In an interview with People published Friday (Sept. 2), the former Glee star revealed that in spite of all the drama that’s surrounded her casting as Feldstein’s replacement in the musical, she had actually reached out to the Booksmart star with kind regards about her performance. “I saw the show. I wrote her and told her what an incredible job I thought that she did,” Michele, who will step into the role of Fanny Brice on Sept. 6, told the publication.
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“I thought she was hilarious and beautiful and so wonderful,” she continued. “This is not an easy role, and she took it on with such bravery. And I wrote her and told her that.”
Feldstein hasn’t said much about Funny Girl since announcing on July 10 that she’d be leaving the production nearly a month ahead of when she’d previously been scheduled to make her (still earlier than originally planned) departure. The day after, it was announced that Michele would be taking over as leading lady.
Many who’d been keeping up with the show attributed Feldstein’s early exit to the generally negative reviews she received while portraying Fanny Brice, a character originated by Barbra Streisand, and based on the real-life comedian of the same name. Long before Feldstein was even announced to be stepping away from the show, her abilities were compared by fans to the talents of Michele, who sang a number of Funny Girl songs on Glee and has long been vocal about her ambitions to play Fanny.
“I think that everybody just thinks everything is so drama-filled,” the Scream Queens alum told People. “I also think that people really love the excitement of pitting women against each other, which I think is really sad and unfortunate.”
The new interview comes just one day after The New York Times published a profile on Michele, who addressed everything from the casting drama to the allegations of bullying and racism made against her in 2020. “I have an edge to me,” she told the newspaper. “I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”