Lea Michele addresses ‘Funny Girl’ casting controversy and accusations of bullying on ‘Glee’ set


Ahead of her debut as Fanny Brice within the first Broadway revival of “Funny Girl,” Lea Michele mentioned her nerves about returning to the stage, accusations of making a poisonous atmosphere on “Glee” and, sure, the baseless web rumor that she’s illiterate.

Michele is changing Beanie Feldstein within the main function (originated by Barbra Streisand in Tony-nominated and Oscar-winning turns). In a brand new interview with the USA Prime Time, she nodded to the controversy round her casting and Feldstein’s abrupt exit from the present.

“Everyone right here has been by means of rather a lot, and I simply have to come back in and be ready and do an excellent job and be respectful of the truth that that is their house,” she advised the Times forward of her first efficiency.

Michele’s highway to “Funny Girl” was lengthy and winding: Per the USA Prime Time, she found the musical as an adolescent whereas performing within the Tony-winning musical “Spring Awakening.” Michele mentioned she fell in love, and shortly thereafter, she was forged because the lead in Ryan Murphy’s TV comedy “Glee.” Her character, the gifted however grating Rachel Berry, shared Michele’s real-life obsession with the Streisand-starring musical.

After years of performing songs from “Funny Girl” on “Glee” – Rachel even stars in its revival on the sequence – and varied makes an attempt to convey the musical to Broadway, director Michael Mayer advised the Times Michele was thought of for the function forward of the brand new manufacturing however sensed she could not have been prepared. (Michele gave start to her son in 2020 when the musical was being forged.) Michele mentioned she advised Mayer, after studying of Feldstein’s casting, that she’d be “honored” to imagine the function if Feldstein’s run ended.

And Feldstein’s stint in “Funny Girl” did finish – months sooner than she initially introduced. The extremely anticipated manufacturing acquired largely damaging opinions when it opened in April, and far of them took intention at Feldstein’s vocal skills. In July, Feldstein introduced that she’d depart the musical on the finish of the month as an alternative of September. The subsequent day, the “Funny Girl” workforce introduced Michele’s casting.

Hiring Michele as Feldstein’s alternative proved a controversial choice. Many theater followers have been reminded of “Glee” actor Samantha Marie Ware’s claims in 2020, when she accused Michele of fostering a poisonous atmosphere on the set and mentioned Michele uncovered her to “traumatic microaggressions.” When Michele was forged, Ware commented: “Yes, I care. Yes, im (sic) affected … Yes, I used to be abused. Yes, my desires have been tainted. Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness.”

Michele declined to deal with Ware’s claims with the Times however mentioned that her work ethic and “strain of perfectionism left (her) with quite a lot of blind spots.”

As for the joke that Michele is illiterate, which circulates on-line each time Michele makes information, she advised the joke was made due to her gender.

“I went to ‘Glee’ each single day; I knew my strains each single day,” she advised the Times. “And then there’s a rumor on-line that I can’t learn or write? It’s unhappy. It actually is. I feel usually if I have been a person, quite a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”

Michele’s first present as Fanny is September 6. Feldstein’s standby, Julie Benko – who took over the function in August, will fill in for Michele as soon as per week for the remainder of Michele’s run.

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