Lea Michele made her Glee character proud on Sunday during her final Funny Girl performance.
Michele earned a standing ovation — by some accounts, her fifth of the afternoon — when she closed Sunday’s show with a surprise performance of “My Man,” the Barbra Streisand cover that was not part of the original Broadway production nor the revival, but was included in the 1968 film.
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“This is the hardest song I’ve ever sung,” Michele said before launching into the number. Glee fans will recall that her character, Rachel Berry, recited a nearly identical line before performing the song in her Season 2 solo audition for Nationals.
Michele’s Rachel auditioned for the Broadway role of Fanny in the Season 4 episode “Sweet Dreams,” then made her Great White Way debut in Season 5’s “Opening Night,” for which she received a glowing review in the New York Times. Soon after, though, Rachel departed Broadway to headline a sitcom, That’s So Rachel, which was cancelled after one low-rated episode.
Like her on-screen character, the actor has long admired Streisand’s Funny Girl. In a farewell post on Instagram shared ahead of her last performance, Michele called Fanny “the role of a lifetime.”
“For the past year, I’ve had the honor and privilege of playing the iconic Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on the August Wilson Stage,” she wrote. “An opportunity my younger self could have only dreamed of. And did.”
Michele made her Funny Girl debut in September 2022, replacing American Crime Story’s Beanie Feldstein, who took her final bow that July. She performed “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” the iconic show-stopping number from the hit musical, at this year’s Tony Awards.
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