More than 10 years after Glee premiered on the small screen, one of its final story lines came to life on Sept. 6 when the show’s lead actress, Lea Michele, made her debut as Fanny Brice in Broadway’s 2022 revival of Funny Girl.
If you need a refresher, here’s what you missed on Glee: with a vocal range almost as big as her ego, Michele’s Rachel Berry always had her eyes set on stardom. The character was also obsessed with Barbra Streisand and performed several of her signature tunes throughout the series (most notably, Funny Girl’s own “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” introducing a whole new generation to the 1964 musical). A couple seasons after graduating from McKinley High and embarking on a journey of self-discovery in New York, she finally landed her dream role as, you guessed it, Fanny Brice in Glee’s version of a Funny Girl revival. So yeah, life really does imitate art.
Fanny marked a Broadway first for Rachel — but for Michele, it’s a homecoming. Pre-Glee, the singer-actress made her Broadway debut as Young Cosette in Les Misérables at age eight. She later originated the role of Wendla, the female lead in Spring Awakening. It may not be her first circus, but Funny Girl was “a dream come true” for Michele, too.
To celebrate the fictional-turned-real-life casting, we went through Glee’s 700+ song catalog to choose 15 of our absolute favorite Rachel solos. Take a look back at her top musical performances, all of which helped cement the musical-dramedy’s place as a pop culture phenomenon.