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Lea Michele Loses 'Funny Girl' Role to Lauren Ambrose?

Lauren ambrose Rumors and speculation about the upcoming 2012 Broadway revival of Funny Girl suggested that Glee star Lea Michele was the clear frontrunner to star as Fanny Brice, the role that made Barbra Streisand a star nearly five decades ago. Instead, E! reports that Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) has been offered the role.

Michele has drawn comparisons to Babs since the first season of Glee, and has performed multiple songs made famous by Streisand on the show. But Ambrose may have actually had a better chance to be cast all along: Bartlett Sher, who is directing the Funny Girl revival, also directed Ambrose in her Broadway debut in the revival of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! in 2006.

In 2009, Ambrose revealed her Broadway musical aspirations in an interview with the New Yorker. "I would love to, if it was the right thing," she said. "Unfortunately, they always want you to sign on for, like, twenty years. But mostly if it was just the right bit. I would love to do a musical. Something old-fashioned, probably."

For readers who may doubt Ambrose's ability to match Michele's vocal fireworks, be aware that the actress is also a trained opera singer and performs with her own band, Lauren Ambrose and the Leisure Class. If you want proof, check out this video of Ambrose singing "My Man" from Funny Girl:

(To compare, listen to Michele's version of "My Man" from Glee here.)

Funny Girl is scheduled to begin performances Jan. 15, 2012 at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. Rehearsals begin in November in NYC. The production is expected to move to Broadway after its developmental run, Feb. 1-26, 2012 at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A.

Did the producers make the right choice in Ambrose? Do you still want to see Lea Michele follow in Streisand's footsteps -- or is she better off taking a different path back to Broadway? Leave your comments to share your thoughts.

-- Daniel Lehman

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I'm not a big fan of Lea Michele. Her 'diva' attitude on and off Glee, really turns me off. Congratulations to Lauren Ambrose, I'm sure she will do justice to Fanny Brice.

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