Broadway star teaches master class at Mason

Laura Benanti, Broadway and television actress, comes to Mason with ARTS by George! (photo by Ken Browar).
Laura Benanti, Broadway and television actress, comes to Mason with ARTS by George! (photo by Ken Browar).

On Sept. 27, Mason’s "ARTS by George!" and the Center For the Arts gave musical theater students the chance to participate in a special master class and talk with actress and Broadway star Laura Benanti about “making it big.”

Benanti spoke with students about the professional world of acting through an actor’s eyes and gave valuable advice on maintaining a job and being happy.

Students asked Benanti many questions about how she made it as an actor and what the career ladder was like.  The students were eager to hear how she made it to where she is now with hopes they could go down a similar path.

The students listened excitedly as Benanti discussed her Tony Award-winning performance in Gypsy and her success on Broadway, film and television with shows like Law and Order, Royal Pains and the upcoming NBC production of The Sound of Music Live!

“It’s not work, it’s dress-up,” Benanti said about her job as an actress.

Benanti advised students to be open-minded when seeking success not only with acting, but with any job.

“I’m going to try all these different things and it’s okay to fail,” Benanti said.

Benanti is a big believer that people’s egos can get in the way of the things they want.  She stressed that if students can get past their egos, then they are on a road to success.

“Leave your ego at the door,” Benanti said.

Students asked if Benanti had always wanted to be in New York for acting.

“New York is like Emerald City,” Benanti said. She also mentioned that there are many acting opportunities in Washington D.C.

One student asked about dealing with jealousy in day-to-day life and in the acting worldand how Benanti dealt with it.  Benanti related the jealousy to climbing up a wall when there are others all around you.  She stressed that students spend time pushing others down and worrying about how much higher someone is than they are, they will get nowhere with their own success.

“Rejection isn’t personal, sometimes they have a set idea in their mind,” Benanti said. “Be yourself, be authentic.”

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