Theater People, Patrick and Vonia, bring us another incredible podcast! They never disappoint; always asking intriguing questions and confirming that fans of the topic make the best interviewers!
Their fourth episode brings us an interview with the lovely and humble Laura Osnes! She is best known for her roles as Ella in Cinderella on Broadway, as well as her roles as Sandy in Grease, and Bonnie Parker in Frank Wildhorn’s Bonnie and Clyde among others. Patrick and Laura take us on a journey from memory lane to what’s ahead for the Broadway starlet.
The interview begins with a recap of Laura’s hobbies, which so far don’t include biking , but may in the future. If you didn’t realize how down to earth and all around amazing she is, her list of hobbies immediately inspires a feeling of genuineness which with she lives her life. Her hobbies include: scrapbooking, journaling, dancing, baking and board games.
Her soft-spoken and innocent demeanor leads Patrick to ask how she feels about the city as a whole. She recounts her first trip with her high school theater group which led to her parents bringing her for long weekends here and there, and which helped to solidify her love of the city. When she moved to New York after winning the NBC reality show Grease: You’re The One That I Want she came to the city with a support system of her husband, Nate, and her cast members. She stipulates that had she not come with such support it may have been a much harder transition.
A look back at her ‘early days’ before she was a staple of the Broadway scene, takes us on a trip from her favorite cast albums to her Broadway debut and beyond. As a child she loved listening to cast albums, particularly Les Miserables, Jekyll and Hyde, Miss Saigon, and The Secret Garden. In middle school and high school she began working in theatrical roles in Minneapolis and was even able to receive high school credit for her work. She spoke about her time with the Children’s Theater in Minneapolis and how taking a job there was more right for her than continuing in college. That is not to say that she doesn’t value education, quite the opposite is true, and musical theater programs have come along way in the ten years since she left college to pursue her passion.
She recounts how she auditioned for Grease: You’re The One That I Want and how she made it all the way to the winning pair! She was actually playing Sandy at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre when her aunt heard about auditions and she was able to leave (for what she thought would be a short time) the dinner theatre show early and go to California to audition. She explains her experience on the show as: “I had this strange sense of peace whole time that I was where I was supposed to be, like I was supposed to be there.” We’re certainly glad she won! A talent like hers deserves to be recognized!
Her work in the theater in Minnesota prepared her for the work in the larger theater league that is Broadway. She says “the work is the same, just at a higher level and with more money involved.” The reality show also acted as a cushion for her. She knew the part of Sandy quite well after having sang it to keep her on the show and she knew Max Crumm very well from doing the the show with him. But the press part of the role was new to her.
Laura talked about her time working with Kathleen Marshall. She discussed her motherly nature towards the cast while they were doing Grease after the reality show ended. Then, getting to work with her again to do Anything Goes. She went on to discussed working with Sutton Foster and her amazing nature and sparkling smile.
What was one of her career changing moments? She says it was when she was cast in South Pacific and the whole audition process. Also replacing someone she had seen just a few years before on the stage was incredibly gratifying for her, and she credits “23” as one of her best years.
Laura talks about her journey through Bonnie and Clyde from the audition for Wonderland, to the out of town gigs, then finally landing on Broadway, and her eventual Tony nomination for the role!
Of course, the interview wouldn’t be complete without talking about Cinderella! She had this is say about the show “Every day I love going to work, walking into the building and knowing that we’re about to inspire all these young kids that are coming, and surprise the adults who think the show is for kids…” Hearing Laura talk about Cinderella is almost as magical as experiencing the show itself! She is so passionate and true to the characteristics of Ella herself. She talked about her exit from the show which is of course so sad, but since she’s doing The Threepenny Opera it makes it not quite as side.
I don’t want to spoil any of the fan answered questions because they’re pretty great, so you’ll have to listen to hear them and what comes after (hint: she sings).