Beanie Feldstein will fulfill a lifelong dream when she stars in Broadway’s “Funny Girl” next year, but she said she was totally unaware that another actor had long been vying for the role.
In a new interview with SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy,” the “Booksmart” actor reacted to news that Lea Michele’s name had trended on Twitter in August when the casting was announced.
“I didn’t even know that any of this was happening, by the way,” Feldstein said. “All of a sudden, people started explaining it to me, and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ I didn’t understand.”
The character of Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” is most associated with Barbra Streisand, who originated the role on Broadway in 1964 and won an Oscar for the movie adaptation four years later.
Before Feldstein landed the role, Michele had been repeatedly name-checked in reports of an earlier “Funny Girl” revival that never materialized. The actor’s “Glee” character, Rachel Berry, played Fanny on Broadway in the show’s fifth season.
Catch a clip of Beanie Feldstein’s “Radio Andy” interview below.
“We were thinking of doing it right after ‘Glee,’ but I did a lot of the songs from ‘Funny Girl’ on ‘Glee,’ so it felt like a little soon,” Michele revealed in an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” in 2017. “But I feel really ready to do it now, so maybe we could do it soon.”
Though Twitter was rife with speculation as to how Michele would react to the news of Feldstein’s casting, the “Glee” star simply congratulated her fellow actor on Instagram.
In her “Radio Andy” interview this week, Feldstein was complimentary of Michele but said there had been no further correspondence. “I don’t know the woman whatsoever,” she said.
The 2022 production of “Funny Girl” will mark the first-ever revival of the show on Broadway since its premiere nearly 58 years ago. Though a production starring “Six Feet Under” actor Lauren Ambrose as Fanny was announced in 2011, producers ultimately abandoned the project.
When host Andy Cohen asked if she was nervous about Streisand attending ― and possibly critiquing ― her performance as Fanny, Feldstein said, “I don’t want to know when anyone’s there, so certainly not the queen herself.”