Benanti with Jeremy Jordan and #COTA’s Steve Schonberg
By #COTA Staff / Photo Credit: Jerritt Clark
Last night, a line-up of Broadway and TV stars came out to help Center On The Aisle (#COTA) celebrate Tony winner, Laura Benanti, at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Playing to a sold-out, packed house, these performers all took the stage to sing songs from Benanti’s career — directly below Studio 54 where Laura is headlining in She Loves Me, the show for which she’s earned her fifth Tony Award nomination.
Stars in attendance and in the show included Jeremy Jordan, Melissa Benoist, Michael Arden, Molly Ephraim, Alexandra Silber, Michael Urie, Julia Murney, and more.
Titled “We Love Her,” the performance was hosted by #COTA’s editor-in-chief, Steve Schonberg, in recognition of Laura’s incredible career that began its first chapter on Broadway nearly 20 years ago. Benanti was also presented with #COTA’s 2nd annual “Our Leading Lady” award by Schonberg. Last year’s recipient was Tony winner, Kelli O’Hara.
Benanti performed as well, singing “Vanilla Ice Cream” from She Loves Me, and a touching duet with her mother, vocal coach Linda Benanti (“Children Will Listen,” from Into the Woods). She also went country, a throwback to her time on ABC’s “Nashville,” performing “Gasoline and Matches” with her “Supergirl” co-star, Melissa Benoist.
“Thank you so much for this beautiful award, and thank you to my friends and family for your heartfelt sentiment and singing,” Benanti told the audience after accepting the “Our Leading Lady” award, which she was selected to receive by writers from #COTA. “I love Broadway so much, and I have since I was a very little girl. This is a dream come true and I’m really grateful.”
In addition to the duet with her mother, the audience was treated to songs by Laura’s husband, Patrick Brown (“Something Good”) and by her father, Broadway veteran, Marty Vidnovic (“Laura”). The evening was music directed by composer and lyricist, Georgia Stitt.
In addition to the photos below, head to the #COTA Facebook page for video clips shot live during the show at www.facebook.com/CenterOnTheAisle.
Benanti with the 2nd annual #COTA “Our Leading Lady” Award
Michael Urie with The Skivvies remind everyone to “Look Up” from their phones.
The Skivvies – Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina / “I Like Musicals”
Linda Benanti duets with her daughter, Laura, on Sondheim’s “Children Will Listen”
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director of the Roundabout Theatre Company, shared that Benanti was their only pick for Amalia in She Loves Me.
Singer and songwriter, Todd Almond / “He Comes for Conversation”
Michael Arden sings “I’ll Miss the Man” from Pippin, the show where they first met and performed together
Kathy Searle questions Benanti’s choice of TV projects, with a roast of “The Playboy Club.”
Julia Murney sings “Unusual Way” from Nine
Last Man Standing’s Molly Ephraim looks back “On The Steps of the Palace” from Into the Woods (in which she co-starred with Benanti)
Benanti’s husband, Patrick Brown, realizes that somewhere in his youth or childhood, he must have done something good / “Something Good” from The Sound of Music
Schonberg says Benanti is a woman of few words… or at least Twitter would have you believe that – as proven by a dramatic reading by her friends
The very groovy Kelly Hutchinson, Chelsea Nachman and Sarah Saltzberg go “beatnik” with Benanti’s tweets
Alexandra Silber sings “Somebody, Somewhere” from The Most Happy Fella
Benanti and Supergirl, Melissa Benoist, duet on a very country “Gasoline and Matches”
Cal shows his sweeter side; Waitress‘ Eric Anderson sings “The Ukelele Song”
Gypsy alum, Jessica Rush, puts a playful spin on “Little Lamb” before a big reveal
Jessica Rush closes her number by revealing “Let Me Entertain You”
Benanti’s father, Broadway veteran, Marty Vidnovic serenades with the classic, “Laura.”
Nikka Graff Lanzarone goes back to “Women on the Verge” with “Model Behavior”
Schonberg explains to Benanti that she was selected for the award for her gifts on stage and her giving nature with friends, fans and colleagues.
Benanti with her “Our Leading Lady” award from #COTA
Benanti offers up “Vanilla Ice Cream” to close the show
“Vanilla Ice Cream”
Benanti with Melissa Benoist
Jeremy Jordan and Laura Benanti
Linda and Laura Benanti
Molly Ephraim and Benanti
Benanti with husband, Patrick Brown
Benanti with Alexandra Silber
Benanti with music director — composer and lyricist — Georgia Stitt
Benanti and Todd Almond
Benanti with father, Marty Vidnovic
Benanti with producer and host, #COTA’s Steve Schonberg
Julia Murney and Benanti
Star couple, Jessica Rush and Eric Anderson with Benanti
Kelly Hutchinson, Sarah Saltzberg and Chelsea Nachman with Benanti
Benanti with Nikka Graff Lanzarone
Eric Anderson and Jessica Rush