Well, she made it a week. (Almost.) Five days after beginning her run as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Lea Michele has contracted COVID. You can make your own jokes about her parade being rained on.
Michele announced that she had tested positive on Saturday, writing on her Instagram story that she cannot return to the theater for ten days. The Glee star noted that COVID has been ripping through the Funny Girl cast, writing that “close to a dozen company members are currently out.” Oy vey! Luckily the virus is airborne and not contagious via backstage wig-shitting.
The writing was on the wall for Michele’s diagnosis earlier in the day, when she announced she wouldn’t be doing the Saturday shows due to “early signs and symptoms of COVID and an inconclusive test result.” As we all know from dealing with this virus for two and a half years, that almost always means you have COVID. Who could have guessed that filling an old building with hundreds of unmasked people and then breathing really hard for almost three hours could put you at risk?
There is a silver lining here, though. Not for Michele or the people who bought tickets to see her specifically, no, those people are all screwed. The real winner, as has been the case since the show opened in March, is Julie Benko. The Fanny Brice standby got rave reviews when Beanie Feldstein had COVID, then she got an entire month of playing the role (and a glowing Times profile) before Michele came in, and now she gets another ten days of performing. And she’s been humble about it the whole time, watch this TikTok she posted during intermission at Saturday’s show:
“If this were a TV show, I’d say that the plot had gone too far off the rails,” she said. Honey, if this were a TV show, you’d be getting bumped up to series regular and everyone would be talking about your inevitable Emmy nomination. It also wouldn’t be half as crazy as Glee, in which Michele’s Rachel Berry actually leaves Funny Girl to star in a TV show called That’s So Rachel.