EXCLUSIVE: Lea Michele will make her public debut as Fanny Brice on Broadway funny girl tonight, but don’t expect reviews tomorrow. A spokesperson for the production told Deadline exclusively that while critics will be invited to review, or rather re-review, the musical with its new star, the invitations won’t arrive for a few weeks.
According to the spokesperson, the producers will wait to open the show to critics once the entire troupe, including Michele and Tovah Feldshuh as Ms. Brice, have had a “brief time to perform together.” As Michele and Feldshuh kick off tonight, some of the other lead actors remain on vacation and the entire troupe is not in place due to some ongoing Covid cases.
The timeline for critics’ reviews will be confirmed in the next two weeks, with critics likely to be invited to screenings in late September.
Critics are rarely invited en masse to re-review Broadway productions with or without replacement cast, although individual requests for invitations are considered.
With Michele, however, interest among critics and audiences is extremely high for a number of reasons: the controversies surrounding the production with the early departure of original star Beanie Feldstein, not to mention lukewarm reviews of Feldstein and the lack of a Tony nomination. Critics and audiences alike are no doubt curious if the revival can generate the plaudits that have all but evaporated for the musical in recent weeks, not to mention box office success.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop eager critics from buying a ticket before invitations are sent out, but critics are generally willing to experience a revised performance under the best possible circumstances, with full casts and companies ready, able, and completely ready. tested to deliver optimal efforts. .
In addition to the new company members, some minor adjustments have been made to the production, including the new inclusion of the Fanny Brice song “I’d Rather Be Blue Over You” which was performed by Barbra Streisand in the film version, but Until now, it was not part of the current stage production.
In a sense, Michele is being given a “preview” period that is usually only given to original actors. The only difference is that there will be no new official opening night for the replacement cast, which includes not only Michele but also Feldshuh replacing Jane Lynch. There is no second opening party planned, nor will there be any red carpet arrivals tonight for Michele’s first performance. The official opening date of this funny girl the revival is and will remain on April 24, 2022.