At least four standing ovations before intermission. Sounds like Lea Michele’s first night as Fanny Brice in funny girl it was, well, merrily.
More cheers followed throughout the night, including a long and moving one at the final curtain, with Michele sobbing and her co-star Tovah Feldshuh, also making her debut, accepting large bouquets of white roses.
Among those standing: former spring awakening co-star jonathan groff, Happiness creator Ryan Murphy and Harvey Fierstein, who added new material to this musical renaissance. Zachary Quinto also attended. During the curtain call, Michele appeared to point and wave at Groff.
Michele will make her public debut on the show tonight, and while critics won’t be in attendance until later this month, audience members are already taking to social media with reactions and accounts of the show. Sources at the August Wilson Theater told Deadline that Michele received the first standing ovation from her upon entering, and there were at least three more before the end of the first act.
Apparently, Michele also got a good laugh at one of the show’s more innocuous bits of dialogue, though given the insane conspiracy rumors about her literacy, the joke was more than a little balanced: early in the show, Fanny remembers growing up in Henry Street in Brooklyn, noting, “I hadn’t read many books.”
She also made her debut on the Feldshuh show tonight as Mrs. Brice. At one point during the curtain call, Feldshuh nudged a tearful Michele to get her to stand alone, but Michele grabbed Feldshuh’s hand and yanked her away, eliciting even more applause. Neither Michele nor Feldshuh gave any curtain call speeches.
Deadline will post Michele’s first night photos when they become available.