Jane Lynch Says Lea Michele ‘Knocked It Out of the Park’ in “Funny Girl ”on Broadway (Exclusive)

Lynch praises her former 'Glee' costar's performance in the revival, noting that Rachel Berry's dream "came true"

<p>Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for ELLE</p> From Left: Lea Michele and Jane Lynch on June 7, 2016 in West Hollywood

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for ELLE

From Left: Lea Michele and Jane Lynch on June 7, 2016 in West Hollywood

Jane Lynch couldn't be prouder of Lea Michele.

While reminiscing about her days on Glee and the major stars that came out of the Fox series, Lynch, 63, can't help but gush about Michele, 37.

"Lea Michele, ladies and gentlemen. She basically had her dream come true — and the dream for the show come true — for Funny Girl," Lynch tells PEOPLE during an interview at Harrah's Resort SoCal, hours after she handed off the Funner, California, keys to the city's newest mayor, Martin Short. "And she just really killed it, knocked it out of the park."

Michele joined the Broadway production in September 2022, taking over the role of Fanny Brice from Beanie Feldstein, who kicked off the revival. She missed being on stage with Lynch, who played Mrs. Brice in the production until August before being replaced by Tovah Feldshuh, by just weeks.

"We almost overlapped," Lynch says, recalling the near-miss as she admits, "There's a part of me now going, 'You should have stayed. You should have stayed.' "

Related: Jane Lynch Teases Only Murders in the Building's 4th Season After Her Character’s Murder: 'I’m in It a Lot' (Exclusive)

<p>Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions; Bruce Glikas/WireImage</p> From Left: Lea Michele in 'Funny Girl'; Jane Lynch in 'Funny Girl'

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions; Bruce Glikas/WireImage

From Left: Lea Michele in 'Funny Girl'; Jane Lynch in 'Funny Girl'

Regardless, the Only Murders in the Building star praises the incredible performance her former costar put on in the show, which marked a major full-circle moment, given Michele's Glee character, Rachel Berry, had aspirations of being in Funny Girl throughout the series' run.

"It came true," Lynch says. "She sang the hell out of that show and acted the hell out of it."

After Michele was announced as the new lead of the famous musical, Lynch told Deadline she was "so glad she's getting the opportunity in real life to do the show, and not just on Glee."

"She's just going to take this show and make it her own," Lynch added.

Michele led the show for a full year, from September 2022 until September 2023, and called it "the role of a lifetime" on Instagram ahead of her final curtain call.

"Fanny Brice has been a part of my career from the very beginning and no words can describe what it has meant for me to play this role on Broadway and make it my own," she wrote in the statement, acknowledging her time "singing the songs on Glee as Rachel Berry."

Related: Barbra Streisand Didn't See Lea Michele Play Her Iconic Funny Girl Role on Broadway but Says 'I'm Happy for Her'

<p>FOX Image Collection via Getty Images</p> From Left: Cory Monteith, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch in 'Glee'

FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

From Left: Cory Monteith, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch in 'Glee'

Reflecting on the lasting impact of the Fox series, which concluded nearly a decade ago after six seasons in 2015, Lynch tells PEOPLE, "That show is a big deal. The character was a big deal. All the characters were a big deal. It kind of hit the psyche of America. And it still lives, which is really nice."

Her character, antagonistic cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, was a particular favorite among fans, and Lynch knows it. When asked about the potential of revisiting her story, Lynch says she "absolutely" would be interested.

"It would be so much fun. It's a great character, and I think that, as she ages, 10 years older than the finale, I think there are other things to be added. I think it would be really fun to play Sue Sylvester 10 years later," she says.

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