Thirteen years of campaigning, two months of speculation, and seven standing ovations later, Lea Michele has finally done it. Last night she took the stage at the August Wilson Theatre and performed as Fanny Brice in a Broadway production of Funny Girl. But the question is: Was she good? I’ll let the comments on a TikTok of her performing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” last night answer that for you:
The votes are in and Michele won. People called her return to the stage “triumphant,” The Daily Beast said that she “carried the show more confidently than her predecessor,” and the New York Post got straight to the point by headlining their review “Lea Michele lifts Broadway show out of the guttah.”
That does not mean everything went off without a hitch. At one point in the show, Michele has to say the line “I haven’t read so many books.” Normally, this is not a laugh line, but when you have a star who has recently denied illiteracy allegations and an audience full of people who knows everything about said star, they’re gonna chuckle.
And Funny Girl is still Funny Girl: a show with a book that isn’t great and ultimately only works when you have the right person playing Fanny. The Post said as much, with critic Johnny Oleksinski writing, “Act 2 remains a sluggish wannabe ‘Gypsy’ about the perils of fame… There’s nothing Michele and [Tovah] Feldshuh can do about that. Director Michael Mayer’s staging is still an eyesore.”
But we aren’t here to discuss whether or not Funny Girl is any good (it isn’t, really). We’re here for Lea Michele. Speaking of which, a cadre of famous men were in the audience last night, including her Glee boss Ryan Murphy, Zachary Quinto, her Spring Awakening costar John Gallagher Jr., and her other Spring Awakening costar/BFF Jonathan Groff. Women supporting women is out, three gay men and one ally supporting one difficult woman is in.
At curtain call, Michele was visibly in tears. She had finally done it. Despite all the naysayers calling her “racist” and “a bad person,” she made it onto the stage she has wanted to be on for most of her life. It seems like no one can rain on her parade now, unless she can’t keep ticket sales up.