Lady Gaga ‘turned down Lea Michele’s Funny Girl’ – and it was cursed from then on, insider claims

Lady Gaga Lea Michele

A theatre insider has said Lady Gaga was the first choice for the Broadway Funny Girl revival, currently starring Lea Michele.

Funny Girl returned to Broadway in 2022 with Beanie Feldstein in the lead role – though rumours had previously tipped Gaga to appear.

Feldstein’s performance was met with lukewarm reception, and she bowed out of the role early, to be replaced by Glee’s Lea Michele.

Her performance has been met with sell-out shows and standing ovations – yet some people, including former Glee co-star Samantha Ware, have been critical of the casting due to previous allegations of abusive behaviour.

Despite Michele’s success, TikToker Sweaty Oracle, aka theatre insider Jonathan Lewis, has said Funny Girl revival was ‘cursed’ from the moment it failed in getting Lady Gaga on board. 

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lewis said the production team “didn’t wait for Lady Gaga to open up her schedule to do it. That’s where it started”.

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

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

Lea Michele ‘smelled blood in the water’

Lea Michele’s casting as Fanny Brice in the revival of Funny Girl has been the centre of Broadway gossip since it was announced on July 11, not least because the former Glee star replaced Feldstein who made a sudden, early exit under mysterious circumstances. 

Feldstein won unfavourable comparisons with Barbara Streisand, who played Fanny in the original 1968 production. 

Although Lewis describes himself as a Beanie defender, he told Rolling Stone that the show could “not get back on its feet” after her casting.

“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. 

When the reviews started rolling in, sources told Lewis that Michele “smelled blood in the water.”

Michele has been angling for this role for years, and her casting mirrored a plot in Glee which saw her character Rachel Berry head to Broadway to star in – you guessed it – Funny Girl.

Her casting has resurfaced the controversy that followed Michele from the Glee set, where she was accused of harassment and bullying on set. 

Former co-star Samantha Ware claimed that Michele harassed her on set, wouldn’t let her sit at the table with other cast members and once threatened to “shit in her wig.”

Controversy non-withstanding, Funny Girl made record profits after Michele’s debut on 6 September, with seats selling for as much as $2,000. 

Lewis isn’t convinced the initial success is a sign of things to come – he noted that Feldstein’s arrival was met with sell-out shows.

“I think Funny Girl is over by the holiday season in January,” he said.

While she was away from the show with COVID, Michele launched a TikTok account where she dueted a parody video of her “Don’t Rain On My Parade” performance and finally addressed the long-running internet joke that she can’t read. 

The popularity of the ‘Lea Michele is illiterate’ joke has bought in an audience laugh everytime Michele reads Fanny’s line “I haven’t read so many books.”