The Glee star's turn as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl earned her four standing ovations before intermission.
Funny Girl is back and the audience has accepted it with full enthusiasm.
“Get ready for me love, ’cause I’m a ‘comer,’” Lea Michele spat from downstage center, where she delivered the climax to “Don’t Rain on My Parade” with such barn-burning fervor that a standing ovation was compelled before the song was over. The night just didn't end with one standing ovation, there were 4 to 7 standing ovations over the course of the night, this one coming just seconds after the show stopped for raucous applause after her “one shot, one gun shot, and bam!”
People, who need people, are the luckiest people in the world! What a beautiful, beautiful company! 📸: Bruce Gilkas pic.twitter.com/jhrYNHqZ4b— Funny Girl on Broadway (@FunnyGirlBwy) September 7, 2022
The Glee star's turn as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl earned her four standing ovations before intermission, according to Deadline. She was celebrated again at the final curtain, with Michele and co-star Tovah Feldshuh accepting bouquets of white roses. Among a clearly welcoming and enthusiastic crowd (Ryan Murphy, Jonathan Groff, Zachary Quinto, and several of Michele’s Spring Awakening co-stars were in the audience), attending Michele’s first Funny Girl performance was an exercise in calisthenics.
Michele also apparently got a big laugh from one of the show’s more innocuous bits of dialogue – though, given the crazy conspiracy rumors about her literacy, the quip was more than a little weighted: Early in the show, Fanny recalls growing up on Henry Street in Brooklyn, and notes, “I hadn’t read many books.”
Lea Michele takes her bow after her first performance in Broadway’s FUNNY GIRL — and waves at pal Jonathan Groff in the audience. pic.twitter.com/QQrURTfE7k— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) September 7, 2022
Also making her debut in the show tonight was Feldshuh as Mrs. Brice. At one point during the curtain call, Feldshuh nudged a tearful Michele forward to stand alone, but Michele clasped hands with Feldshuh and pulled her along, drawing even more applause.
Michele would often reference Funny Girl during her time on Glee, with her character Rachel Berry belting out "Don't Rain on My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star" and "People" from the musical. Funny Girl last featured "Booksmart" actor Beanie Feldstein in the title role.
Feldstein left Funny Girl two months early after it was announced she was being replaced by Michele, saying she was following the decision to "take the show in a different direction."
LEA MICHELE AS FANNY BRICE SINGING DON'T RAIN ON MY PARADE IN FUNNY GIRL— yuh (@norinoriboh) September 7, 2022
NAH SHE ATE THIS I- pic.twitter.com/FOAo29sG4w
There’s the backstage drama behind her casting, which has all the trappings of its own Broadway show. It’s been over 50 years since Funny Girl debuted on stage and this is its first revival. Feldstein, who loved the show so much she dressed as Fanny Brice as a costume before she was old enough for kindergarten, was positioned to be the next “greatest star,” as the character sings in the show. Who could measure up to Streisand? No one, but Feldstein was promising to put her own spin on the part. Then the reviews came in, and were overwhelmingly negative—particularly harsh about Feldstein’s attempts to belt the score. Ticket sales were slumping. The show was largely passed over by Tony nominators. A change had to be made. Enter Lea Michele.
So far Lea Michele has gotten four standing ovations at this Funny Girl performance— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) September 7, 2022