Lea Michele’s Funny Girl has broken a Broadway all-time box office record.
The former Glee star, who took over the role of Fanny Brice in July, saved the show from critically panned star Beanie Feldstein.
The Broadway revival’s gross for the eight-performance ending December 18 was $2,005,696.80, which is the highest gross for the production and for August Wilson Theatre, according to Just Jared.
The latest: Lea Michele’s Funny Girl has broken a Broadway all-time box office record
Funny Girl broke the record previously set by Mean Girls, which had a house record of $1,994,386 – from 2018.
Lea’s first performance was on September 6, after taking over the role from Beanie Feldstein.
After it was announced that Lea would step into the role, tickets for her show immediately skyrocketed.
Beanie announced she was leaving Funny Girl earlier than expected on July 31 instead of September 25 – with understudy Julie Benko taking over until Lea’s start in September.
The star: The Broadway revival’s gross for the eight-performance ending December 18 was $2,005,696.80, which is the highest gross for the production and for August Wilson Theater, according to Just Jared
In July and August, tickets for the show were sold for only $69, with weekday shows for $49, according to Seat Geek.
After Lea’s joining of the show was announced, tickets were going for $570 to $2,500, and not including the $500 service fee.
Although it was initially announced that Beanie would leave the show on September 25, she fired up her Instagram in mid-July and shocked her fans by declaring that she would in fact be exiting the show early at the end of that month.
It was claimed that Beanie found out from Gawker that she was being replaced by Lea after a string of bad reviews, and was in such a state at being booted from her ‘dream role’ that she surprised the producers by publicly quitting early.
An inside source dished to The Daily Beast that Beanie, whose older brother is Jonah Hill, was ‘basically fired’ from the show.
However the producers and a representative for Beanie told People in a joint statement: ‘The producers of Funny Girl were not blindsided by Beanie’s social post.’
They continued: ‘The producers decided to take the show in a different direction and end Beanie’s contract on September 25th, 6 months earlier than anticipated. A month after that decision, Beanie decided it was best for her to leave on July 31st. The producers were aware of and in support of her decision.’
The statement concluded: ‘The producers and Beanie worked on this together professionally, respectfully and graciously.’
Moving on: Beanie Feldstein previously held the role in the revival. Her singing received mixed reviews, but others praised the actress and her costars
The current Funny Girl revival is directed by Michael Mayer, who won a Tony for the original production of Spring Awakening – the show that made Lea a Broadway star.
Beanie opened in the show on April 24 and received a disappointing critical response, including from the New York Times, whose theater reviews used to be able to make or break a show decades ago.
The New York Times review noted that the role was sculpted around Barbra’s abilities and that July Styne composed the music so that ‘only Barbra could sing it.’
Last goodbye: Feldstein bid farewell to her lead role as Fanny Brice in Broadway’s Funny Girl, following her final performance at the August Wilson Theater
Funny Girl was originally a passion project for its producer Ray Stark, who was married to the late Fanny Brice’s daughter Frances Arnstein.
The show presented a fictionalized account of Fanny’s rise to fame in the 1910s and her marriage to Frances’ father, the con man gambler Nicky Arnstein.
For her first Broadway show as a lead Barbra was working with composer Jule Styne, lyricist Bob Merrill, book writer Isobel Lennart and director Garson Kanin.
She had already been a showstopper in the Broadway show I Can Get It For You Wholesale and cut a few albums but it was Funny Girl that made her a superstar.
No more summer shows: Lea is also taking the show seriously. She recently canceled her remaining summer concert tour dates so she could focus on getting ready for the role; still from Glee
The score produced one of her most enduring hits – People – which became the title song of her album that dislodged the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night from number one.
When the show opened on Broadway it became a smash hit and received a rapturous response for her performance which she also took to London.
Barbra played opposite Charlie Chaplin’s son Sydney – with whom she had an affair amid her marriage to her first husband Elliott Gould.
She reprized her role for the movie, which assembled Old Hollywood stalwarts like director William Wyler and cinematographer Harry Stradling.
Who’s who: The current Funny Girl revival is directed by Michael Mayer, who won a Tony for the original production of Spring Awakening – the show that made Lea a star in 2006; Beanie pictured
Her leading man in the film was Omar Sharif, with whom she also had an affair – and with whom she set off a scandal when a still of one of their staged kisses for the film went public in 1967, the year of the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel.
The movie was the top grosser of 1968, with Roger Ebert writing: ‘The trouble with Funny Girl is almost everything except Barbra Streisand. She is magnificent.’
Although the movie led to a critically savaged sequel called Funny Lady in 1975 the show has never been revived on the Great White Way before.
A Broadway revival was attempted in 2011 with Lauren Ambrose as Fanny but was ultimately scrapped over problems raising money.
However in 2015 and 2016 a London production with Sheridan Smith in the title role managed to become a runaway success.
The show went from a limited engagement at the Menier Chocolate Factory to a longer run at the Savoy Theater that was then extended by popular demand.
The music that makes me dance: Barbra is pictured onstage in the original production of Funny Girl – the project that made her a superstar