“Funny Girl” is Barbra Streisand’s show, and that’s half the battle of bringing it back to Broadway without her. Fanny Brice is the role that makes her a star. She originates the role of Brice, a vaudeville comedian, on Broadway and later wins an Oscar for its film adaptation. “Don’t Rain on My Parade” becomes one of her signature songs and “hello, gorgeous” one of her signature lines. “Funny Girl” is not revived on Broadway after Streisand appears in it because it is assumed that no other actress can sing a song like “I’m the Greatest Star” and convince an audience that it’s true like Babs can … until nearly 60 years later.
December 2009: ‘Glee’ airs Lea Michele’s first ‘Funny Girl’ song
It’s the mid-season finale of the first season of “Glee,” and theater kids everywhere are glued to Fox. The episode is set at show choir sectionals, and our McKinley High School glee club is determined to shed their underdog status and finally win something.
June 2010: Michele appears on the Tonys to sing ‘Parade,’ again
June 2011: A ‘Funny Girl’ revival is planned without Michele
February 2014: A fictional ‘Funny Girl’ revival comes to ‘Glee’
In “Glee’s” fifth season, Michele’s Rachel moves to New York and devotes her life to scoring the lead in a revival of “Funny Girl.” Her frenemy and former glee club teammate Santana Lopez (played by the late Naya Rivera) is also vying for the lead role. Rachel ends up getting cast, but so does Santana — as Rachel’s understudy. The producers of this fictional revival say the competition between the two will drum up buzz for the show — and years before the real-life “Funny Girl” revival makes it to Broadway, art imitates life.