Life in the the-a-ter is coming to a close for the company of “Funny Girl.” The Broadway revival has extended its run, but the show will play its final performance on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.
Its closing date is almost exactly one year after Michele joined the cast, though the revival of “Funny Girl” first opened in April 2022 led by Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice. But she and Jane Lynch, who was replaced by Tovah Feldshuh as Fanny’s mother, departed the production in August after the production was plagued with poor reviews and lackluster turnout.
“Funny Girl” might have closed sooner without the casting changes. But box office fortunes have been on the upswing since last September and seats at the August Wilson Theater have remained well-stocked, even setting multiple house records. By the time the cast, including Ramin Karimloo as Nicky Arnstein and Jared Grimes as Eddie Ryan, takes its final bow, the Broadway revival will have played 599 performances and 30 previews.
As previously announced, “Funny Girl” will embark on tour in September, starting Providence, Rhode Island, before continuing to more than 30 North American cities.
“Funny Girl” follows Brice on her improbable rise to fame and her stormy relationship with gambler 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 out.
The musical debuted on Broadway in 1964, starring Barbra Streisand, and received several Tony nominations. The revival marks the first time “Funny Girl” has returned to the Great White Way in 58 years.
Michele certainly had tough shoes to fill, but critics have favorably compared her performance to Streisand’s star-making turn. In Variety’s review, Frank Rizzo wrote, “Michele is able to distance herself enough from Streisand’s phrasing to take ownership — or at least to become a savvy caretaker — of the material.”