Less than a week after taking over the role of Fanny Brice from Beanie Feldstein, Michele is forced to temporarily step away.
Lea Michele fulfilled one of her career dreams — and the dream of her “Glee” counterpart Rachel Berry — when she took over the lead role in “Funny Girl” on September 6. But by Saturday, she was already gone.
The actress took to her Instagram Stories initially to say that she was stepping away from that night’s performances because of Covid-like symptoms. By later that evening, though, Covid-like became Covid-positive.
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At the time of her first post, Michele said that she had an “inconclusive test result,” and was still hopeful that she might be able to go on as Fanny Brice by Sunday’s performance. Later that night, Sunday won’t be the only show she misses.
Taking to her Instagram StoriesMichele explained that she had fallen ill to an outbreak of Covid that’s hit the production team behind the Broadway revival.
“Unfortunately, I have officially tested positive for Covid,” she wrote, noting that in following production protocol, she will not be returning to the theater for ten days.
“Thankfully staying home today and catching this early protected so many members of our company from being exposed,” she continued in her post. “Funny GIrl has been and still is tackling a tremendous wave of Covid with close to a dozen company members currently out .”
While that’s a scary number, Michele said that they are “almost on the other side of this” and gave full credit to “swings and understudies” for keeping the show going amid the outbreak.
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“This week has been a dream come true,” said Michele (she replaced Beanie Feldstein in the iconic role). “I cannot wait to get back – You better get ready. See you soon.”
While Michele detailed “close to a dozen company members” out, People reported on Saturday, per a source, that “dozens of understudies” would be performing that night, thanks to the outbreak.
Michele’s portrayal has been well-received among theater audiences, with the actress reportedly receiving multiple standing ovations for her first show this past Tuesday.
Afterwards, she took to her Instagram, posting a couple of stills from the show and sharing her appreciation. “I want to say thank you whole heartedly for the support following my first performance on the broadway stage as Fanny Brice,” she wrote.
“I know I’ve said it before, but joining this cast has truly been the greatest honor. I am so grateful to every person involved in this production.”
With our without Michele, the show must go on. If she progresses well through Covid and tests negative, she should be able to return sometime the week of September 19.