Lea Michele is about to take over the lead role in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl. For all of her problematic behavior, Lea really is perfect for the role of Fanny Brice. The catch is that Lea is taking over the role from Beanie Feldstein, after Beanie’s run was somewhat disastrous and met with mixed (if not flat-out bad) reviews. There were conspiracies that Lea had secretly All-About-Eve’d Beanie but I don’t think that happened. I mean, I’m sure Lea was lighting candles and praying for Beanie’s voice to give out, don’t get me wrong. Lea is profiled in the New York Times and they do a somewhat exhaustive timeline of when Lea got the approach to take over from Beanie, and I accept the Times’s legwork on this – Lea didn’t do anything to Beanie, Lea just waited patiently for Fanny to come to her. The most interesting parts of this profile are Lea’s attempts to explain why almost all of her former coworkers have accused her of being a problematic a–hole, a racist and someone who threatens to sh-t in people’s wigs. Some highlights:
The allegations of racist microaggressions & bullying: The allegations prompted an “intense time of reflection” about her conduct at work, Michele said — which, she believes, has equipped her to be a part of, and lead, a Broadway company for the first time since leaving “Spring Awakening” in 2008. “I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader. It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.”
On Samantha Marie Ware’s specific allegations: [Lea] declined to address the specifics of Ware’s account, saying she doesn’t “feel the need to handle things” through the media. Ware declined to comment, but shortly after Michele’s “Funny Girl” casting was announced, Ware posted a tweet in which she said, “Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness.” Her account and tweets have since been made private.
Lea thinks the issue is her intense work ethic: “I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.” She traced that psychology to her days as a child actress on Broadway, where, she said, the expectation to perform at a consistently high level often put her in a “semi-robotic state.”
She’s trying to avoid behaving like a diva. “Everyone here has been through a lot, and I just have to come in and be prepared and do a good job and be respectful of the fact that this is their space.”
The internet conspiracy/joke that she’s illiterate: “I went to ‘Glee’ every single day; I knew my lines every single day. And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”
[From The NY Times]
Good lord, she’s bad at this. This profile made me remember that absolutely insane word salad fauxpology she gave to People Magazine after all of her former coworkers started calling her out. Lea actually IS the kind of person who “feels the need to handle things” through the media. She just does it badly. The issue was that Lea called background actors “cockroaches” and engaged in racist bullying to the point where a young Black woman almost gave up her dream of being an actor. The issue was NOT “Lea needs to learn how to be an effective team leader.” And no, it wasn’t “perfectionism” that made her treat people so badly.
As for the long-running internet meme/joke that Lea is illiterate… I’m so happy that you guys got her to respond indignantly. It’s so SEXIST to make jokes about her illiteracy! Of course, note that Lea didn’t actually say “of course I can read.” She can’t say it, because she can’t actually read your internet jokes.
— the morally corrupt juan barquin (@woahitsjuanito) September 1, 2022
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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