At least four standing ovations before the break. Sounds like Lea Michele’s first night as Fanny Brice in funny girl went, well, merry.
More ovations followed throughout the evening, including a long and rousing one at the last curtain, with a sobbing Michele and co-star Tovah Feldshuh, who also made her debut, receiving large bouquets of white roses.
Among those who stand: Former Spring blossoms cast mate Jonathan Groff, cheerfulness creator Ryan Murphy and Harvey Fierstein, who have added some new material to this musical revival. Also in attendance was Zachary Quinto. During the curtain call, Michele seemed to point to Groff and wave at Groff.
Michele will make her public debut on the show tonight, and while critics won’t be in attendance until later this month, audience members are already taking to social media with comments and accounts from the show. Sources at the August Wilson Theater tell TBEN that Michele got her first standing ovation upon entering, and there were at least three more before the end of the first act.
Michele also apparently had a hard time laughing at one of the show’s more innocent bits of dialogue — though given the wacky conspiracy rumors about her literacy, the quip was more than a little heavy: At the beginning of the show, Fanny recalls growing up in Henry Street in Brooklyn, noting, “I hadn’t read many books.”
Also, her debut on the show tonight was Feldshuh as Mrs. Brice. At one point during the curtain call, Feldshuh pushed a tearful Michele forward to stand alone, but Michele grabbed Feldshuh’s hand and pulled her along, provoking even more applause. Neither Michele nor Feldshuh made any speeches.
TBEN will post Michele’s first night photos as they become available.