Mad Cow Theatre has announced even more star power for its Orlando Cabaret Festival this spring: Tony award-winner Laura Benanti will join the lineup, which already features Tony nominee Christiane Noll.
Benanti won her Tony for a star turn in the acclaimed 2007 revival of "Gypsy," in which she played Louise — who becomes stripper Gypsy Rose Lee — opposite Patti LuPone as Mama Rose. She has multiple Tony nominations for roles in "Into the Woods," "Swing!" and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." She also starred in the 2003 revival of "Nine."
On television, Benanti most recently appeared as the Baroness in NBC's highly watched production of "The Sound of Music."
Her show, "In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention," is drawn from her debut CD, recorded live at New York nightspot 54 Below where The New York Times praised Benanti for her "funny zingers," "hilarious mugging" and "bright, full soprano." The show features favorite theater numbers, new versions of contemporary hits and original tunes — including "The Ukulele Song," in which Benanti accompanies herself.
Noll, previously announced, is best-known for playing Emma in "Jekyll & Hyde" and Mother in the 2010 revival of "Ragtime," for which she was Tony nominated.
The final headliner of the 12th annual festival, which runs April 24-May 11, is Nicholas Rodriguez. His show, "The First Time," explores life, love and loss through pop, jazz, folk and musical theater.
Rodriguez made his Broadway debut in Disney's 2006 "Tarzan" musical. He originated the role of Aaron in the U.S. premiere of "The Ten Commandments" in Los Angeles. Off-Broadway, he starred in "The Toxic Avenger: The Musical" and "Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver," among others.
He most recently completed a run in "Mother Courage and Her Children" at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. There he also played Freddy in "My Fair Lady" and Curly in "Oklahoma!" for which he received a 2011 Helen Hayes Award for best actor in a musical.
Television fans may know him from his role as Nick Chavez on "One Life to Live," for which he won a GLAAD Media Award.
The headlining performances all begin at 8:30 p.m. The schedule is: Noll, April 25-26; Rodriguez, May 1-3; and Benanti, May 9-10. Tickets are $35-$65.
The festival also features other artists and performances at Mad Cow Theatre, 54 W. Church St., Orlando. For more schedule and ticket information, go to orlandocabaret.com
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