Sources tell Page Six that Beanie Feldstein was “basically fired” from Broadway’s “Funny Girl” before abruptly quitting the show publicly on Twitter in a move that had producers “blindsided.”
Feldstein, who played the lead role of Fanny Brice, announced via social media on Sunday she’d leave the show July 31, just four months into a contract that we hear was supposed to be for an entire year.
“Once the production decided to take the show in a different direction, I made the extremely difficult decision to step away sooner than anticipated,” Feldstein, 29, said in her bridge-burning post.
The “direction” it seems, was away from her and towards replacement, Lea Michele.
A source tells us that following poor reviews of Feldstein’s performance and declining ticket sales, producers turned sour on the star and fell off the Beanie bandwagon.
“Producers basically fired her,” says the source.
While sources say Feldstein had a year long contract and was supposed to play the role till April, the show posted in mid-June on social media, saying “14 weeks left to see Beanie Feldstein & Jane Lynch now through September 25th.”
One source tells us it was thought that six months would be a good ending date since that was Lynch’s ending date.
Page Six previously reported that Feldstein’s shocking exit announcement on Sunday night left producers “blindsided.” Another source tells us producers were told just 30 minutes before it went up.
“The social media post was her quitting after being fired,” says one insider.
“She clearly doesn’t give a s–t,” a source commented on Feldstein, noting that the post wasn’t a savvy move.
But a source close to the production tells us, “The producers were absolutely aware she was making this announcement and they approved that language. An email went out yesterday from production letting producers know her last performance date and that the information would be released. It was not a surprise to anyone.”
Another Broadway source tells us the “Booksmart” actress feels “betrayed.”
“The entire creative team built a brand around a new type of Fanny for a new generation,” the source said. “Now, they’ve turned on her and kind of points fingers at her like she’s the reason the show isn’t working.”
They added: “Beanie feels attacked by everyone around her. She’s like, ‘You brought me here in the first place!’”
“It’s not that Beanie is untalented,” says one source. “It’s not her fault. She was poorly cast.”
The Brice role was originally played by Barbara Streisand, leaving Feldstein with big shoes to fill.
The NY Post review of the revival said that Feldstein “barely muddles through the beloved songs,” and did not give “a Broadway-caliber performance.”
New York magazine similarly reported that, “in song after song, Feldstein’s voice lets her down. Piercing and unpleasant when it gets any higher than her chest, fading and pitchy when it descends even a few steps, it’s simply not a sound you expect to hear on Broadway.”
New York Times said of the “Lady Bird” star’s performance, “You root for her to raise the roof, but she only bumps against it a little.”
Not all reviews were bad. The Observer wrote that she has “a sweet, warm truthfulness that makes her more accessible. She’s familiar, comfortable in her skin, like an old friend. You’re wary and cautious at first, but she grows on you, like a lichen. By the time the intermission seamlessly arrives, you’re in love.”
Around the time of Feldstein’s announcement, the show’s own Instagram feed posted: “Stayed tuned for exciting casting announcements.”
On Monday, producers revealed that Lea Michele would take over the role Sept. 6, and that Tovah Feldshuh will join as Mrs. Brice.
Feldstein’s understudy Julie Benko will be taking the stage as Brice Aug. 2-Sept. 4.
Reps for Feldstein and for the show did not respond to request for comment.
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