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Tag: Laura Benanti (1-3 of 3)

This Week on Stage: Denzel and Menzel add some Broadway star power

King Kong ain’t got s–t on superstar Denzel Washington (at least, not until the beast’s new musical declares a firm date next season), as the movie megastar touched down on Broadway for the first time since his Tony-winning turn in August Wilson’s Fences in 2010. And like that heralded revival, he once again got raves from most outlets. Also receiving raves this week was Wicked star Idina Menzel, who dazzles in If/Then, the new tuner by the Next to Normal team of Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt. And though the young fans who adore her voice in Frozen may, well, freeze at the prospect of their favorite snow queen Elsa singing a song called “What the F–k?”, her Tony buzz and emotion-rich work has assured her status in the Broadway diva pantheon. (And speaking of Frozen, EW posted video of Smash alum Jeremy Jordan nailing Menzel’s signature Disney tune “Let It Go.” Seriously, check it out.)  READ FULL STORY

'The Most Happy Fella' with Cheyenne Jackson and Laura Benanti hits Encores! revival series

Six years after writing the classic musical Guys and Dolls, composer Frank Loesser introduced audiences to The Most Happy Fella. The show has an often lush, operatic, and nearly-sung-through score — but the book is a dated, borderline racist bit of nonsense about an Italian immigrant vineyard owner in the Napa Valley who talks-a like-a this-a and even refers to himself at one point as “a stupid, ugly, old wop.”

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Andrew Rannells, Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti, and more star in Russia's fake Broadway musical -- VIDEO

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How does a community band together to protest Russia’s anti-gay legislation? A musical, of course.

Dozens of New York stage stars have produced a fake musical that finds Russia’s fictional Broadway community (“The Great Red Way,” as they say) staging a protest show in response to the Russian government stance on homosexual propaganda via theatrical performance. In the U.S., who better to satirize than a group of musical theater actors?

There’s a little something for everyone here: Jonathan Groff and Jeremy Jordan as two ill-fated Olympians, Laura Benanti and Stephanie J. Block as lesbian astronauts, Michael Cerveris as a soliloquizing Putin, and Michael Urie giving his best Chorus Line. Tons of Broadway performers and creatives lent their support to the hilarious fictional musical, directed by John Walton West and composed by Jason Michael Snow — the same guys who brought us last year’s Downton Abbey: The Musical.

But despite the comedy, there’s a real social message here, and the Broadway community (which has never shied away from using art as activism, à la the Prop 8 musical) is the perfect group to tackle the gravely important anti-gay issues that are at the forefront of the conversation as we enter the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Perhaps narrator Rannells (bringing the ushanka back) sums it up best: “If we can help bring joy, inspire, and call people on bullsh–, that’s a night of theater.”

Watch the clip below:
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