Lea Michele’s first night as Fanny Brice was nothing short of a success. According to multiple reports, Michele wowed audiences while making her debut in Broadway’s Funny Girl.
Michele stepped into the role Tuesday night for the first time, replacing Beanie Feldstein, who left the broadway show sooner than expected in July.
Both The Daily Beast and Variety reported that the Glee alum received four standing ovations at the August Wilson Theatre from a star-studded audience that included Michele’s Spring Awakening castmate Jonathan Groff, Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Harvey Fierstein, who added new material to the musical revival. Drew Barrymore and Zachary Quinto were also said to have been in the audience for the show’s opening night.
Michele reportedly received her first standing ovation upon her entrance, and there were at least three more before the end of the first act.
More ovations were said to have followed throughout the evening, including one at the final curtain, which saw a sobbing Michele and co-star Tovah Feldshuh — who also made her Funny Girl debut Tuesday — accepting large bouquets of white roses.
Variety also shared footage from the show, including a clip of Michele taking her first bow as Brice.
Social media was also abuzz with reactions, with one Twitter user sharing a video of Michele singing the musical’s most iconic tune, “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”
“LEA MICHELE AS FANNY BRICE SINGING DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE IN FUNNY GIRL. NAH SHE ATE THIS I-,” the fan wrote.
In addition to applause, her performance elicited some laughs from the audience as well, thanks to the recent rumors that Michele doesn’t know how to read. Early in the show, Brice recalls growing up on Henry Street in Brooklyn, and notes, “I hadn’t read many books.”
Last week, in a new interview with The New York Times, the 36-year-old addressed the rumor, which began circulating in 2018 after a couple of podcasters shared the theory on Facebook. Michele refuted the claim while adding that the rumor itself is sexist.
“I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” she said. “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.”