The 36-year-old Glee alum sat down with host Jimmy Fallon on Friday (Sept. 30) to discuss her starring role as Fanny Brice in the critically acclaimed theater production, and later delivered a mesmerizing performance of the Funny Girl number “People.”
“I’ve been wanting to come back to Broadway for so many years, I was gone for 15 years, Spring Awakening was the last show I did,” Michele said. “To be back and to be in the show that I’ve loved for so many years, but I’m such a fan of this production. Incredible cast. Incredible score.”
After months of hype, the curtain went up on Michele’s stint as the Funny Girl lead on Sept. 6. She took over from standby Julie Benko, who had performed the role since original star Beanie Feldstein exited the production in July. The show also stars Tovah Feldshuh as Mrs. Brice, alongside existing stars Ramin Karimloo and Tony nominee Jared Grimes.
Michele’s latest Broadway role isn’t the first time she’s taken a crack at some of the musical’s beloved songs made famous by Barbra Streisand. During the first season of Glee, the actress’ character Rachel Berry gave an instantly iconic performance of Act 1 closer “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” and later in the series moved to New York City to star in a Broadway revival of Funny Girl.
“Now I’m doing it,” Michele told Fallon. “I’m 36 now, and the story of Funny Girl spans through the course of many years. You see her love and her loss and her failures and her successes and becoming a mom and a wife… I feel like at this point being where I am right now, it’s just perfect. Timing is everything and I am so grateful.”
Watch Michele’s Tonight Show interview and her show-stopping performance of “People” below.