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Lea Michele "never talks about herself," per Funny Girl co-star Tovah Feldshuh

Tovah Feldshuh, who plays Mrs. Brice in the fanfare-heavy Broadway revival, says Lea Michele "doesn't come close" to warranting diva criticism

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Lea Michele and Tovah Feldshuh
Lea Michele and Tovah Feldshuh
Image: The A.V. Club, Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Well, Lea Michele certainly never threatened to shit in Tovah Feldshuh’s wig. In a new interview with Variety, Feldshuh lauds her Funny Girl co-star for being both humble and hard-working. It’s a different stance than some of Michele’s other former colleagues have taken, but one Feldshuh is stalwart in.

“Lea never talks about herself. Never,” Feldshuh shares. “The word diva doesn’t even apply to her. It doesn’t come close. She’s a working actress. She’s very good for the community.”


Feldshuh also says that Michele’s fans can delight in knowing that “her greatness of talent is coupled with her decency as a human being.” She also has a message for anyone who doesn’t count themselves as a part of Michele’s camp.

“And those who are not her fans, let me assure you, she is a dream to work with,” Feldshuh shares. “She’s certainly wonderful to me. She calls me ‘mom.’”


In the fanfare-heavy Funny Girl Broadway revival, Feldshuh plays Mrs. Brice, mother to Michele’s Fanny Brice (and the production’s titular funny girl). Feldshuh joined the cast after the previous Mrs. Brice and other Glee star, Jane Lynch, departed.

Funny Girl’s most memorable casting shake-up, however, was an uncanny reification of Michele’s character arc on Glee. Michele stepped into the role after Beanie Feldstein made an early departure. Although Feldstein’s casting had been thoroughly hyped, most critics agreed she just didn’t have the pipes for a show that comes alive in its musical numbers.

Regardless of any Michele-adjacent drama on or off Broadway, Feldshuh expresses nothing but gratitude for her role in Funny Girl, and the experience of starring alongside Michele. By most accounts, Michele’s portrayal of Fanny is not only winning but show-salvaging. And according to Feldshuh, Michele’s star power gives each live show a whole new decorum.

“Forget just coming back to Broadway. What is it like to be in Funny Girl? It’s like performing with The Beatles,” Feldshuh shares. “Our performances, thanks to Lea Michele, are theatrical events.”