Come On and Sit Side by Side by Susan Blackwell

The 68th annual Tony Awards are this Sunday, which for everyone that isn’t a theater nerd like me, it’s basically our Super Bowl. In fact, I used to attend a Tonys party every year with my friends/co-workers from a theatre and it pretty much was our Super Bowl. I admit, I’m not a super geek like some of my pals, but I’m at a level where I watch videos of Broadway stars online in my spare time (or just, time).

A few years ago along my internet travels, I came across this magic web series called Side by Side by Susan Blackwell. Hosted by – you guessed it – Susan Blackwell, an actress who’s been on TV and film, but most notably in the theater world for her outstanding performance in the musical [title of show]. She recruits her fellow Broadway friends for an interview, but not just any interview, it usually takes place in an odd location and includes some kind of fun activity.

My first introduction to Susan was with this interview with Daniel Radcliffe while he was doing How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 2011, and he is legit cleaning her house. Yes, Potterheads, in this video, you see DanRad cleaning a toilet. Seriously. If that’s not enough to get you to watch this then IDK what is.

Actually I do. Susan is charming, hilarious, affable, and has a way to get her interviewees to talk about stuff that not many others can. Oh and she licks her guests on the face. The DanRad vid was a gateway drug into her other Side by Side interviews, so here now are some other standout videos from her collection.

Zachary Quinto

Where: Dog Park

Activity: Watching dogs in a dog park

Highlight: A rousing game of ‘Name That Dog’ and Susan ‘smashing ZQ like a pancake’ on a picnic table

Where: ZQ’s apartment

Activity: Having a sleepover

Highlight: Prank calling Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Smash star Christian Borle

Sutton Foster/Jonathan Groff/Laura Benanti

Where: In Bed/A Horse-Drawn Carriage/Hooters

Activity: Breakfast/Cuddling/Eating Wings

Highlight: Sutton lying in bed with her Tony gown and actual Tony/JGroff singing Left Behind from Spring Awakening/Susan handling Laura’s boobs

Jonathan Groff #2

Where: His parents’ farm in rural Pennsylvania (lit’rally Amish country)

Activity: Chillin in a hayloft, petting some horses and goats

Highlight: JGroff singing a part of Totally Fucked (from Spring Awakening) while shaking a bucket of corn kernels to get the goats to eat

Laura Benanti #2

Where: Ziva Meditation

Activity: Being zen on a couch

Highlight: Playing iPhone roulette and landing on a pic of her former Go On (RIP) co-star taking a nap in her own bosoms

Steven Pasquale

Where: Steven’s apartment

Activity: Using a Vitamix to make super healthy green juices

Highlight: Steven prank calling Taye Diggs and leaving a voicemail as Jim Carrey

Audra McDonald

Where: Great Jones Spa

Activity: Getting massages, drinking cucumber water

Highlight: Audra singing a fantastic version of the Spongebob Squarepants theme song

Norbert Leo Butz

Where: Strand Bookstore

Activity: Sitting in the parenting section

Highlight: Flipping through the pages of a book called Surgery of the Anus, Rectum and Colon

Andrew Rannells

Where: McKittrick Hotel

Activity: Playing with a Ouija board

Highlight: Imitating the pageant hosts on Toddlers and Tiaras

 

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Laura Benanti

Today I’m starting a new series after the popular Wednesday trending hashtag, #WCW otherwise known as Woman Crush Wednesday. Now I know this is usually reserved for guys to tag their celebrity or real life paramores, but I’m going to take this time to talk about my girl crush on Laura Benanti. #SameLoveYall

If you’re a theatre nerd, or watched cancelled shows Go On or The Playboy Club or are a religious viewer of Law & Order: SVU or Royal Pains, you’re familiar with Laura Benanti. If none of those things apply to you, here is why you need to start paying attention to this wonderful woman.

The BROADway

Alright, so Laura is KIND of a big deal in the theatre world. She’s been in shows like Into the Woods, Nine, The Wedding Singer, and Gypsy, for which she won a Tony Award. So it goes without saying that this broad is talented. Like I mentioned above, Laura’s been on a few TV shows, making her one of those Broadway types that goes on to try their hand at the small screen – including her run on one of my faves (the whole one season it was on air) Go On, featuring her and Matthew Perry. That being said, she doesn’t always have the best of luck on TV, but luckily she can always return to Broadway and make fun of herself. This clip, featuring Andrew Rannells (The New Normal RIP), Megan Hilty (Smash AND Sean Saves The World RIP) and everyone’s favorite awards show host, Neil Patrick Harris (HIMYM, soon to be RIP) from last year’s Tonys is the perfect example of this.

The Sound of Music Live!

I feel like the masses were really introduced to Laura when she played Baroness Elsa Schrader on the recent live version of the beloved musical, Sound of Music (which we also liveblogged here). She and fellow Broadway vet Christian Borle made up the scheming pair of Elsa and Max Detweiler, and brought some of the Great White Way to middle America. It was like they were the representatives for all the Broadway folks and boy did they do their team proud.

Not to mention we got this fab meme out of it:

And GIFs:

PS: Check out Laura singing my personal fave song from the show, Something Good. Like who are you.

Bringing the Hilarity to Side by Side

I feel like I might need to do a follow up post just on this webseries alone. Side by Side is hosted by Susan Blackwell a ridiculously hilarious fellow Broadway gal. She interviews other Broadway stars, usually in odd places, and isn’t afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions. I think this particular one was one of the first – if not the first – she ever did, and it features Susan and Laura enjoying some treats in a Hooters restaurant. It also featured some other fab people, including Jonathan Groff in a horse-drawn carriage and in bed with Sutton Foster.

Making Twitter Her Bitch

I think what pushed my #wcw over the edge was by following her on Twitter. Like the Anna Kendricks and Josh Grobans of the world, Laura has managed to kill it every single time in 140 characters or less.