Lea Michele addresses ‘Funny Girl’ casting controversy and accusations of bullying on ‘Glee’ set

Michele is changing Beanie Feldstein within the main function (originated by Barbra Streisand in Tony-nominated and Oscar-winning turns). In a brand new interview with the New York Occasions, she nodded to the controversy round her casting and Feldstein’s abrupt exit from the present.

“Everyone here has been through a lot, and I just have to come in and be prepared and do a good job and be respectful of the fact that this is their space,” she informed the Occasions forward of her first efficiency.

Michele’s highway to “Funny Girl” was lengthy and winding: Per the New York Occasions, she found the musical as a youngster whereas performing within the Tony-winning musical “Spring Awakening.” Michele stated she fell in love, and shortly thereafter, she was forged because the lead in Ryan Murphy’s TV comedy “Glee.” Her character, the proficient however grating Rachel Berry, shared Michele’s real-life obsession with the Streisand-starring musical.

After years of performing songs from “Funny Girl” on “Glee” — Rachel even stars in its revival on the sequence — and numerous makes an attempt to carry the musical to Broadway, director Michael Mayer informed the Occasions Michele was thought of for the function forward of the brand new manufacturing however sensed she might not have been prepared. (Michele gave beginning to her son in 2020 when the musical was being forged.) Michele stated she informed Mayer, after studying of Feldstein’s casting, that she’d be “honored” to imagine the function if Feldstein’s run ended.

And Feldstein’s stint in “Funny Girl” did finish — months sooner than she initially introduced. The extremely anticipated manufacturing obtained largely detrimental evaluations when it opened in April, and far of them took purpose at Feldstein’s vocal skills. In July, Feldstein introduced that she’d go away the musical on the finish of the month as an alternative of September. The following day, the “Funny Girl” crew introduced Michele’s casting.

Hiring Michele as Feldstein’s substitute proved a controversial determination. Many theater followers had been reminded of “Glee” actor Samantha Marie Ware’s claims in 2020, when she accused Michele of fostering a poisonous surroundings on the set and stated Michele uncovered her to “traumatic microaggressions.” When Michele was forged, Ware commented: “Yes, I care. Yes, im (sic) affected … Yes, I was abused. Yes, my dreams were tainted. Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness.”

Michele declined to handle Ware’s claims with the Occasions however stated that her work ethic and “pressure of perfectionism left (her) with a lot of blind spots.”

As for the joke that Michele is illiterate, which circulates on-line every time Michele makes information, she instructed the joke was made due to her gender.

“I went to ‘Glee’ every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” she informed the Occasions. “And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”

Michele’s first present as Fanny is September 6. Feldstein’s standby, Julie Benko — who took over the function in August, will fill in for Michele as soon as per week for the remainder of Michele’s run.