The biggest stars in Broadway gathered for the Tony Awards in New York City on June 11, and Lea Michele gave viewers a taste of Funny Girl as she performed to close the show. Lea dressed in character as Fanny Brice and sang an incredible rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” She was surrounded by several of her co-stars from the show, as well, for the high energy performance.
Lea began her run as Fanny Brice in Sept. 2022, and will be with the show until it closes on Broadway in Sept. 2023. Despite receiving major appraise for her performance in the role, though, Lea was not nominated at the 2023 Tonys, and she was not eligible to receive a nomination either. Since Lea was not the original star of the production, she was not able to get nominated.
Lea took over for the original star of Funny Girl, Beanie Feldstein, when she joined the cast. Beanie starred as Fanny when the revival first opened in April 2022 and was in the show until that July. She wound up leaving the cast two months before her initial planned September departure, and Julie Blenko took on the role of Fanny before Lea’s arrival. The production team for Funny Girl could have filed a petition with the Tonys for Lea to be nominated. However, they did not do so.
The casting of Lea in a real-life revival of Funny Girl is reminiscent of a storyline on Glee, where her character, Rachel Berry, joined a Funny Girl production. She has long talked about her love of the show and desire to play Fanny Brice. “I feel more ready than I ever have before, both personally and professionally,” Lea said in a Sept. 2022 interview with The New York Times. “I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I have no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”