Lea Michele

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Lea Michele
Born Lea Sarfati Michele
August 29, 1986 (1986-08-29) (age 27)
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer, dancer
Years active 1995–present

Lea Michele Sarfati (born August 29, 1986),[1] known by her stage name Lea Michele, is an American actress and singer. Michele began working as a child actress on Broadway in shows like Ragtime and Les Misérables. She was the first person to play the character Wendla in the musical Spring Awakening and now plays Rachel Berry in the Fox television series Glee.

Early life[change | edit source]

Michele was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1986. Her mother is Edith Sarfati, a nurse, and her father is Marc Sarfati, a deli owner.[1] Michele's mother is Italian American and Roman Catholic, while her father is a Spanish Sephardic Jew.[2][3] Michele grew up in New York City and Tenafly, New Jersey. She went to Rockland County Day School [4] for elementary school in New York and then Tenafly High School.[5] Michele was home schooled one year while working in Toronto Canada on Ragtime. She went to Stagedoor Manor in the Catskills, a performing arts training center.[6] She was then later accepted to the CAP21 program at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, but instead continued working on stage.[7][8]

Career[change | edit source]

At eight years old, Michele went with a friend to an open casting call for a musical. She decided on a whim she wanted to try out. She was offered the part and made her debut on Broadway in 1995 as a replacement in the role of Young Cosette in the New York City showing of Les Misérables. Then, in 1998, she played Tateh's daughter, the Little Girl, in the original Broadway cast of Ragtime. In 2004, Michele played Shprintze and Chava in the Broadway revival of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. She also sang on the 2003 Broadway revival cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof.

She played the role of Wendla in Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's musical version of Spring Awakening, starring in early workshops to Off-Broadway and finally playing the role in the Broadway production at the age of 20.[9] Around the same time that the show was set to go to Broadway, she was offered the role of Eponine in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables.[10] She decided to remain with Spring Awakening, which debuted on Broadway in December 2006. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her acting in Spring Awakening in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Musical.[11]

On May 18, 2008, Michele left Spring Awakening with co-star Jonathan Groff. She acted in a reading of Sheik and Sater's new musical, Nero, in July 2008 at Vassar College.[12] From August 8–August 10, 2008, she played Eponine in the Hollywood Bowl's Les Misérables concert. She sings on the original Broadway cast recordings of Ragtime and Spring Awakening.

Michele stars in the Fox television series Glee, where she plays the star singer of a high school glee club, Rachel Berry. The pilot debuted on May 19, 2009. She has won a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding ensemble performance and the 2009 Satellite Award for best actress. She also received nominations for an Emmy Award, two nominations for a Golden Globe Award, and Teen Choice Award for her performance in the role. Her cover of The All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" reached the top 40 on the US Billboard 200.[13] Michele is the lead singer in 14 of the top 20 selling Glee songs as of 2010.[14]

Michele was included in Time magazine's 2010 list of the 100 Most Influential People In the World.[15] FHM named her #7 on 2010 Sexiest Women List, which was the highest ranking for a new entry on the list that year.[16] Michele was named to People Magazine's Best Dressed List of 2010 as "The Newbie"[17] and she was voted "2010 Most Stylish Star" by E! Online.[18]

In 2010, Michele joined the cast of the animated movie Dorothy of Oz,[19] voicing the lead role of Dorothy Gale.[20] That same year, she joined the cast of Garry Marshall's romantic comedy New Year's Eve.[21]

Before Super Bowl XLV, on February 6, 2011, she performed "America the Beautiful" with the Air Force Tops In Blue.[22]

Advocacy[change | edit source]

Michele is active in charities for gay rights and animal rights, as well as in numerous other charities. In 2008, Michele was a part of the PETA ad campaign "Buck Cruelty! Say No to Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides".[23] In April 2010, Michele appeared in a PSA for PETA speaking out against fur clothing.[24] In September 2010, Michele was honored by PETA for her work for animals.[25] In addition to working with PETA, Michele is also a vegan.[26]

In support of gay rights, Michele performed at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in November 2009.[27][28] In the same month, Michele and Jonathan Groff sang in the True Colors Cabaret, a fundraiser in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.[29]

In 2008, Michele performed at a benefit concert, "Alive in the World",[30] to aid the Twin Tower Orphan Fund. Michele has also been active with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. For Broadway Cares, Michele has participated in Broadway Barks, Broadway Bares, Easter Bonnet Competition and The Flea Market and Grand Auction. In October 2010, Michele performed at a benefit concert for the Painted Turtle, a camp for children with illnesses. The concert celebrated the 35th anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with Michele playing the lead role of Janet Weiss for the benefit.[31] In February 2011 she performed for The Grammy's MusiCares Benefit in Los Angeles, California. Money earned by the event go to help musicians in need.[32]

