Lea was born to mother, Edith Sarfati, a nurse, and father, Marc Sarfati, a delicatessen owner. She grew up an only child in Tenafly, New Jersey.
She attended Tenafly High School and Stagedoor Manor in the Catskills, a performing arts training center. She was then later accepted…more
Lea grew up in Tenafly, NJ and New York City.
Jonathan Groff has said about Lea, "She's going to be a superstar. She's also one the funniest people I know."
Glee costar Stephen Tobolowsky has said of Lea, "She has the voice of a God. Someone asked me what I liked about working on Glee - I get to hear Lea Michele sing - a lot.
Lea presented the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2010.
She has two cats named Claude and Sheila.
When not working on Broadway in high school, Lea worked in a Bat Mitzvah dress shop cleaning and vacuuming.
Lea was part of the cast that won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in TV Series-Comedy or Musical for Glee at the 2010 Screen Actor's Guild Awards.
Lea won an award for Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical for Glee, at the 2009 Satellite Awards.
Lea was nominated at the 2010 Golden Globes for Best Actress in a TV Series-Comedy or Musical for Glee.
Lea starred in the Tony Award winning Spring Awakening as Wendla. Many consider her to have been overlooked in her own Tony nomination, being placed in the Lead Actress category when she should have been in the Featured Actress category.
Three of Lea's favorite clothing stores are Betsey Johnson, Intermix, and Barney's.
Lea has seven known tattoos: one is of the butterfly that is on the wall of the Eugene O'Neill Theater on her foot, and the other is "I Believe" on her wrist. On her left shoulder, she has 2 musical notes. She also has gotten two more which are inspired by Glee: a gold star on her right wrist and an "Imagine" tattoo on her other foot. In addition, she has two additional tattoos which are unknown. One on her hip and another on left side of her torso.
Lea's favorite book is Girl with the Pearl Earring.
On the CD Spring Awakening: 2006 Broadway Cast Recording, Lea performs in "Mama Who Bore Me," "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)," "My Junk," "Touch Me," "The Word of Your Body," "I Believe," "The Guilty Ones," "Totally F*****," "Whispering," "Those You've Known," and "The Song of Purple Summer."
She considers her favorite celebrity to be Angelina Jolie and her favorite Broadway star to be her friend Marin Mazzie.
Three of her favorite foods are lime Tostitos, cookies, and chips.
One of Lea's favorite Spring Awakening memories is the first time she heard the Original Cast Recording.
Her favorite movie is Almost Famous, her favorite television show is Grey's Anatomy, and her favorite musician is Alanis Morissette.
She has a Yorkshire terrier named Mia.
She enjoys baking in her spare time not spent on stage because it relaxes her.
Lea was homeschooled for several grades when she lived in Toronto performing in the original cast of Ragtime and again when the show was brought to Broadway.
Lea and the other women of Spring Awakening performed at Broadway Backwards on February 4, 2008 at the American Airlines Theater.
Lea was nominated for a 2007 Tony Award in the category of "Outstanding Lead Actress" for her role of Wendla in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening.
In November and December of 2004, she played Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank at the Round House Theater in Bethesda, Maryland.
On April 7, 2008, Lea performed "Once Upon a Dream" at Feinstein's at the Regency with her Spring Awakening costar Jonathan Groff as a special guest.
Lea considers her dressing room essential to be lots of tea and an electric tea kettle.
At the 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Lea performed "Send My Regards to Broadway" on the M&Ms float with her Spring Awakening costar Jonathan Groff.
Lea is comfortable performing risque material in Spring Awakening because of her faith in her director Michael Mayer, her love of the piece, and her level of comfort and trust in her costar Jonathan Groff.
One of her favorite things about Spring Awakening is that it is enjoyable and important for both kids and adults to see.
Lea's first audition for a show was for the Broadway cast of Les Miserables. She did not intend to audition but was accompanying a friend who was auditioning and in support of her friend decided to try for the role. She was cast after the audition in the musical.
Lea considers herself lucky to be an only child because if she had other siblings, her mother would not have been able to take her to every audition and be so supportive of her career.
Lea's parents are in the real estate business in Manhattan.
On her first audition for Spring Awakening, Lea first sang a musical theater song and the producers asked her to sing a pop song instead, so she sang Britney Spears and landed the role.
Lea's final performance of Spring Awakening was on May 18, 2008. It was also the final performance of her costar Jonathan Groff.
In 2007, Lea broke her foot during a performance of Spring Awakening. The suspended platform on which Lea's character, Wendla, and costar Jonathan Groff's character, Melchior, perform an intimate scene was lowered too far and landed on her foot.
Lea was nominated for a Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Actress in a Musical) for her role of Wendla in Spring Awakening.
Lea was actually set to play Eponine in the Les Misérables revival, but when she found out Spring Awakening was transferring to Broadway from Off-Broadway, she decided to stay with Spring Awakening.
Les Misérables - Young Cosette, Young Eponine, Gavroche understudy
Ragtime - The Little Girl
Fiddler on the Roof - Shprintze
Spring Awakening - Wendla Bergman
Diary Of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
Lea made her Broadway debut at the age of eight in the musical Les Misérables. She's played both Young Cosette and Young Eponine. As well as understudied for Gavroche.
Lea has been involved with the musical Spring Awakening in the role of Wendla for seven years, since she was about fourteen years old.
Lea returned to Broadway in December 2006 with the musical Spring Awakening.
Lea: Broadway is the air that I breathe.
Lea: Rachel is very determined and I was that girl in high school. I was the one who knew what she wanted and who she was and wasn't going to get side-tracked by the more silly stuff that people get obsessed with in high school.
