Tony winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) is returning to TV as the star of NBC’s Go On, opposite Friends alum Matthew Perry. As the series readies for a special August 8 sneak peek, Broadway.com caught up with Benanti to chat about the new comedy.
“I really love the heart of this show,” Benanti said of Go On, in which she plays Lauren, a former Weight Watchers counselor now leading a therapy group. “I like taking a comedic look at difficult situations, and certainly Matthew’s character is in a difficult situation in that he recently lost his wife.”
As the leader of the group, Lauren is in charge of keeping Perry’s character in line, but notes it’s not always the easiest task. “On paper she seems like a very together sort of rigid, idealistic person who is a rule follower, but it turns out she’s almost as much as a mess as the people of the group.”
Although her character often butts heads with Perry, Benanti is thrilled to be working with the popular star. “He’s awesome and a really great guy. He’s a great leader. Everyone knows he’s hilarious, but I’m excited for people to see what a wonderful actor he is beyond just being hilarious.”
Go On marks a return to NBC for Benanti, who last season starred in the highly publicized but short-lived The Playboy Club. Though the show was canceled after three episodes, Benanti didn’t let the experience sour her attitude toward TV: “My parents always taught me if you fall off the horse, you just have to get back on. I loved that show and it was disappointing that it got negative attention from special interest groups that never saw it, but you have to move on.” Aside from her memories on the show, Benanti also got to hold on to a special keepsake: her Playmate bunny outfit. So has she been hopping into the bunny suit at home? “Not yet,” she said with a laugh. “Maybe for Halloween.”
Filming Go On in Los Angeles means Benanti has been away from her husband Steven Pasquale, who will headline his own upcoming NBC series Do No Harm. “NBC is taking very good care of us,” she said. “Being away from your husband is never fun.” The couple will be reunited on August 9 when Benanti returns to New York for a week. During her stay she plans on attending the opening night performance of the Shakespeare in the Park production of Into the Woods, the musical in which she played Cinderella on Broadway in 2002. “It's my favorite show, so I'm very excited to see it. I’m going to close my eyes during the pratfalls. I feel like I’m going to have all these flashbacks! I’ll probably jump on stage at some point. They won’t mind, will they?”
NBC will air Go On’s pilot episode on August 8, with the series returning for its regular Tuesday night run on September 11. For a preview of the series, click below!