Lea Michele gets six standing ovations for Funny Girl debut on Broadway

Lea Michele apparently received a total of six standing ovations for her debut performance as Fanny Brice in Broadway’s Funny Girl revival, which opened on Tuesday (6 September).

The show at New York’s August Wilson Theater marked Michele’s return to Broadway for the first time in 13 years.

According to news reports, audience members rose to their feet as soon as the Glee actor, 36, stepped on stage.

This was followed by three more ovations for Michele as Brice – a role first played by Barbara Streisand – before the intermission, Deadline reported.

One of these was for her rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, which Michele also performed as her character Rachel Berry on Fox’s hit musical dramedy Glee.

According to Variety, the show was attended by A-list celebrities including Michele’s Spring Awakening co-star and close friend Jonathan Groff, who was “sobbing at various points”.

Other stars in attendance included Glee creator Ryan Murphy, Drew Barrymore, Zachary Quinto, producer Jordan Roth, and Harvey Fierstein, who said he hadn’t had “a night like this in the theatre in years”.

Tovah Feldshuh also earned praise for her performance as Brice’s mother. During the curtain call, both Michele and Feldshuh received bouquets of white roses on-stage from company members.

Variety reporter Rebecca Rubin tweeted a video of Michele “sobbing through her first curtain call” in Funny Girl after the performance.

Ahead of the premiere, Michele posted a picture of herself in character.

She also dedicated a post to “to the Fannys who have fearlessly graced the stage before me”, including Beanie Feldstein, Julie Benko, Ephie Ardema and “Barbara Streisand, our queen”.

When the revival was first announced, Feldstein was announced to star as Fanny Brice. However, in July this year, the show’s producers confirmed rumours that Michele would be taking over the role from 6 September, amid mixed reviews for Feldstein’s performance.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Feldstein said that she stepped away as production decided to take the show in a “different direction.”

“Playing Fanny Brice...has been a lifelong dream of mine and doing so for the last few months has been a great joy”, Feldstein said at the time.