Beanie Feldstein ends her run starring as Fanny Brice in Broadway's Funny Girl July 31, the production's first original cast member to depart. The production will continue performances at the August Wilson Theatre with standby Julie Benko taking over the role through September 4 and Glee star Lea Michele set to join the company beginning September 6.
Feldstein was originally announced to leave the production September 25, but subsequently announced via Instagram that she would move up her departure date, citing the production's decision "to take the show in a different direction." The Lady Bird, Book Smart, and American Crime Story: Impeachment star made her Broadway debut in 2017's Hello, Dolly!, playing Minnie Fay.
Funny Girl, which premiered on Broadway in 1964, features a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, and a book by Isobel Lennart, newly adapted by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein for this revival. The original production propelled a young Barbra Streisand to international fame; she would reprise her stage performance in the 1968 film adaptation, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in the process. The score introduced such standards as "I'm the Greatest Star," "People," "Don't Rain On My Parade," and "The Music That Makes Me Dance."
In addition to Feldstein, Jane Lynch, Ramin Karimloo, and Tony nominee Jared Grimes, the company includes Peter Francis James as Florenz Ziegfeld, Ephie Aardema as Mrs. Nadler, Debra Cardona as Mrs. Meeker, Toni DiBuono as Mrs. Strakosh, Martin Moran as Tom Keeney, and Benko as the standby for Fanny Brice. Benko has gone on as Fanny several times throughout the run, including during Feldstein's recent bout with COVID-19.
The ensemble comprises Amber Ardolino, Daniel Beeman, Kurt Csolak, Leslie Donna Flesner, Afra Hines, Masumi Iwai, Aliah James, Stephen Mark Lukas, John Thomas Manzari, Katie Mitchell, Justin Prescott, Mariah Reives, and Leslie Blake Walker. Rounding out the company are standbys Liz McCartney and Jeremiah James, and swings Colin Bradbury, John Michael Fiumara, Danielle Kelsey, and Alicia Lundgren.
The production is directed by Michael Mayer, who leads a creative team that includes choreography by Ellenore Scott, tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, music supervision and direction by Michael Rafter, scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kevin Adams, sound design by Brian Ronan, and hair design by Campbell Young Associates. Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Jason Thinger.
The production also includes orchestrations by Chris Walker; dance, vocal, and incidental music arrangements by Alan Williams; additional arrangements by Carmel Dean and David Dabbon; music coordination by Seymour Red Press and Kimberlee Wertz; and vocal supervision by Liz Caplan.