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Lea Michele’s Funny Girl Debut Got An Unexpected Laugh Thanks To Those Rumors About Not Being Able To Read

Lea Michele in Those You've Known
(Image credit: HBO)

Lea Michele has finally landed a gig that she’s been eyeing for some time now. The Glee alum has returned to Broadway, where she’s playing the lead role in the highly anticipated revival of Funny Girl. While many had mostly been speculating as to whether she’ll nail the role, a strange claim has also been circulating as of late. The rumor alleges that Michele cannot read, (and the Internet has been having a field day with it). With that, in the midst of her debut in the show, the star got an unexpected laugh, courtesy of the reading claim. 

Lea Michele made her debut on Tuesday at the August Wilson Theatre in New York. All in all, the star has received praise for playing Fanny Brice, a role originated by Barbra Streisand in 1964. However, during the show, there was apparently one piece of dialogue that garnered a surprising laugh from the audience. It would seem that show attendees cracked up when Michele uttered the “I haven’t read many books” line while in character. Twitter user @bequietjoe was in attendance and made note of the moment in a post:

at lea michele’s FUNNY GIRL debut and the audience LAUGHED and GASPED when she delivered the like ‘I haven’t read many books.’

Anyone who’s seen the show surely knows that the line has long been a part of the script. But it’s hard not to see the irony of its significance now, given the gossip surrounding the current leading lady. While the attendees purportedly had a good laugh over the line, the situation as a whole hasn’t been a laughing matter for the actress herself. 

Reports of Lea Michele’s alleged illiteracy first entered the public consciousness a few years ago after her late Glee co-star, Naya Rivera, wrote about her in her memoir. The claims made their way to the Internet once again around the time that it was reported that the Scream Queens alum would replace Beanie Feldstein in Funny Girl. Michele has since responded to the Internet rumors, stating she “knew [her] lines every single day” while working on the hit Fox dramedy and that the array of assumptions are “sad.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that Lea Michelle’s co-stars have implied things or made formal accusations against her. In 2020, Samantha Ware claimed that Michele made the set intolerable and subjected her to a number of “traumatic microaggressions.” Several other Glee stars subsequently spoke out, offering their own takes on how she behaved on set. Shortly after the backlash, Michele issued a formal apology.

Despite this latest rumor hovering over her head, the actress has received praise for her work on Funny Girl this far. People reports that she received four standing ovations before the intermission. As of right now, it’s unclear as to when she’ll take her final bow as Fanny Brice but, until that happens, one has to wonder if other theater-goers will have the same type of response when she says the “read” line.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.