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The Glee star took over the lead role in the revival on Sept. 6, a little more than a month after Beanie Feldstein departed the production. On Sept. 10, Michele posted on Instagram that she was showing “early signs” of COVID-19, after receiving an inconclusive test result, and would miss both Saturday performances. A later test confirmed her diagnosis.
“Unfortunately, I have officially tested positive for COVID. In following production protocol I cannot return to the theater for 10 days,” Michele wrote on Instagram. “Thankfully staying home today and catching this early protected so many members of our company from being exposed.”
Michele will return to the show on Sept. 20, according to the production.
Julie Benko, who has been slated to play the role of Fanny Brice on Thursday evenings, will perform in all shows through Sept. 18. Benko has been a standby in the production and played the role of Brice for several weeks in August before Michele began.
“We are so thankful to the entire FUNNY GIRL company, including our standbys, understudies, swings and everyone working on the production for their remarkable commitment to keeping the show going and ensuring audiences have a great experience at every performance,” the production said in a statement.
Michele’s casting in the production has been met with both fanfare — Michele sang several of the Funny Girl songs on Glee — and controversy due to both her replacement of Feldstein and her alleged past treatment of cast members of color on Glee. Feldstein originated the role in the revival, which opened in April, but did not receive stellar reviews and later stated she would leave the role earlier than expected after the production “decided to take the show in a different direction.”
In a New York Times profile ahead of her start in show, Michele acknowledged that her working style can have “an edge” to it but said she had reflected on past behavior and now felt ready to lead the show.
“I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader,” she said. “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.”
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