Less than a week into her highly anticipated and much scrutinized run in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl, Lea Michele has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing her to take a 10-day break from the production.
“Unfortunately, I have officially tested positive for COVID. In following production protocols, I cannot return to the theater for 10 days,” the Glee star wrote in a message on her Instagram stories Saturday. “Thankfully staying home today and catching this early protected so many members of our company from being exposed.”
Michele had revealed earlier in the weekend that she was showing symptoms, but an initial COVID test showed inconclusive results
Several members of the Funny Girl cast have been sidelined by an ongoing COVID outbreak, according to the Los Angeles Times,
“Funny Girl has been and still is taking a tremendous wave of COVID with close to a dozen company members currently out,” Michele wrote on Instagram. “We are almost on the other side of this and our swings and understudies are doing such an incredible job to keep our show on its feet. This week has been a dream come true and I cannot wait to get back — you better get ready. See you soon.”
According to the official Funny Girl website, Michele is expected to return to the stage at the August Wilson Theater on September 20, with her understudy, Julie Benko, taking on the lead role of Fanny Brice until then.
Michele just debuted in the role last week, taking over for Beanie Feldstein who abruptly left the production in July. She received six standing ovations after her first performance on September 6, but her casting drew scrutiny when it was announced. Social media users poked fun at the parallels between the actor and her high-maintenance character in Glee, who, like Michele herself, dreamt of starring in Funny Girl.
Others, like former Glee co-star Samantha Ware, sought to remind the public of allegations of racism and transphobia leveled at Michele in 2020. Michele addressed those allegations in the run-up to her Funny Girl debut, blaming her toxic behavior on “perfectionism.”