Lea Michele took over for Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl, in case you missed the announcement (and ensuing memes) in July. It’s a major example of life imitating art if your geek senses are tingling because Rachel Berry also played Fanny Brice in a Broadway revival of Funny Girl.
In the weeks before Michele’s Sept. 6 debut as Fanny, many people in the theater world were surprised by the choice of actress, which has since gotten good reviews. Her former Glee castmates, however, were largely left out of the discussion surrounding Michele’s new position. Though it might not come as a big surprise. In a 2020 tweet, Samantha Ware (who played Jane Hayward in Season 6) accused Michele of “traumatic microaggressions.” While many other Glee actors sided with Ware, others, like Heather Morris (who played Brittany Pierce), joined her in calling Michele “unpleasant to work with” and saying that she “SHOULD be called out.”in her own tweet.
READ UPCOMING: 10 Images From Lea Michele’s Funny Girl Premiere
Many Glee cast members are still silent about Michele’s casting two years later. However, a few have—some positively, some negatively.
Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel), who portrays Rachel’s closest friend on Glee, isn’t particularly excited to see Michele perform on Broadway. In a October On SiriusXM’s The Michelle Collins Show, the subject of seeing Funny Girl came up on episode 11. Colfer questioned the host, “Oh no, are you seeing Funny Girl?” Colfer tried to steer the conversation to the musical Six, but in the end admitted he had no plans to see Funny Girl, saying, “My day suddenly just got so full.” “No, I might get upset at home.”
In a tweet sent out soon after the Funny Girl announcement in July, Ware appeared to address her former castmate’s Broadway debut. “I am online today, yes. Yes, I recognize you all,” she said. “I do care, yes. I’m affected, yes. I am a human, yes. I am Black, yes. Yes, I was mistreated. My dreams were indeed corrupted. Broadway does indeed support whiteness. Indeed, Hollywood follows suit. Yes, keeping quiet is complicit. I do talk loudly. I’d certainly do it again.
In a previous interview with Variety, the actor and musician (also known as SAMÉYA) expanded on Michele’s alleged treatment while on set. She recalled when it began: “It was after I did my first performance — the silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments she made under her breath, the weird passive aggressiveness.” It all culminated.
Despite not directly commenting on Michele’s casting, Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones, shared Ware’s tweet on her Instagram story and left a message for Ware. “@samanthamarieware, you have my heart and my support today. I’m sorry you have to go through this again.
Feldstein and Jane Lynch were co-stars in Funny Girl as Sue Sylvester; however, Jane Lynch left the production before Michele’s appearance as Fanny. (ICYMI: Due to Sue’s behavior, Rachel’s opening night was actually left early by Sue on Glee. She exclaims as she leaves the theater, “I just can’t even.”
Lynch’s response in real life was much more subdued. She started off by simply retweeting the cast announcement for Funny Girl.
Lynch revealed to Deadline the following day why she would be leaving the show before Michele showed up. We have spoken about it, she stated. “You know, having [Tovah] Feldshuh and Lea premiere together was just a really great idea. Only for that reason will [we not appear together]. I adore her. She simply intends to transform this program into her own. I’m thrilled that she will now have the chance to perform the show off-screen as well as on Glee.
Becca Tobin, who played Kitty Wilde on Glee, was one of Michele’s supporters and left a simple “” comment on a friend’s Instagram post. As Tobin revealed to Brides, Michele attended Tobin’s wedding in 2016 as a guest; Lynch, incidentally, officiated the ceremony. Tobin said, “It was Lea’s idea to ask Jane Lynch to officiate. “We have become incredibly close over the years, and I have always really looked up to her. She immediately sent back a screenshot of herself being ordained online when I texted her to ask if she would participate!
Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beiste, didn’t directly address Michele’s hiring, but she did subtly express her opinions on Twitter by liking a number of critical tweets from fellow performer Yvette Nicole Brown. One contained a puke emoji that appeared to be alluding to the casting notice. Another said, “The devil does win sometimes.”
Brown, who collaborated with Michele on The Mayor in 2017, omitted mentioning the new Funny Girl lead in his remarks. However, in response to Ware’s initial 2020 tweet, Brown seemed to relate to her experience. “EVERYONE matters on a set,”she wrote at the time.“Everyone in a production deserves respect. Every series regular has a responsibility to make every visitor to their home feel welcome.
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