer Ray Stark, who was married to the late Fanny Brice’s daughter Frances Arnstein.
Last goodbye: Feldstein bid farewell to her lead role as Fanny Brice in the Broadway’s Funny Girl, following her final performance at the August Wilson Theatre
The show presented a fictionalized account of Fanny’s rise to fame in the 1910s and her marriage to Frances’ father, the con man gambler Nicky Arnstein.
For her first Broadway show as a lead Barbra was working with composer Jule Styne, lyricist Bob Merrill, book writer Isobel Lennart and director Garson Kanin.
She had already been a showstopper in the Broadway show I Can Get It For You Wholesale and cut a few albums but it was Funny Girl that made her a superstar.
The score produced one of her most enduring hits – People – which became the title song of her album that dislodged the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night from number one.
No more summer shows: Lea is also taking the show seriously. She recently canceled her remaining summer concert tour dates so she could focus on getting ready for the role; still from Glee
When the show opened on Broadway it became a smash hit and received a rapturous response for her performance which she also took to London.
Barbra played opposite Charlie Chaplin’s son Sydney – with whom she had an affair amid her marriage to her first husband Elliott Gould.
She reprised her role for the movie, which assembled Old Hollywood stalwarts like director William Wyler and cinematographer Harry Stradling.
Her leading man in the film was Omar Sharif, with whom she also had an affair – and with whom she set off a scandal when a still of one of their staged kisses for the film went public in 1967, the year of the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel.
Who’s who: The current Funny Girl revival is directed by Michael Mayer, who won a Tony for the original production of Spring Awakening – the show that made Lea a star in 2006; Beanie pictured
The movie was the top grosser of 1968, with Roger Ebert writing: ‘The trouble with Funny Girl is almost everything except Barbra Streisand. She is magnificent.’
Although the movie led to a critically savaged sequel called Funny Lady in 1975 the show has never been revived on the Great White Way before.
A Broadway revival was attempted in 2011 with Lauren Ambrose as Fanny but was ultimately scrapped over problems raising money.
However in 2015 and 2016 a London production with Sheridan Smith in the title role did manage to become a runaway success.
The show went from a limited engagement at the Menier Chocolate Factory to a longer run at the Savoy Theatre that was then extended by popular demand.
The music that makes me dance: Barbra is pictured onstage in the original production of Funny Girl – the project that made her a superstar