Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fanboy Confessions: My Laura Benanti Crush

According to the Miriam-Webster online dictionary, a "fanboy" is defined as "a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies)." Well, since I can actually admit that I enjoyed Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and a number of my favorite shows are based on films (Applause, Hands on a Hard Body, Xanadu, etc.), I'd like to think I qualify as a Broadway fanboy.  

One Broadway-related person that I am "an enthusiastic devotee" of is Tony-winner Laura Benanti.  My "fanboyish-ness" started when I first saw her in Into the Woods.  

Here are my reasons, in no particular order, why I am a Laura Benanti fanboy:

Her comic stage abilities:  She was brilliant (and stole the show) as Candela, the crazy model in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  Her "Model Behavior" remains a musical highlight of the last 10 years, at least.

Her dramatic stage abilities:  She was brilliant as Louise in the most recent revival of Gypsy.  She was heartbreaking as young Louise, and simply jaw-dropping as Gypsy Rose Lee. Just recalling the precise moment when her Louise gave into being Lee gives me goose-bumps.  

Her versatility as a stage actress:  She is acclaimed as much in plays as she is in musicals.  She received great notices for her role in In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.  And she can lead a show (terrific and funny in The Wedding Singer) and be a great supporting character, too (Gypsy, Women on the Verge, Nine).

She keeps excellent Broadway company: She has shared the stage with some of the greatest stage stars in recent memory, including such legends as Patti LuPone (twice!) and Chita Rivera, and such contemporary stars as Gregg Edelman, Vanessa Williams, Danny Burstein, Jane Krakowski,  Michael Cerveris and Jan Maxwell.

She is good in any medium:  She was the reason to watch Go On, she kicks ass in powerful guest-starring roles (like on Law and Order: SVU and Elementary), and she even managed to get through The Playboy Club unscathed.  Oh, and did I mention that she was one of the best things about The Sound of Music LIVE!?

Her self-deprecating sense of humor:  I don't even skip over the patter tracks on her awesome Live at 54 Below CD, that's how good and sweet she is.  And if you haven't seen her new webseries, Life with Laura on, you simply must start watching it.  Both of the first episodes (which start with a Lin-Manuel Miranda penned rap song that she sings!) are hilarious... including her roaming Times Square as... Fosca from Passion. (Click HERE for the Webseries)  Be sure to follow her on Twitter, too! Each Tweet is a delight. (@LauraBenanti)

Most of all, I'm a Broadway fanboy because she's a Broadway fangirl:  She may do TV, but it is clear Broadway is her first love.  She follows all things Broadway like any good fan would - again check out her Tweets!  And even though she keeps other show people as friends, it seems like she's in as much awe of these people as we are! 

So, what are you a fanboy or fangirl of Broadway-wise?  Let me know via Twitter (@jkstheatrescene), or email ( or leave a comment below!


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