The Lea Michele/Beanie Feldstein ‘Funny Girl’ Casting Saga Just Keeps Giving

Gossip is swirling around Feldstein's departure and Michele's casting in the Broadway revival.

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The Lea Michele/Beanie Feldstein ‘Funny Girl’ Casting Saga Just Keeps Giving
Photo:Dia Dipasupil;Bruce Glikas (Getty Images)

It’s Beanie mania all over again, except this time people are collecting anecdotes and memes, not little stuffed animals they hope to somehow use to fund their children’s college education. A collective giddiness has descended upon the internet (or at least the corner of it that cares about theatre news) for more than 24 hours now, following Beanie Feldstein’s announcement that she’s leaving the Broadway revival of Funny Girl months earlier than expected, and the subsequent announcement that a woman that Feldstein does not know whatsoever will be replacing her.

In a move whose high predictability did not mitigate its impact, Funny Girl producers announced Monday that indeed Lea Michele would be stepping into the role on September 6. Feldstein said in her announcement that her final performance would take place on July 31. Her understudy Julie Benko is set to fill the role of Fanny Brice during the week between Feldstein’s and Michele’s tenures. That’s a spicy sandwich.

That announcement of Feldstein’s, by the way, “blindsided” producers, according to Page Six. “A Broadway insider tells us that producers were planning on making the announcement on Monday–but Feldstein, 29, “beat them to the punch when she posted on Sunday evening,” read the rag’s report. The unnamed source added, “She clearly doesn’t give a shit.” I mean, would you? Your only shot at owning news about yourself is getting in front of it.

But this story would not be contained by any single party, anyway. In a follow-up story, Page Six reported that anonymous sources claimed that Feldstein was “basically fired,” which maybe gives her Instagram goodbye a distinct you-can’t-fire-me-‘cause-I-quit flavor. Delicious. “A source tells us that following poor reviews of Feldstein’s performance and declining ticket sales, producers turned sour on the star and fell off the Beanie bandwagon,” according to the item.

However, a source in that story also claims, contrary to the last Page Six story, that producers were “absolutely aware” Feldstein was making her announcement and had approved its language. Oh great, an information volley. We could do this all day, every day with this story. “Beanie feels attacked by everyone around her,” said the Page Six source. “She’s like, ‘You brought me here in the first place!’” Freedom is just around the corner, Beans.

For Michele’s part, she posted the casting news on her Instagram with a caption that read, in part, “A dream come true is an understatement.”

After the official announcement of Michele’s casting, the former Glee actor Samantha Ware, who had accused Michele of threatening to shit in her wig and “other traumatic microaggressions,” tweeted in an apparent reference to the news.

Ware also retweeted the words of a Last Week Tonight writer: “It’s wild that the decision to tell the truth about the people who tormented you at work is a career risk, but you can stay booked and busy as one of the tormentors.” It does seem to all be working out for Michele.

That Feldstein has about three weeks of performances left while this is swirling all around is a meta-doozy. Honestly seems like a fascinating time spent at the theater. Now is the time to see her! Catch her before she’s gone forever!

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