Lady Gaga was 'first choice' for Funny Girl revival, according to Broadway insider

The insider states the production team “didn’t wait for Lady Gaga to open up her schedule to do it."


Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Instagram @/ladygaga and Wiki Commons

The drama and gossip surrounding the Broadway revival of Funny Girl has rivalled that of the film Don't Worry Darling.

And following long-circulating rumours about controversial casting decisions, a Broadway insider has now said that Gaga was the first choice for the famed role of Fanny Brice.

The Funny Girl revival returned in 2022 with Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein at the helm to take on role that is synonymous with Barbra Streisand.

In the months that followed, After some unfavourable reviews, it was announced that Feldstein would be leaving the show and Glee's Lea Michele would replace her.

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Despite testing positive for Covid almost immediately after stepping into the role Michele's performance has been met with almost completely rave reviews.

Michele sang most of the song's from the show during her time on Glee, leading many to think she would get the part automatically if a revival ever happened.

However, TikTok theatre insider, Sweaty Oracle, aka Jonathan Lewis, has now told Rolling Stone that originally Lady Gaga was lined up to play the central role of Fanny Brice but the production team “didn’t wait for Lady Gaga to open up her schedule to do it."

He claimed that production originally reached out to Gaga, but “were never gonna give her enough money” to take the role.

He continued: “Look at what the set looks like. They don’t have anything close to Gaga money.”

It would certainly have been an interesting casting choice to have Gaga in the role. She has the vocal chops for sure, and has demonstrated her acting prowess with roles in A Star is Born and The House of Gucci.

Lewis adds that although he was a Feldstein fan and that "I did not think she deserved a third of what hate she got," it was a decision that led to direct comparisons to Steisand in the original production. 

“You need somebody who can really handle that score. And the second [Beanie was cast], I think they shot themselves in the foot,” he said.

Though the shows with Michele have been hot tickets, Lewis doesn't believe this will last long: "I think Funny Girl is over by the holiday season in January."

Though Lady Gaga may have missed out on Funny Girl, she is confirmed to be staring in Todd Philips' Joker sequel Joker: Folie à Deux, a musical in which she (possibly) plays love-interest, Harley Quinn.

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.