Life in the theater is coming to an end for the “Funny Girl” company. The Broadway revival has extended its run, but the show will play its last performance on Sunday, September 3, 2023.
Its closing date is almost exactly one year after Michele joined the cast, though the “Funny Girl” revival debuted in April 2022, directed by Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice. But she and Jane Lynch, who was replaced by Tovah Feldshuh as Fanny’s mother, left the production in August after the production was plagued by poor reviews and poor attendance.
“Funny Girl” might have closed earlier if not for the cast changes. But box office fortunes have been on the rise since last September, and seats at the August Wilson Theater have remained packed, even setting several house records. By the time the cast, including Ramin Karimloo as Nicky Arnstein and Jared Grimes as Eddie Ryan, draws its final bow, the Broadway revival will have played 599 performances and 30 previews.
As previously announced, “Funny Girl” will begin touring in September, starting in Providence, RI, before continuing to more than 30 North American cities.
“Funny Girl” follows Brice on his unlikely rise to fame and his rocky relationship with gamer Nicky Arnstein. The musical features theater classics like “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, “I’m the Greatest Star”, and “People”. In a unique arrangement, Julie Benko, who has become a fan favorite at the August Wilson Theater, performs the role of Fanny Brice every Thursday and while Michele is away.
The musical made its Broadway debut in 1964, starring Barbra Streisand, and received multiple Tony nominations. The revival marks the first time “Funny Girl” has returned to the Great White Way in 58 years.
Michele certainly had some tough shoes to fill, but critics favorably compared her performance to Streisand’s star turn. In Variety reviewer, Frank Rizzo wrote, “Michele is able to distance himself from Streisand’s phrasing enough to appropriate – or at least become a shrewd guardian – of the material.”