2017 Breakthrough: Beanie Feldstein of 'Lady Bird'

2017 Breakthrough: Beanie Feldstein of 'Lady Bird'

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NEW YORK (AP) — Beanie Feldstein was a Broadway buff since she was a kid. She was obsessed with musicals, hung with the "theater crowd" in high school and spent years watching shows on the Great White Way. So when she was cast opposite Bette Midler in the revival of "Hello, Dolly," she had already hit a career milestone.

"It's like if my 7- or 9-, 10-, 14-year-old self knew that this was happening she would be hysterically crying," Feldstein said. "It just has always been my dream, and then to be there with Bette Midler, and David Hyde Pierce and Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin who are all huge theater legends — if you are in that world, it's just like, everything I could have asked for."

The universe gave Feldstein even more in 2017. Besides starring on Broadway, the 24-year-old is also getting raves for her role in "Lady Bird," one of the most acclaimed movies of the year and a likely Oscar nominee. Feldstein plays Julie, the best friend of the title character, Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson, played by Saoirse Ronan.

It's been an enchanted year indeed for Feldstein, but there was a time when singing and acting — her lifelong dream — was in jeopardy.

"When I was 9 and 10, I couldn't speak, and I completely had to relearn to sing and talk," said Feldstein, who said she struggled with vocal issues while growing up. "So, that was the moment when I was like, will I be able to do this?"

She eventually regained her voice and fresh out of college, landed her first movie role. Following in the footsteps of her older brother, actor Jonah Hill, she started her film career in comedy with "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising."

Soon after, she got the part in "Lady Bird" and her performance has gotten attention from critics and fans.

In another gift from 2017, Ronan and Feldstein not only hit it off, but became BFFs off-screen.

"But it felt really, really special to feel, leaving the experience of the movie of like not only does this feel huge to me career-wise and to get this experience, but leaving with Saoirse added to that family," Feldstein said. "It was just like, you couldn't ask for more than that, you know?"


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