Every Beanie Feldstein theatre role we love on stage and screen
Feldstein currently stars in Funny Girl on Broadway.
Don’t tell Beanie Feldstein not to fly — she’s simply got to! The 28-year-old star has rapidly risen to A-list status in the past few years, breaking out with a starring role in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and following it up with acclaimed turns in the coming-of-age films Lady Bird and Booksmart.
At heart, though, Feldstein’s a theatre kid, and she has the resume to show it. Her first acting credit as a kid saw her singing on a stage, and since taking Hollywood by storm, she’s circled back around and become one to watch in theatre. Feldstein sang in a virtual Sondheim performance, made a Broadway debut in a Golden Age classic, led a haunting play-to-film adaptation, and more.
Now, she’s leading the first Broadway revival of Funny Girl, introducing a whole new generation to comedy legend Fanny Brice after Barbra Streisand originated the role 60 years ago. Before you go see her alongside Ramin Karimloo and Jane Lynch in this highly anticipated revival, learn more about all the other times Feldstein stole the stage and screen in theatrical projects.
My Wife and Kids
Hey Mr. Arnstein (and world), here she is! The ABC sitcom My Wife and Kids marked Feldstein’s acting debut. She has a brief moment to shine in one episode as a kindergartener trying out for a school play. And guess what her character sings for the audition? “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl!
Lady Bird was one of the movies that made Beanie Feldstein a household name. This coming-of-age film isn’t a theatre movie, per se, but it is theatre-adjacent. As Lady Bird’s (Saiorse Ronan) best friend Julie, she gets one of the most iconic lines in the show, retorting, “It’s the titular role!” when Lady Bird scoffs at being cast as the tempest in The Tempest. That moment alone is theatre, but we can also assume that, since the drama teacher was making up parts to include everyone, Julie performed in that production, too. Maybe Feldstein will do Shakespeare for real one day.
Hello, Beanie! The lavish 2017 revival of Hello, Dolly! was a star showcase for Bette Midler in (ahem) the titular role, but if you could peel your eyes off Midler’s red gown and feathers, you’d have seen Feldstein in her Broadway debut. She played Minnie Fay, a sweet, naive hat shop worker who Dolly sets up with hay and feed shop worker Barnaby (played by Taylor Trensch), while also setting up their bosses with each other. Minnie is one of the show’s many zany comic roles, and in hindsight, it was a natural step on the way to Feldstein snagging a comic leading role of her own.
Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Celebration
Amid the shutdown of the theatre industry in 2020, there were virtual performances that brought joy and light to fans and theatre professionals alike. One of those was Take Me to the World, a streamed concert to celebrate the 90th birthday of legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Among the many stars who participated were Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, Bernadette Peters — and Feldstein, singing “It Takes Two” from Into the Woods with longtime friend Ben Platt.
Merrily We Roll Along
Take Me to the World isn’t Feldstein’s only Sondheim collaboration with Platt. Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along is getting the film treatment, and Feldstein is playing Mary Flynn alongside Platt’s Charley Kringas. The musical centers on how their friendship, together with that of Broadway composer Franklin Shepard (Blake Jenner), changes over 20 years as Franklin becomes a movie producer and leaves Mary and Charley behind. The movie just shot its first scenes and is actually being filmed over the course of 20 years.
A theatre-adjacent movie you can see Feldstein in right now is The Humans, the 2021 film adaptation of Stephen Karam’s Tony-winning Best Play. The Humans is set at a family dinner, where Brigid (Feldstein) and her partner host her parents and sister at her run-down apartment. But this isn’t a happy reunion, as the family airs all their trauma, secrets, and long-held resentment. Feldstein performed alongside Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, Steven Yeun, June Squibb, and Jayne Houdyshell, who won a Tony for her performance in the Broadway production.
She’s the greatest star! After proving her chops in Broadway comedy, dramatic film, and everything in between, Feldstein landed her first Broadway lead as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl — a true full-circle moment after her acting debut all those years ago. She’s filling some big shoes, since Barba Streisand became an icon for playing the lovestruck Ziegfeld Follies showgirl on Broadway in 1964. But Feldstein nails the comedy of the role and makes it her own, and nobody is gonna rain on her parade!
Photo credit: Beanie Feldstein and Taylor Trensch in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)