Among the celebrity guests at the September 6 performance at the August Wilson Theatre were Drew Barrymore, Jonathan Groff, John Gallagher Jr., Ryan Murphy, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, Zachary Quinto, Lee Pace, and Thom Browne.
Michele succeeded standby Julie Benko, who played the role full-time after original star Beanie Feldstein departed the production July 31; Benko remains with the production to cover Thursday performances. Feldshuh succeeded standby Liz McCartney, who took over the role from original star Jane Lynch August 16; McCartney remains with the company as a standby.
The September 6 performance was a true full-circle moment for Michele, whose interpretations of several of the show's biggest songs on TV's Glee and at the 2010 Tony Awards were seen by many as a public audition for the role. A revival of the biomusical was rumored to be in the works to star Michele in 2014, but that production never materialized.
Before Spring Awakening, Michele appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables and the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, and created the role of The Little Girl in the original Broadway cast of Ragtime. Four-time Tony nominee Feldshuh was last seen on Broadway in Pippin, with previous credits including Irena's Vow, Golda's Balcony, Lend Me a Tenor, and Yentl—the latter of which shares source material with the 1983 Streisand movie musical but is otherwise unrelated.
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.
Michele and Feldshuh joined a cast that includes Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein, 2022 Tony nominee Jared Grimes as Eddie Ryan, Peter Francis James as Florenz Ziegfeld, Ephie Aardema as Mrs. Nadler, Debra Cardona as Mrs. Meeker, Toni DiBuono as Mrs. Strakosh, and Martin Moran as Tom Keeney.
The ensemble features Amber Ardolino, Daniel Beeman, Kurt Csolak, Leslie Donna Flesner, Afra Hines, Masumi Iwai, Aliah James, Stephen Mark Lukas, John Thomas Manzari, Katie Mitchell, Justin Prescott, Mariah Reives, and Leslie Blake Walker. Rounding out the company are standbys Julie Benko, Liz McCartney and Jeremiah James and swings Miriam Ali, Colin Bradbury, John Michael Fiumara, Danielle Kelsey, Alicia Lundgren, and Conor McRory.
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.
Check out photos from the September 6 performance welcoming Michele and Feldshuh below: