Lea Michele is performing “Funny Girl” songs on TV again — but no longer as her “Glee” character, Rachel Berry.
On Friday’s episode of “The Tonight Show,” Michele sang a number from the musical and spoke with host Jimmy Fallon about taking her “Funny Girl” talents from Fox’s Emmy-winning comedy “Glee” to the Broadway stage. The actor and singer took over the role of Fanny Brice in early September after Beanie Feldstein exited the production sooner than anticipated.
“I’ve been wanting to come back to Broadway for so many years,” Michele told Fallon. “I was gone for 15 years — ‘Spring Awakening’ was the last show that I did — but to be back … and to be in the show that I’ve loved for so many years … I’m such a fan of this production.”
Long before she was tapped to replace Feldstein in July, Michele had already manifested her “Funny Girl” moment by covering multiple songs from the show on “Glee” — her character, Rachel, even played Fanny in a fictional Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” toward the end of the series.
In an instance of life imitating art, Michele received six standing ovations on her opening night last month at the August Wilson Theatre. She recently returned to the stage as the Jewish vaudeville legend after missing several shows due to a case of COVID-19.
After chatting with Fallon, Michele delivered a passionate performance of “People,” famously sung by Barbra Streisand during the original Broadway run of “Funny Girl” in the 1960s.
“It’s so fantastic,” Michele said on “The Tonight Show.”
“I’m 36 now, and the story of ‘Funny Girl’ spans … many years. You see her love and her loss and her failures and her successes and becoming a mom and a wife, and I feel like — at this point, being where I am right now — it’s just perfect. Timing is everything, and I’m so grateful.”