Is Lea Michele Going to Star in the 'Funny Girl' Revival?
By Max Berlinger
We here at OUT are huge musical fans. And being gay, we can't deny that a musical starring Barbra Streisand is like the homo holy grail. The 1964 musical 'Funny Girl' was what rocketed Ms. Streisand into overnight stardom, and the film version, also starring her, won her the Academy Award. The show, about the life and loves of comedienne Fanny Brice has never been revised, and for obvious reasons. The central role is vocally and physically demanding, a two-and-half hour long marathon for whomever is starring. And of course, there's the question of who could ever try and fill the shoes of the iconic Streisand, who made every song she sang in the show (and there are quite a few, nearly a dozen) an instant standard, setting a seemingly insurmountable standard. One can't ever listen to "People" or "Don't Rain on My Parade" without hearing the "like buttah" vocals of Babs. The comparison factor alone makes taking on a role like this daunting, even if you are a great singer.
So it's with a wild sense of delight that we read in the New York Times that The Center Theater Group has announced they will be mounting the show next year under the direction of Bartlett Sher (who directed the critically acclaimed revival of 'South Pacific" a few years back). And whispers are already circulating that none other than Glee's Lea Michele is in talks to play Fanny. Excuse us while we go and let our heads explode. This has to be one of the most major things we've heard from the theater community in a while. If her weekly belt-a-thons and borderline obnoxious/endearing turn as Rachel Berry on the popular program is any indication, girlfriend would kill it. Nothing has been confirmed regarding casting, but this just makes us all a-flutter at the possibility. If the theater Gods are listening, hear our prayers -- Rachel Berry for Fanny Brice. Please, please, please let it be so.