The Broadway revival of Funny Girl, starring Glee's Lea Michele as Fanny Brice, played its final performance September 3. Michele gave the role a sentimental send-off with a personal essay she shared on Instagram.
"This experience has been filled with some of the most incredible accomplishments and challenging moments that I have such deep appreciation and gratitude for," Michele writes. "...To every single person who came to see our show: Your support, enthusiasm, applause and standing ovations have brought me to tears more times than I can count. I am forever grateful."
At the final performance of the musical, Michele sang “My Man” during the curtain call, the Brice song that also ends the 1968 film (the stage show usually ends with “Finale,” which is a reprise of “Don’t Rain of My Parade”).
See Michele's full essay below.
Michele had a long journey to Fanny Brice—from 2009-2015 she starred as Rachel Berry in Fox's musical comedy-drama Glee. The character had her own Broadway dreams, and a particular reverence for Barbra Streisand.
A later season of Glee followed Berry landing the role of Fanny Brice in the first Broadway revival of the 1964 musical. Michele performed several Funny Girl songs as Berry, including fan-favorite "Don't Rain On My Parade," "You Are Woman, I Am Man," "People," "I'm the Greatest Star," and "Who Are You Now." Michele was even invited to perform "Don't Rain On My Parade" at the 64th Annual Tony Awards in 2010.
Nearly 10 years later, it was announced that Michele would succeed Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice in the 2022 Broadway revival. The full-circle casting moment marked Michele's first return to Broadway since she starred as Wendla in Spring Awakening from 2006-2008. Michele received rave reviews for her performance as Brice, performed "Don't Rain On My Parade" once again at the 76th Annual Tony Awards, and stayed with the production until its closure.
"As I take my final bow tonight, I'm carrying all of these overwhelming emotions with me as I end an unbelievable chapter of my life," Michele concludes. "Broadway has changed my life in the most unforgettable ways and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of its remarkable history."
See the curtain call for Funny Girl's final performance below, including Michele's rendition of "My Man."
Along with Michele, the cast of Funny Girl also includes Ephie Aardema as Emma and Mrs. Nadler, Anne L. Nathan as Mrs. Strakosh, Debra Cardona as Mrs. Meeker, Martin Moran as Tom Keeney, and Paolo Montalban as Florenz Ziegfeld, with an ensemble comprising Daniel Beeman, Kurt Csolak, Candice Hatakeyama, Curtis Holland, Masumi Iwai, Aliah James, Amy Laviolette, Alicia Lundgren, John Manzari, Katie Mitchell, Mariah Reives, and Leslie Blake Walker. Rounding out the company are standbys Liz McCartney and Michael Mastro, and swings Miriam Ali, Kaitlyn Frank, Danielle Kelsey, Connor McRory, and Derek Jordan Taylor.
Funny Girl's 1964 premiere featured a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, newly adapted by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein for the revival. The production was 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 was by Jim Carnahan and Jason Thinger.
The production also included 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.
A national tour of Funny Girl starring Katerina McCrimmon will begin this year.