Lea Michele will have to take a week off from Broadway’s Funny Girl after testing positive for COVID again. The production announced on Instagram that the singer/actress will sit out the production through May 23, with Julie Benko playing the role of Fanny Brice until Michele is able to return; Ephie Aardema will step in for Friday’s (May 19) performance).
“Unfortunately, Lea Michele has tested positive for COVID. She will be out of the show this week and will return on Tuesday, May 23,” read the Instagram post. This is the second time Michele has been forced to step aside after testing positive for COVID following a week of missed shows in September.
According to Deadline, despite veteran Benko’s solid reviews in the standby Brice role — first in April 2022 and then again in August following Beanie Feldstein’s leave-taking — the production typically experiences “steep declines” in box office when Michele is out for vacation or other reasons. It also reported that since Michele took over from Feldstein in the revival last fall, Funny Girl has been one of Broadway’s biggest earners, with the show grossing more than $1.6 million last week. The musical is slated to close on Broadway on Sept. 3.
Two days before the announcement, Michele pulled her son Ever out of the crowd during Sunday’s Mother’s Day performance during the curtain call and carried him around to greet some of her cast mates. In March, Michele revealed that the two-year-old was hospitalized due to an undisclosed health issue. At the time she took a one-night break from Funny Girl to be at the hospital due to Ever’s undisclosed “scary health issue.”
Check out the post announcing Michele’s absence.
The article “Lea Michele Tests Positive For COVID, Sitting Out Broadway’s ‘Funny Girl’ For a Week” by Gil Kaufman was published on 17/05/2023 by www.billboard.com