Laura Benanti is QUEEN. #Flawless. She has the voice of an angel, acting chops beyond compare, and a sense of humor that make her one of Broadway’s favorites. Tonight, she starts previews of She Loves Me at Roundabout Theatre Company. I was lucky enough to briefly chat with the superstar soprano about her new show and some of the high notes she’s hit in her career.
When did you catch the theater bug?
I have loved theater my entire life. I honestly can’t remember a time when it wasn’t my primary focus.
Did anyone or anything inspire you to pursue a life in theater?
My mother was an actress and is my voice teacher. My father, Martin Vidnovic is an actor, and my stepfather who raised me was incredibly supportive of my creativity.
What were some fundamental things your mom (a former actress and your vocal coach) taught you about performing?
To always tell the truth. That’s the most important thing. Find the truth in whatever you are saying or singing.
You made your Broadway debut in The Sound of Music at 18 as the understudy for Maria before you took over the role. What did you learn during that experience that you still implement today?
Hard work and discipline. You have to treat yourself like an athlete. Also, always be prepared and on time.
You’re such a versatile actress and your body of work certainly reflects that! Did you/do you make a conscious effort of not getting pigeon holed as a “type?”
Yes. I have tried to take on as many different genres and as many different roles as possible so that I never get type cast as one thing. This business loves to figure out who you are and hold you to it. I like to keep them guessing.
Over the last few years you’ve been doing a lot of TV work. After carving out a super successful career on Broadway, what was it like venturing into completely new territory—Hollywood—and working in a totally different medium? That incredible song you performed with Andrew Rannells and Megan Hilty at the 2013 Tonys certainly paints it as stressful.
TV can be really fun. But it’s a totally different beast. The hours, the content, the environment, is totally different from the theater. I enjoy working in Hollywood, but I am certainly more of an east coast theater girl.
Laura performing at the 2013 Tonys
You’re currently in rehearsals for She Loves Me. What sparked your interest in playing Amalia?
It is rare to be given a score like this (soprano), and be given such an amazing opportunity to be both funny and heartfelt. This show is perfect and I am having so much fun playing her.
You’ve been in so many rehearsal rooms before. Is there anything particularly different about She Loves Me‘s in terms of approach to the material?
I approach most roles from the same place. Looking for the truth of the character and how it aligns with my truth.
Your Twitter account is amazing. You’re seriously so funny. Would you please consider taking those joke writing skills to the stage by writing and performing in a comedic one woman show? I think that’s what the theater world is waiting to see.
Thank you! My album, “In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention,” has a lot of funny content in it. I am currently writing a book of comedic essays, and working on a TV show for myself.
What’s your advice for aspiring Broadway performers and actors?
Figure out what makes you special and commit to it. Don’t try to be someone else. ♦