It was recently announced that Beanie Feldstein will be stepping down from the role of Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl in late September.
The casting change, which also includes finding a replacement for Jane Lynch’s role as Fanny’s mother Mrs. Rose Brice, comes after less-then stellar reviews nearly 10 months after she was cast.
The big question now: who will take over the role, which was originally immortalized on stage by Barbara Streisand in the 1960s. While the logical choice is Feldstein’s current stand-in, Julie Benko, producers reportedly have their eyes set on Lea Michele, according to Showbiz 411.
Casting changes: Beanie Feldman is stepping down early from her role as Fanny Brice in the revival of Funny Girl, and producers former Glee star Lea Michele is said to be producers
The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress, and comedian Fanny Brice, featuring her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein.
The former Glee star had been rumored to be in the running for the role initially after performing many of the songs during her run on the hit musical series.
But, at the end, it never came to fruition for Michele and Feldstein ended up landing the job.
With Feldstein in the lead role, Funny Girl did not become the smashing success producers had hoped for.
More goodbyes: Along with Feldstein, it was also announced that actress Jane Lynch is stepping down from her role as Mrs. Rose Brice in late September
As the understudy, Benko has actually gotten to perform Fanny during planned absences and Feldman’s recent bout with COVID-19, receiving praise for the most part.
And just last weekend, Michele made a case for herself to be the replacement when she lit up the stage, and television screens at home, with her riveting performance in the Spring Awakening reunion during Sunday’s Tony Awards.
Unlike Feldstein, Michele comes in with much more stage and singing credibility, which was seen on a grand scale during her time on Glee, that ultimately became a massive hit with audiences for six seasons (2009-2015).
Another potential advantage riding in Michele’s favor: she actually worked with Funny Girl director Michael Mayer when he helmed her first lead role in Spring Awakenings.
Broadway worthy: Michele made a case for the role of Fanny Brice by putting on a riveting performance during the Spring Awakening reunion at the 75th Tony Awards last Sunday
Feldstein will make her final performance as Fanny Brice at the August Wilson Theater on September 25.
‘I’ll never be able to find the words that could even begin to explain what the experience has been to me,’ Feldstein shared on Instagram following the news that she would be stepping down.
She added, ‘I gave and will continue to give this show all of me. I am immensely proud to be a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls. I am so deeply grateful for every other bagel that comes to Henry Street with us every night. Can’t wait to see you all there through September.’
Staying onboard: Actors Jared Grimes (left), who plays Eddie Ryan and Ramin Karimloo (second left), who plays Nick Arnstein, will remain with the show for the next run
Sources told Deadline That Lynch had always planned to leave the production in September, but Feldstein was expected to stay on possibly through the end of the year.
Actors Jared Grimes, who plays Eddie Ryan and Ramin Karimloo, who plays Nick Arnstein, will remain with the show for the next run.
So far, there’s no official word on when the replacements for Feldstein and Lynch will be announced.
Funny Girl opened on Broadway on April 24 and currently has an open-ended run. Among the accolades, the 1964 production with Streisand as Fanny received eight nominations at the 18th Tony Awards.