While reactions to Lea Michele’s casting in Funny Girl have ranged from “funny” to “girl,” once Samantha Ware brings around the clouds from Twitter, Michele might as well be belting out “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
Ware, who co-starred with Michele on Glee’s sixth season, reacted to Michele’s Broadway success by focusing on the color of the Great White Way.
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Samantha Ware Speaks Out
“Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness. ” Hollywood does the same,” Ware said in a tweet this morning, referencing Michele replacing Beanie Feldstein. “Yes, silence is complicity. Yes, I’m loud. Yes, I’d do it again.”
Ware tweeted about how Michele made her life “a living hell” on Glee by, among other things, threatening to s—- in her wig two years ago.
“She said I don’t deserve to have that job,” Ware said in a subsequent Variety interview. “She talked about how she has reigned. And here’s the thing: I completely understood that and was ready to be like, ‘This is your show. I’m not here to be disrespectful.’ But at that point, we were already past the respect, and she was just abusing her power.”
Ware was critical of the lack of intervention in the future Fanny Brice’s behavior, and now, two years later, he is unsurprised to see that behavior rewarded.
Michele later posted an Instagram apology promising to “be better in the future,” but Ware dismissed it as more proof that the Emmy-nominated actress “hasn’t learned anything.”
“Am I calling Lea a racist? No,” Ware told Variety. “Does Lea have racist tendencies? I think Lea suffers from a symptom of living in this world in an industry that is tailored to white people.”
Many of Michele’s co-stars, not just Ware, have spoken out against the actress’s behavior. Cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce’s transgender portrayer Heather Morris said former co-star Rachel Berry was “unpleasant to work with.”
Despite receiving numerous messages from Black actors and actresses sharing stories about “being on set and terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of their show,” Olivier Award winner Amber Riley declined to comment directly on the Ware-Michele drama.
Despite their concerns about privilege and power abuse and the Hollywood culture of turning a blind eye, neither Ware nor Riley thought Michele was racist. Ware then criticized Broadway, which, at least on the surface, displays a greater dedication to diversity in its award ceremonies for engaging in the same behavior.
When Funny Girl opens on September 6, Lea Michele will not be eligible for a Tony.
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