Lea Michele is speaking out on how “Funny Girl” is introducing audiences to who she is after a process of self-reflection.
Following allegations of toxic workplace behavior and racially insensitive bullying on the “Glee” set, Michele replaced Beanie Feldstein in the lead “Funny Girl” role on Broadway in July 2022. Michele admitted she has “an edge” due to her need for perfection in performances, but added more context in a recent interview with Jeremy O. Harris for Interview magazine.
“I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect. I did a lot of personal reach-outs,” Michele said. “But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back. More than anything, I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to apply the things that I’ve learned over the past ten-plus years in a positive way. What I told myself stepping into ‘Funny Girl’ was, ‘If I can’t take my role as a leader offstage as important as my role as a leader onstage, then I shouldn’t do this show.’ Because that was always a struggle for me.”
Michele added, “So to have this opportunity now at 36 years old as a wife and a mother — to step into this job that comes with so much pressure and a huge amount of responsibility — was a very, very big achievement for me.”
The “Spring Awakening” alum continued, “At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel. And you have to put aside your feelings. The conversations that I’ve had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me. I’ve been doing this for a really long time and I’m not going to ever blame anything on the things that I’ve been through in my life. But you also can’t ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life. When I got the call that I was going to play Fanny Brice, I said, ‘Okay, this could be really big for my career, but it’s also helpful to have this opportunity to introduce people to who I am now.'”
Michele shared that she suffers from “a lot of anxiety” but “again, I never want to use what I’m going through as an excuse for anything, but it is part of my journey.”
She added, “I’m very hard on myself. The more these positive things happen, the more nervous I get. It’s nice to take little moments to be like, ‘You fucking did that.’ It’s also nice to let the other ones go and just keep my eyes on the prize. Listen, my alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m., I take my son to school, I spend the day getting my house and life situated for him. I’m a mom all day and then I go to work at night and I do my show. Those are the two things that are the most important to me.”
Michele similarly told The New York Times in September 2022 she now is addressing her emotional “blind spots” when it comes to being part of a cast.
“I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader,” the actress said. “It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.”
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