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re: New York Times Review: In Lea Michele, ‘Funny Girl’ Has Finally Found Its Fanny
Posted by: fm_15 08:23 pm EDT 09/29/22
In reply to: New York Times Review: In Lea Michele, ‘Funny Girl’ Has Finally Found Its Fanny - ShowGoer 01:07 pm EDT 09/29/22

Just watched her last night after seeing Beanie in May. I'm so happy he also zoomed in on the ending for the comparison of the two. The ending with Beanie's reprise of "Don't Rain..." at the dressing mirror feels abrupt and unfinished, as if the writers didn't know how to end the show. That's because she plays down the preceding break-up scene with Nick (almost like she was just having a bad day instead of the devastating moment that it is ). So when she picks herself up for the final declaration of "Don't Rain...", I'm left feeling: that's it? Michelle on the other hand, peppers the scene with more dramatic weight. In her hands it really is the lowest point for her in the show so that when she launches into the "Don't Rain..." reprise, it DOES feel like a rebirth, a cry for survival and therefore...a proper cathartic ending. As for the rest of the show, Beanie did well in act 1 but was virtually absent for act 2 because she's so unbelievable as mature Fanny. Michelle performs both acts equally well. Another noteworthy difference is that her performance even changes the dynamics of the onstage chemistry between her and Karimloo. Her performance in Act 2 brought out a gentler Nick from Karimloo. You almost felt sorry for him whereas with Beanie, he came off as just a jerk.

What I am most impressed by is that Michelle absolutely avoids delivering a note for note copy of Barbra's performance. Amazingly she refrains from lingering indulgently on some notes mid-line. She sings the big show-off lines, without overly adorning the notes. (I was afraid she would get too "American Idol"ish) While there are many similarities, Michelle's voice (to my ears) handles pianissimo more deftly. This was particularly evident in her exquisite "People" which she delivers mostly in an almost hushed lullaby style. I've never heard People sung that sweetly before. Overall a surprising evening for me because as someone familiar with her from Spring Awakenings and Glee, I really thought I could predict how she would play this role (sledge-hammer!) but instead it came out surprisingly delicate.
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