Laura Benanti to perform at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Laura Benanti. (Submitted Photo)

She won a Tony Award for “Gypsy” on Broadway and has played Melania Trump on late-night television, now actress and singer Laura Benanti will be performing at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Benanti and pianist/commentator Seth Rudetsky will perform songs from musicals, interspersed with a candid interview and commentary as part of the series “Mark Cortale’s Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts” at the Center’s Virginia G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second St. Tickets for the event start at $59.

This performance replaces an appearance by Kristin Chenoweth, who canceled due to a scheduling conflict.

Ms. Benanti won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Louise in the 2008 Broadway revival of “Gypsy.” The role also earned her a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award.

Additionally she has won Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for her 2010 portrayal of Candela in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and earned Tony Award nominations for “Swing!,” “Into the Woods,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “She Loves Me.”

Other Broadway appearances include “Meteor Shower,” “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play),” “The Wedding Singer,” “The Violet Hour,” “Nine,” “Wonderful Town” and “The Sound of Music.”

In a recent review of Ms. Benanti’s one-woman cabaret show in Tampa, An Evening with Laura Benanti, Broadway World described her as “a performer whose act transcends generations.” Her one-woman show has a similar format to what she will do in her Scottsdale appearance.

According to the review, “Her sense of comedic timing and quick wit for telling jokes and stories made the big hall diminutive in size compared to the accomplished arc of talent that reached out to her audience and drew them in, in a very personal way.”

The New York Times described a 2016 Ms. Benanti performance as a combination of “supreme command, a thrilling voice and a wild sense of humor.”

Ms. Benanti also has a growing résumé of television appearances, including a current run on the TBS series “The Detour,” where she plays Agent Edie of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

She has portrayed future First Lady Melania Trump on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”and Elsa Schrader on “The Sound of Music Live!” NBC’s television special in 2013.

She has played the prominent roles of songbird Sadie Stone on “Nashville” and twin sisters Alura Zor-El and Astra In-Ze on “Supergirl.”

Ms. Benanti also appeared in recurring roles on “Nurse Jackie,” “The Good Wife,” “Royal Pains,” “Go On,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Playboy Club,” “Eli Stone” and “Starved.”

In September 2013, Ms. Benanti released her debut album In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention: Live at 54 Below on Broadway Records.

Mr. Rudetsky was born in North Woodmere on Long Island, New York, and graduated with a degree in piano performance from Oberlin College in 1988. He then launched a career as pit pianist for such shows as “Ragtime,” “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

He found a knack for commentary, and expanded his career to include arts broadcast journalism, with two shows on Sirius XM that feature interviews with major Broadway stars, and deconstructions of major musicals: “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” and “Seth Speaks.”

He also writes the Onstage & Backstage column for Playbill magazine, and is a composer, with the score for the musical “Disaster!” to his credit.

In June of 2016, Mr. Rudetsky and his husband, James Wesley, co-produced a recording of “What The World Needs Now” with Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Carole King and Audra McDonald.

The song went to No. 1 on iTunes and has raised more than $100,000 to benefit the Orlando nightclub shooting victims.

On Inauguration Day 2017, the couple started Concert For America, an evening of entertainment with stars of film, television, music, comedy and Broadway, raising funds for five national organizations working to protect civil rights.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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