The 'West of Broadway' Podcast Welcomes Tony Winner Laura Benanti
On this episode of West of Broadway, Will talks with Tony Award-winner and five-time Tony Award nominee Laura Benanti who is bringing her one-woman act to Walnut Creek, California's Lesher Center for the Arts on Friday, January 31st.In her show titled, "Tales from Soprano Isle," Laura will be performing alongside a pianist for a night that will leave you in awe and in stitches. We also discuss her participation in the remarkable benefit album, "Singing You Home, Children's Songs for Family Reunification" where she gathered other award-winning artists to raise money and awareness for families in need at our border. Featuring tracks from Lin-Manuel Miranda & Mandy Gonzalez, Josh Groban & Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald & Jason Robert Brown, Kristin Chenoweth, Cynthia Erivo, Ingrid Michaelson & Ana Villafañe, and a duet with Laura Benanti & Isabella Preston with backup vocals from the Broadway Baby Mamas. The album was conceived by Laura Benanti and produced by Benanti, Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Lynn Pinto. All artists, musicians, technicians and recording studios donated their time and talents to the project, so that a substantial portion of the proceeds from the English / Spanish language album will go directly to the non-profit organizations RAICES and ASTEP to help reunite and support families separated at the border. Available at: https://www.ghostlightrecords.com/singing-you-home-childrens-songs-for-family-reunification.html Lastly, we'll learn Laura's secret tip for staying focused, productive and at the top of her game! (Spoiler alert, It's meditation!) If you'd like to see Laura's show on the 31st, or just keep up with all the exciting projects she's working on, go to LauraBenanti.com where you'll find links to everything you need!
ABOUT: WEST OF BROADWAY
Theater veteran Will Armstrong and theater enthusiast Lara Scott discuss the vibrant musical theater scene on the West Coast, covering movie musicals, region productions, national tours, and more with the cast, crew, producers, and supporters who make it all happen. If you want a lighthearted celebration of musical theater, you can find it all West of Broadway!
When she's not co-hosting West of Broadway can be heard on the radio in Southern California on K-Earth 101. Lara is also the host of The World Chart Show, an internationally syndicated Top 40 countdown, and her voice has been used on programs for Bravo, VH-1, the Olympic Encore on Universal Sports, and in-flight programming for Delta Radio and Air Force 1. She is also a weekend lounge host on Martin In the Morning, where she plays Standards from The Great American Songbook.
Born in Southwest Florida, Lara headed to Oregon after high school. She got into radio in Bend, Oregon, after calling a local station on a dare from a friend, and then continued her broadcasting career in Portland. After graduating with a B.S. in Philosophy from Portland State University, she moved to San Francisco to become the music director and nighttime air personality at KZQZ/95.7. She then spent almost seven years as the midday host at KYSR/Star 98.7 in Los Angeles, followed by almost a decade in mornings and middays at KFSH/95.9 The Fish.
Her passion for preservation and history led her to Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, a historic theater that shows classic films on the big screen every weekend, and she now serves on their advisory board. The theater was also featured in her first book, From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California. She is the co-host, along with Oscar-winning filmmaker James Moll, of the Classic Movie Recall podcast, and reviews films from the Golden Age of Hollywood every week.
Lara was a 2008 President's Volunteer Service Award winner, which was presented by recording artist Michael W. Smith on behalf of President George W. Bush for her charity work. In her free time, she can be found hanging out with her young son and daughter, snowboarding, shopping at vintage and thrift stores, chanting at yoga class, and attending lots of concerts and films.
Will Armstrong started dancing at the age of 2. He started working professionally at Walt Disney World fresh out of High School. After several years in Orlando he set sail with Norwegian Cruise Lines performing in Will Rogers Follies, Greese, Crazy for You and 42nd Street.
When he returned to land, he joined the 1st national tour of Victor/Victoria with Toni Tennille of Captain and Tennille fame. At the end of his 52-week American tour, Will traveled east to perform at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea in various stage productions where he danced, sang and made wonderful friends.
Will's Broadway debut was in 2002 as a chorus member in the Broadway revival of 42nd Street with Tom Wopat of The Dukes of Hazard and Tony Award winner Beth Leavel from the Drowsy Chaperone. After 42nd Street closed, Will filmed Susan Stroman and Mel Brooks movie musical The Producers before taking his final performing job as an ensemble member of The World Famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular. After Will stepped away from performing he joined the support team of the 1st National tour of Wicked before bringing it to the Pantages Theater for a 5 year residency.
Will now owns his own public relations agency where he puts the skills he learned in the entertainment industry to work creating exciting and original strategies that put smiles on his clients faces.