Lea Michele, who did not perform in Funny Girl at either of the September 10 performances due to “early signs and symptoms of COVID,” has now tested positive for the coronavirus. Due to current Broadway protocols, she will not return to the production at the August Wilson Theatre until September 20.
Julie Benko, who currently stars in the title role Thursday evenings, will assume the role of Fanny Brice for all performances through September 18.
Benko played the role full-time after original star Beanie Feldstein departed the production July 31; Benko also covers Thursday performances.
Michele's tenure as Fanny Brice began September 6 (the same day Tovah Feldshuh took over the role of Mrs. Brice), in a career full-circle moment. Michele is a self-proclaimed "Streisand Worshiper," and Funny Girl marks the first time she has returned to the Main Stem since the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening. While starring on six seasons of Glee, Michele, or rather Rachel Berry, sang the musical's "Don't Rain On My Parade," "You Are Woman, I Am Man," "People," "I'm the Greatest Star," and "Who Are You Now," and a season five plot line for the character saw her playing the role on Broadway.
Funny Girl, which premiered on Broadway in 1964, features a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, newly adapted by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein for this revival. The original production propelled a young Streisand to international fame; she would reprise her stage performance in the 1968 film adaptation, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in the process. The biomusical tracks real-life singer and comic Fanny Brice from her humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York, to fame and fortune onstage in the Ziegfeld Follies and as a radio and screen performer.
The production is directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Ellenore Scott, tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, music supervision and direction by Michael Rafter, scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kevin Adams, sound design by Brian Ronan, and hair design by Campbell Young Associates. Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Jason Thinger. The production also includes orchestrations by Chris Walker; dance, vocal, and incidental music arrangements by Alan Williams; additional arrangements by Carmel Dean and David Dabbon; music coordination by Seymour Red Press and Kimberlee Wertz; and vocal supervision by Liz Caplan.