Lea: “Funny Girl” Or “Merrily”?

The news that Lea Michele would “graduate” from “Glee” after this fall’s third season immediately set theatre chat sites ablaze. (Meanwhile, Lea herself is smarting from being snubbed by Emmy noms today.) Doesn’t this mean, the nerds asked, that Lea is available to star in the upcoming revival of “Funny Girl” at the Ahmanson in L.A. in January? (She auditioned for the role, blatantly, at the 2010 Tony Awards.) Possibly. But let me tell you something about Bartlett Sher who will be directing that little show long associated with Miss Barbra Joan: he will cast someone who will make the musical work in his re-conception of it. Lea may sell tickets initially, but, as Bart showed with his “South Pacificrevival, the star of a great show should primarily be the show itself. What’s more, finding an unknown and making her a star with “Funny Girl” parallels the story of the show’s plot, and feels much fresher than casting Lea, even though she would draw scads of “Glee” fans. Meanwhile, others are speculating that Lea should costar in the upcoming City Center/NY, possibly pre-Broadway revival of Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” with Jonathan Groff and Gavin Creel. Lea, of course, starred brilliantly with Groff on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and, I can tell you, had quite a crush on ole Jon even though he is gayer than a hairnet.

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