NEW YORK (AP) — If you can’t make it to see Laura Benanti in the charming Broadway revival of “She Loves Me,” don’t worry. Just fire up your computer or TV.
Online theater streaming service BroadwayHD plans to livestream the show Thursday night, marking the first time a Broadway show has been broadcast live.
Benanti, who won a Tony Award in the Broadway revival of “Gypsy,” said despite the enormous potential audience, she’ll be as cool as the ice cream she eats during the show. The actress said something in her takes over and eliminates any nerves.
“I just get really still. I get incredibly Zen about it. I don’t know what happens. I am not a calm person in life. I’m not a chill-don’t-worry-about-it kind of a gal,” she said. “I wish I could bottle it for other moments in my life.”
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BroadwayHD offers high-definition theatrical events to computers, TV and phones, hoping to one day become the Netflix of Broadway. Its past livestreams include off-Broadway’s productions of the New Group’s “Buried Child” and Signature Theatre’s “Old Hats.”
A few Broadway shows have been broadcast — including “Memphis,” the Orlando Bloom-led “Romeo and Juliet” and James Franco’s “Of Mice and Men” — but never live. Last year, the off-Broadway musical “Daddy Long Legs” became the first-ever free online stream of any Broadway or off-Broadway show.
Benanti has seen her profile rise thanks to TV appearances on “Supergirl,” ”Nurse Jackie,” ”Nashville,” ”The Good Wife,” ”Go On” and NBC’s live version of “The Sound of Music.”
In “She Loves Me,” Benanti plays one of two ever-quarreling employees of a perfume shop in a European city who later find out they’ve been writing lonely-hearts letters to each other. She earned a Tony nomination in the role.
The lovely songs by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick include “Vanilla Ice Cream,” ”A Trip to the Library” and the title song. “I think musical theater — and this show in particular — is such a joyful thing. And I think we all could use a little more joy right now,” she said.
The cast also includes Gavin Creel, Byron Jennings, Michael McGrath, Jane Krakowski and Peter Bartlett. Zachary Levi, known for TV’s “Chuck,” earned a Tony nomination as the leading man.
The Roundabout Theatre Company-produced show began previews in February. It closes July 10. Benanti said having the broadcast so close to the end of the run means the cast is well seasoned.
“I think having had so many shows under our belt and so many different types of audiences — it would take a lot to throw us. I feel like it’s really in our bodies now,” she said. “This is the perfect time in the run to be doing this.”
BroadwayHD is offering access to the “She Loves Me” livestream to all its annual subscribers on the company’s Roku and Apple TV apps. Non-subscribers can view it through a $9.99 viewing pass.
“The show will live on forever, which is not the case with theater. Theater is ephemeral,” she said. “I’m excited that more people will get to see it than would normally be able to, for whatever reason, be it that they live out of town or can’t afford it or they’re not able to leave their homes.”
To prepare, she’ll stick to her regular routine.
“Routine is the best thing. When you do things special, things get weird. For me, it was the same thing for ‘The Sound of Music.’ I didn’t eat anything differently, I didn’t do more yoga. I didn’t deviate,” she said. “I think that’s best. Maybe that’s how I trick my mind into thinking it’s just another day.”
Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits