Interview: Laura Osnes Shares Behind the Scenes Moments, Favorite Performances & More About R&H GOES POP!

Osnes is the host of R&H GOES POP!, which includes performances and interviews with stars such as Jeremy Jordan, Aisha Jackson, Derek Klena, and many more!

By: Dec. 29, 2020

Interview: Laura Osnes Shares Behind the Scenes Moments, Favorite Performances & More About R&H GOES POP!

The effervescent, Tony-nominated Laura Osnes is known for a great many things both on stage and on screen, but if it is necessary to pinpoint one defining element to her career, her relationship with the work of Rodgers & Hammerstein shines especially bright. On stage, Osnes has taken on the roles of nearly all of Rodgers & Hammerstein's heroines, including Nellie Forbush in the Broadway revival of South Pacific, the title character in Cinderella on Broadway, Suzy in the Encores! stage concert production of Pipe Dream, Maria in the concert performance of The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall, and Julie Jordan in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Carousel.

Osnes is the host of R&H Goes Pop!, which features Broadway's brightest stars re-imagining R&H's most famous songs. As the host, Osnes has sung duets and spoken with performers including Jeremy Jordan, Paolo Montalbán, Christy Altomare, Aisha Jackson, Telly Leung and many more!

We caught up with Laura Osnes about her time hosting R&H Goes Pop!, some of her favorite performances, what she is most looking forward to in 2021, and much more!

R&H Goes Pop! released their final video of 2020 last week, tell me what it has been like hosting R&H Goes Pop!, and what it's been like hosting at home?

It's been really rewarding, it's been a very fun thing to look forward to doing every couple weeks during this pandemic. I think it's so important to continue to share music and art during this time, and it's been a really fun way to connect to my friends too. Because most of the people that have been featured in the program are friends of mine from the Broadway community, people I know, and to see them be creative and be artful and continue to share these classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs reimagined has been very fun for me!

There have been so many amazing performers who have taken part in R&H Goes Pop!, was there one video that really stood out to you where you thought, 'Wow I didn't know Rodgers & Hammerstein could sound like this'?

You know, I think the one that really did that for me was Natalie Weiss! She did this soulful version of 'Mr. Snow', and it's a song I never would have imagined could be done that way. And her and her music director really took off, and I loved it. She was riffing all over the place, I've never heard Rodgers and Hammerstein done like that, I loved it.

Do you have any favorite moments from any of the interviews that you've done?

It's so cool to look back and see how far we've come. Our first episode was with Jeremy Jordan, who, obviously, is a dear friend of mine, it was him playing his piano back when Zoom didn't know how to adjust sound and vocal levels, and we knew nothing about anything, and it's so messy and technology is delayed. And then now, we've learned so much during this whole time, so it's great to go back and be like, "Wow." Jeremy's episode was like a lifeline, this was the first thing, the first art form we could put out there early, early on in the pandemic. Jeremy is such a good friend of mine, and I love his version of 'Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'', I think it sounds like it's direct from a Coldplay album, it could be on the radio tomorrow. But it was just him playing piano, doing an acoustic version in his house.

Let's see, I really loved Christy Altomare, she's such a good friend of mine, so we had a lot of fun together. I loved meeting Paolo Montalbán who was the prince in the Brandy version of Cinderella! He had seen Cinderella [on Broadway] at some point, so we had met before, but had not really ever gotten the chance to chat, and I'm just such a fan of his. So, that stood out to me, I was kind of fangirling over getting to chat with him and see his really sweet version of 'Ten Minutes Ago'.

You've performed some beautiful songs for R&H Goes Pop!, is there any song that you would like to sing still, or anyone in particular you would like to do a duet with?

I mean, yes, of course! So many fabulous songs have been plucked up already, but the canon is endless. Our dream for this, if we ever were to create an album of these songs, was to get artists like Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles and maybe Darren Criss, other pop musical stars who have also been involved in the Broadway scene. So, that's kind of I think the next step, if I could either get them involved or do a duet with someone of that caliber. If this were to continue forward, once the world is running again and we can get back in recording studios and get professional level recordings of this stuff, we'd love to get people like that involved.

On stage you have an amazing history with Rodgers & Hammerstein, taking on some of their most iconic characters, is there a role that you have not played yet that you would like to?

The one I haven't done is Laurey in Oklahoma!, and then, obviously, Anna in The King And I. But I have a few years for Anna still, so maybe the next revival I'll be available for that! Oklahoma! was just done and it was completely reimagined and done in a unconventional way that I was such a fan of, I really enjoyed the show. But Laurey is kind of the one R&H heroine I haven't gotten to tackle yet.

Switching gears here, you recently starred in the Hallmark movie One Royal Holiday with Aaron Tveit, would you like to do a sequel in the future?

Oh absolutely! We're kind of putting it out into the ether, we have to see the 'One Royal Wedding', the 'One Royal Baby'. The cast was super tight, it was super fun to reunite with so many Broadway alums. We were all just so grateful to be making a movie in the midst of this season when Broadway is completely shut down. But I think the movie kind of sets itself up for that, I would be totally game to get the gang back together and film a sequel in 'Galwick', which is where the prince is from [laughs].

With New Years quickly approaching, what are you most looking forward to in 2021?

There are so many unknowns still about the timing of everything, and how the world is slowly going to open back up again, but I think we're going to have a new appreciation, and a new sense of gratitude and joy when it comes to getting to do what we love. And I'm looking forward to, hopefully, the moment in 2021 where a cast can come together and maybe hug each other and tell a story and change lives. Rob McClure did an interview a while ago where he was talking about that first downbeat that we get to hear again on a Broadway stage, of an orchestral overture... I think everybody is just going to start weeping and crying. We are passionate. We are artists and we are passionate about what we do and I'm excited to hopefully get to share stories again and be musical with people I love in this community in 2021.

Check out some of R&H Goes Pop! videos below:


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