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October 31, 2017
Interview: Denée Benton on the Gershwins, Singing at Carnegie Hall, and TV She Loves

Tony nominee Denée Benton will join MasterVoices, Bryce Pinkham, Elizabeth Stanley and Kevin Chamberlin for a performance of George and Ira Gershwin's Pulitzer winning musical Of Thee I Sing. We caught up with The Great Comet star to talk about her career, the Gershwins and TV.

Which song are you looking forward to singing the most in Of Thee I Sing?

“Who Cares”

What are you most excited about when it comes to performing at Carnegie Hall?

Walking the halls that so many greats have walked before me.

Why do you think the works of the Gershwins remain so timeless?

They write melodies that literally make your heart ache and rise and fall. It almost feels scientific, they just know how elicit emotion with the simplest interval.

How did playing Natasha change the way you approach the great Russian lit classics?

It helped me find the immense universal humanity within all of the density.

I was so happy to see you in UNReal, what was the biggest change in terms of your process when it came to acting in theatre vs. TV?

In theater you have the luxury of nearly 6 weeks to find your character and get to know your company and cast mates. TV is much quicker, I find that I have to trust myself and my instincts much more because there’s no rehearsal to find it.

What are some your reality TV guilty pleasures?

Millionaire Matchmaker and Chopped.

Having been so close to audience members in The Great Comet, how would you say proximity with the audience affects your work?

The work has to be incredibly specific because the audience is close that they can see every line in your face, there’s no phoning it in.

Later in November, you'll be doing a concert to raise funds for various organizations. Why is it important for you to use your voice for social causes?

I think art has the power to really power to help us see the humanity in each other and as actors we are blessed with platforms to use our voices to reach a lot of people. It feels like a responsibility to not waste that opportunity.

Can you name a few songs/characters by Stephen Sondheim on your bucket list?

The Witch and Cinderella in Into the Woods.

For more on Of Thee I Sing click here.

Connected Post:

Interview: Bryce Pinkham on Becoming a Crooner for ‘Holiday Inn’

By Jose Solis

With a swoon-worthy voice, and the comedic chops to go with it, Bryce Pinkham has become the ultimate Broadway leading man. In A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder he played lovable social climber Monty Navarro, who realizes murder might help him achieve his romantic dreams, in the revival of The Heidi Chronicles he breathed new life into a character made famous in a Tony-winning performance by Boyd Gaines, and in Holiday Inn (now available as a cast recording), he takes on a part originated by none other than Bing Crosby. Pinkham seems ready to take on any role, as long as it’s unlike anything he’s played before. We spoke to him about taking on Irving Berlin’s music, experimenting with his voice, and why he loves outdoors theaters. Holiday Inn was on Broadway, it was also streamed on BroadwayHD and now we have a cast recording. Have you had a chance to sit with the last two? I’ve seen clips of the stream, I have a difficulty watching myself perform after the fact, just because the stream was two days before we closed, so I didn’t wanna watch it and figure out a bunch of things I’d done differently. Maybe I’ll watch it Christmas time this year. This isn’t the first cast recording …Read more

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Written by: Jose Solis
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