Anyone who follows Laura Benanti on Twitter knows she’s one hilarious lady.
Which is why it’s such a treat to watch her in the new Broadway musical revival of She Loves Me, an adaptation of the play Parfumerie (which is also the basic for the film The Shop Around the Corner, which then in turn became the inspiration for You’ve Got Mail). The show — which drops a cast album via Ghostlight Records June 10 — finds Benanti starring as perfume clerk Amalia, in a role showcasing a perfect blend of her gorgeous soprano as well as her sense of humor.
“You know, as a person who sees the world through the lens of humor it’s rare to get to do both of those things at the same time,” Benanti tells Billboard of the comedy/vocal combo. “Typical soprano roles can be a little straightforward and what attracted me to the show was…you know how funny she gets to be but also what incredibly challenging [music] that I get to sing.”
Those vocals reach a high point during Benanti’s showstopper, “Vanilla Ice Cream” (exclusive listen below). “It is one of those great numbers where if you’re blessed enough to sing it you’re just a lucky person,” Benanti says of the tune, which covers the moment when she realizes that the guy she hates at work may not be so terrible after all. “So it’s kind of a perfect song. It’s not easy, I’ll tell you that much. It’s not like a walk in the park, but it’s such a fantastic number.”
The all-star cast (Jane Krakowski, Zachary Levi and more also appear) are clearly having a blast in the show, which has drawn rave reviews. The team is looking forward to celebrating come Tonys time June 12, where the show is nominated for eight Tonys, including Best Revival.
“I’m actually excited to see it through the eyes of my husband,” Benanti says of what she’s looking forward to during the ceremony. “He’s not in this business and he’s never been before and this will be my fifth time [being nominated], and every time it’s been really fun. But I’m excited to, you know how they say you don’t really fully appreciate Christmas until you see it through the eyes of the child? [laughs] So that’s how I feel about the Tonys with my husband.”
Following the Tonys, She Loves Me runs until July 10, and after that Benanti will dive back into various projects, including working on her previously announced comedic book of essays.
“I really just try to play human beings, even if they’re Kryptonian,” she says about what she’s looking for in future roles, calling out Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady as a dream theater project. “I try to bring some aspect of humanity to them. Television can be a little tricky in terms of finding roles that feel fully flushed out, which is why I love being in the theater so much because the roles tend to be really on the page. But right now what I’m currently looking to do is continue to play real women…on a real journey, with true emotions and intelligence about them.”