“Playing Fanny Brice on Broadway has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Feldstein posted on Instagram tonight, “and doing so for the last few months has been a great joy and true honor. Once the production decided to take the show in a difference direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated. I will never forget this experience and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single person who came to the August Wilson for the love and support you have shown me and our amazing cast and crew. The people I have had the great joy of bringing Funny Girl to life with every night, both on and off the stage, are all remarkably talented and exceptional humans and I hope you continue to join them on Henry Street after I depart on July 31st.”
Feldstein did not explain in what ways the production was taken “in a different direction.”
No announcement was made about her replacement, but rumors have circulated for weeks that producers are considering Lea Michelle as a replacement, possibly in tandem with Feldstein’s understudy Julie Benko. Producers have not confirmed the speculation.
Feldstein has missed an increasing number of performances in recent weeks, including yesterday’s matinee. Last month she missed a string of shows due to a positive Covid test.
Initially, when the show opened (to mixed reviews) on April 24, Feldstein was expected to remain with the production through the end of the year, but last month producers announced that both she and co-star Jane Lynch would depart the show on Sept. 25. No updated announcement was made today regarding Lynch.
Though the production initially sold well at the box office, the dearth of big Tony nominations or wins has dulled the grosses. Box office figures for the week ending July 3 – the most recent figures available – indicate Funny Girl was performing to houses only 75% filled.
News of Feldstein’s replacement is likely to be announced tomorrow.
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