Broadway babies and Beanie nation are winning as the producers of the “Funny Girl” revival, Sonia Friedman and Scott Landis, confirmed on Aug. 11 that Beanie Feldstein is our next Fanny Brice.
The production is slated to start its run in spring 2022 and is the show’s first Broadway revival since the 1964 original starring the iconic Barbra Streisand. At the helm is Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”), so it’s safe to say that it’s in good hands.
Based on a semi-biography by Isobel Lennart, “Funny Girl” follows the life of “Ziegfeld Follies” actress Fanny Brice as she becomes a prominent vaudeville and radio star. It also focuses on the actress’s troubled marriage with professional gambler Nicky Arnstein. It became a landmark role for Streisand as it showcased her talent for comedy and drama, as well as her vocal prowess in songs such as “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and “I’m The Greatest Star.”
While Feldstein may be better known for her comedic roles in “Booksmart” and “Lady Bird,” this isn’t her first musical rodeo. She made her Broadway debut in 2017 when she played Minnie Fay in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” starring Bette Midler. She has also been performing with the likes of BFF Ben Platt and Kristin Chenoweth in theater galas.
Taking on her new role was nothing short of a dream come true for her. “The first time I played Fanny Brice was at my third birthday party, in a head-to-toe leopard print outfit my mom made for me. So, it’s safe to say that stepping into this iconic role, on Broadway and not in my family’s backyard, is truly my lifelong dream come true,” says Feldstein.
It seems the actress is booked and busy. On Aug. 12, we saw a sneak peek of her as Monica Lewinsky in the trailer for Ryan Murphy’s “Impeachment: American Crime Story.” She’ll also be part of the movie adaptations for “The Humans” and “Merrily We Roll Along.”
Because the internet loves a bit of drama, a number of people noted that Feldstein might be taking the place of another Ryan Murphy and Mayer (former?) favorite: Lea Michele. If you’ve ever seen “Glee,” you’d know how her character Rachel Berry and Michele herself worship Streisand and dream of becoming Brice. In 2014, Murphy even bought the rights for “Funny Girl” to turn that dream into reality. Eventually he gave it up, though Michele still expressed interest.
Last year, Michele posted an apology on Instagram when a number of former co-workers alleged that she tormented them with her racist diva behavior. After the “Funny Girl” announcement, her name trended when folk on Twitter joked that she might have been emotional upon hearing the news. But maybe this won’t stop her because she can’t read (yes, this a reference to the “Arthur” meme and the conspiracy theory).
Anyway, we’re looking forward to seeing our queer fave Feldstein’s take on the role.