Awards and nominations[change | edit source]

Year Award Category Result Notes
2007 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated Spring Awakening
Broadway.com Audience Award Favorite Leading Actress in a Broadway Musical Won
Favorite Female Breakthrough Performance Won
Favorite Onstage Pair (with Jonathan Groff) Won
2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album Original Broadway Cast, including Lea Michele Won Spring Awakening
2009 New York Television Festival Award Best Nonscripted Host or Star Won Around the Block
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Breakout Star Nominated Glee
Satellite Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy Television Series Won
2010 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
NewNowNext Award Brink of Fame: Actor Won
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actress: Comedy Nominated
Choice Music: Group (with Glee Cast) Nominated
Gold Derby TV Award Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series Nominated
Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series Nominated
PETA's 30th Anniversary Gala and Humanitarian Awards Award Honor Won  
Billboard's Women in Music Triple Threat Award Honor Won  
Glamour Woman of the Year Award US TV Actress of the Year Won  
Satellite Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy Television Series Nominated Glee
2011 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Grammy Award Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals ("Don't Stop Believin") Nominated
Grammy Award Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Nominated

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lea Michele: Biography". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/lea-michele/bio/252097. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  2. "“Little Miss Big-Time”". Glamour. 2010-09-03. http://mygloss.com/fit/2010/09/03/lea-michele-loves-being-healthy/. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  3. Yuan, Jada (2009-08-23). "Choir Girl". NY Magazine. http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2009/tv/58493/. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  4. http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/05/exclusive-glee-star-lea-micheles-childhood-photos
  5. Freydkin, Donna (2010-05-10). "Lea Michele never stopped believing". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2010-05-10-LeaMichele10_CV_N.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  6. Bonanos, Christopher (2010-07-11). "Jazz Hands, Everyone!". New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/arts/theater/features/67156/. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  7. Gans, Andrew (2006-11-04). "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Spring Awakening's Lea Michele Plus News of LuPone, Kritzer and Gravitte". Playbill. http://www.playbill.com/celebritybuzz/article/103763-DIVA-TALK-Chatting-with-Spring-Awakenings-Lea-Michele-Plus-News-of-LuPone-Kritzer-and-Gravitte. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  8. Messer, Lesley (2010-05-11). "Who Is Lea Michele's Broadway Star Beau?". People. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20368310,00.html. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  9. Drama Desk Official website
  10. "Diva Talk: Chatting With 'Spring Awakening'/'Les-Mizs' Lea Michele Plus News of Ebersole Eder" playbill.com
  11. D. Rooney."Musicals pose Tony voting crunch", Variety.com, April 26, 2007
  12. Bacalzo, Dan. "Arden, Carlson, Menzel, Michele, Robbins, et al. Set for Sater and Sheik's Nero", theatermania.com, 23 June 2008.
  13. "'Glee Cover Takes Top Spot In Ireland", digitalspy.com
  14. [1]
  15. Lea Michele – The 2010 TIME 100, Time Magazine
  16. Lea Michele – FHM #7, gleehab.com, 3 June 2010.
  17. [2]
  18. [3]
  19. http://www.dorothyofoz.com/
  20. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/12/entertainment/la-et-quick-20100612
  21. "Glee's Lea Michele to Celebrate New Year's Eve". MovieWeb.com. 2010-10-22. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEFflSc4xeE2IH. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  22. "Tops in Blue to perform at Super Bowl". January 31, 2011. http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/01/airforce-tops-blue-013111w/. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  23. [4], Broadway World
  24. "Lea Michele Says No to Fur in PETA Ad" eonline.com
  25. [5] Radar
  26. "'Glee' star Lea Michele hits Alicia Silverstone's blog". Mother Nature Network. 2010-10-25. http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/glee-star-lea-michele-hits-alicia-silverstones-blog. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  27. [6] broadwayworld.com, November 24, 2009
  28. "STAGE TUBE: Lea Michele Sings 'On My Own' at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner", broadwayworld.com, November 29, 2009.
  29. Glikas, Bruce. "Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff Reunite Onstage at True Colors Cabaret", BroadwayWorld.com, November 30, 2009
  30. "Alive in the World". Alive in the World. http://www.aliveintheworld.com. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  31. "Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute, With Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Presented October 28". Playbill.com. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/144412-Rocky-Horror-Picture-Show-Tribute-With-Lea-Michele-Matthew-Morrison-Presented-Oct-28. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  32. [7] Playbill

Other websites[change | edit source]