Virus forces Lea Michele off Broadway stage in ‘Funny Girl’
Fans of Lea Michele hoping to finally see her singing and dancing in “Funny Girl” on Broadway will have to be patient.
The “Glee” actor has tested positive for COVID-19 — missing Saturday’s matinee and evening performance — and must now quarantine, slated to return to the show on Tuesday, Sept. 20. She only started on Tuesday.
The bittersweet comedy tells the tale of Fanny Brice, a Jewish girl from New York in the 1920s who went from burlesque to Broadway stages despite criticism that she wasn’t conventionally beautiful.
“Funny Girl” is a musical that celebrates the oddballs, the kooky and the misfits, with Jule Styne-penned gems of songs like “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “People.” Barbra Streisand played her on stage and on film.
Julie Benko, who had been slated to play Fanny on Thursdays in the revival, will be performing the role now until Michele is back. Michele took over from Beanie Feldstein and said the role was a lifetime goal.
“We are so thankful to the entire ‘Funny Girl’ company, including our standbys, understudies, swings and everyone working on the production for their remarkable commitment to keeping the show going and ensuring audiences have a great experience at every performance,” the show said in a statement.
Starting in July, vaccine requirements for Broadway audience members were lifted and theatergoers had the option to wear a mask in all 41 of New York’s Broadway theaters.
One production, “The Kite Runner,” pushed back, asking audiences at Wednesday matinees and Friday night to mask up.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has lifted her state’s mandatory mask rules in schools and the subway. Face coverings are merely encouraged on buses and trains.
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