Lea: You know, you have great shows on TV that I love and watch like Gossip Girl and 90210 that serve their purpose, but this is a show for the majority of what kids actually look like in high school, you know, not everybody looks like Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen. I'd like to, but, you know, I don't. This is for the normal high school student who doesn't live on Park Avenue.
Lea: I love the theater! I'd love to be able to play all different roles, whether it's Maureen in Rent or Maria in West Side Story. I would just love to be involved in this business forever.
(On co-star Jane Lynch)
Lea: That woman has more comedy in her pinky than anybody, and she's fantastic and she's just the kindest, most wonderful person. I've gotten in trouble for laughing numerous times. Scenes with her are impossible. They're a workout.
(Advice for kids)
Lea: That it doesn't matter where you are, what clique you're in, who your friends are. Really what matters the most is that you're doing what you love to do, and that you do well in school. I know that that sounds really cheesy, but it's just, like, nothing else matters than doing the things you love to do. Whether it's playing sports or being in drama, or whatever. And to do well because that's important.
(On her role in Glee)
Lea: I was very much like Rachel when I was in high school. I so appreciate her confidence, who she is and what she wants. I think that it's so possible in high school for kids to get caught up in what people think is cool, and what I love about Rachel is that she knows what she wants, and she's sticking with that.
Lea: I think all high school experiences are different. All high schools are different, but I do think that our show, our characters, are really relatable high school students.
(On her audition for Glee)
Lea: My first audition was a disaster. First, I went in and the piano player messed up my song. I got so nervous and freaked out. Then they were laughing at the scene that in my mind was serious, and so then I turned to everyone at the table, and I was like, "That wasn't supposed to be funny. That was my serious moment. Now I'm gonna do it again and I want you all to cry!" And then they kept laughing, and so I left and I thought it went terribly. Little did I know throughout my audition I was kinda doing a lot of what was and became Rachel Berry.
(On singing with Adam Lambert)
Lea: I love Adam Lambert. I wanna sing with him so badly. I mean, if they don't let me on the show, just in life, I wanna sing with him so badly. He's just such an incredible vocal performer, and I'm such a huge fan. It's like, I feel like I would be getting to work out at the gym with, like, the best trainer in the world. You wanna work out with someone who's ripped and, you know, is gonna train you well. That's what I think about when I think of Adam Lambert. And I just think he's awesome. So, I'm just putting that out there.
Lea:I would tell 17-year-olds to be proud of who you are. Don't try to change yourself for others. Focus on school and your future. Boys and friends will come and go, just focus on you and your future.
(On the challenges teens face today)
Lea: I would say that a really big challenge, especially in high school, is the pressure to be cool, and to do things that people think is cool. My best advice is to just be yourself and to do what you believe in and, you know, that being yourself is the best thing to do. That's what Rachel Berry does, and that's what I did in high school.
(On her first onstage kiss)
Lea Michele: Oh! Gavin Creel in Spring Awakening! Back in '99. Jonathan Groff loves this story because I always tell how I tried to stick my tongue in his mouth, but Gavin wasn't having it. I was like, 14 at the time, and he was like 10 years older than me. But he was so gorgeous, and I just wanted that kiss.
(On the sex scene in Spring Awakening)
Lea Michele: It wasn't until I came back to see the show that I was like, "Oh my god. I did that every single night." I was sitting next to people and I was like, "Cover your eyes! Cover your eyes!"
(On her first kiss)
Lea Michele: Dan Nathel on the side of the swingset in eighth grade. After he kissed me he said, "Do you want to do it again?" and I still had my eyes closed and I was like, "Yesssssss."
Lea Michele: If anyone tells me I can't eat, then I'm going to tell them to you-know-what themselves.
(In regards to a strong resemblance to fellow Broadway actress Idina Menzel)
Lea Michele: I have been told my whole life that I look like Idina.
(About performing in Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff)
Lea Michele: I can't go anywhere without Jonathan. I can't do the show without him, at all.
Lea Michele: (About staying in Spring Awakening) Jonathan and I, we're in it. And I think Gallagher, too, unless he becomes famous and gets a big movie contract.
(About when people in the original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening might leave the production)
Lea Michele: I don't want to think about it! I'm not letting anybody leave the show!
Lea Michele: (About deciding between taking the role of Eponine in the Les Miserables revival or Wendla in Spring Awakening on Broadway) The decision was so painful, and the only person who will know about it, truly, how hard it was, is Jonathan Gtroff, because he literally held my hand through the entire thing and there were numerous nights of walking home, just with me in tears, walking home from the Atlantic. We would walk from 20th Street all the way to 50th and just talk about it.
Lea Michele: I love Broadway World! I'm like such a dork; I wake up, get my cup of coffee, and am like, "Let's see what's going on on Broadway World!"
Lea Michele: Jonathan Groff is like my best friend ever!
Lea Michele: I'm such a fan of Idina Menzel. I think she's made a wonderful career in this business. I love her so much, and any role she's played, I'd love to be able to follow in her footsteps.
Lea Michele: One year for Mother's Day I got me and my mom tickets to go see Alanis Morissette. We both love her sooo much and we had the best time at her show. This year, I'm trying my hardest to somehow get Oprah over to Spring Awakening to see the show and introduce her to my mom. If I could pull that off, then all of my mother's dreams would come true.
Lea Michele: (On Spring Awakening to Broadway.com) I think that, first of all, I think it's an amazing way to get this story out there, by taking these controversial issues and this show that was banned for so many years and combining it with these songs. It's a great way to get this piece out there in a new, fun and interesting kind of way.
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