From winning the part of Sandy Dumbrowski in NBC’s competition series Grease: You’re the One That I Want! to creating the role of Julia Trojan in the hit musical Bandstand, Laura Osnes is proving impossible things are happening every day! The Minnesota native is also a two-time, Tony nominee and the co-creator, host and star of the popular Broadway Princess Party concert series. Here, Osnes chats about the similarities between herself and her most notable characters and what we can expect when Broadway’s real-life princesses arrive in SoCal next month.
You’ve portrayed a wide array of eclectic characters on stage. What do you have most in common with each of the following women? Let’s start with Sandy from your Broadway debut in Grease.
I was 21 and naive when I played her. I literally went around singing “I don’t drink or swear, I don’t rat my hair, I get ill from one cigarette,” so I fit Sandy very well. But let’s be honest I really haven’t changed. I still don’t swear…that much [laughs].
Next, we have Ensign Nellie Forbush from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
I had to grow up a lot to play that character. I loved her spunk and tenacity and she brought out the bravery in me.
And debutante Hope Harcourt from Anything Goes.
Hope is elegant and classy. And I’m very much a girly girl so I enjoyed getting dressed up and pretending to be on the red carpet every night.
Did you have anything in common with Bonnie Parker from Bonnie and Clyde?
Yes! It was interesting doing my research on her. Obviously, I’m not a bad girl like Bonnie, but growing up she was a straight-A student, she loved poetry and she dreamed about being on Broadway. That was me!
What about Ella from Cinderella?
I feel like we shared a similar story. Like Ella, I’m a humble girl, who had her dreams come true. Also, playing someone filled with kindness, generosity and forgiveness every night inspired me to be a better person.
And finally Julia Trojan from Bandstand.
Julia is a singer, which I am. Also, what helped me relate to the character was the fact that she lost her husband. I lost my mom six years ago so I was able to make that connection.
In retrospect, you starred opposite some incredibly talented (and not so bad looking) leading men. Who do you still keep in contact with?
Everyone! Max Crumm and I will always be close because we went through the reality TV experience together. Whenever Paulo Szot is in town we will do dinner. Colin Donnell has been in Chicago, but I saw him recently after a concert. Jeremy Jordan is back in New York. He’s been filming Supergirl in Canada. Santino Fontana and I still do a lot of concerts together. I see him and Corey Cott the most. In fact, I ran into Corey on the street the other day. It’s been such a gift to call these group of guys my dear friends.
The Broadway Princess Party tour is returning to Orange County next month. How did you come up with the idea?
My friend Ben Rauhala, who is also our musical director pitched the idea to me. It started out as me and my friends getting to play our favorite princesses on stage. We never dreamt it would’ve become so popular. It’s super exciting! Now we’re trying to expand the show beyond New York City. Plus, having all the OG Broadway princesses for this tour raises the bar.
What has been some of your favorite moments from the show?
The surprise guests because people always flip out! Zachary Levi and I got to sing “I See the Light” from Tangled. That was pretty epic. Rachel Bloom came to our last concert in New York and performed as Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Ben also created this amazing mashup of “The Next Ten Minutes” from The Last Five Years and “10 Minutes Ago” from Cinderella, which I got to perform with Jeremy Jordan.
Susan Egan and Courtney Reed will be joining you on the West Coast tour. What is it like working with them?
So much fun! Now when I’m asked to do a solo concert I’m kinda disappointed because it’s much more fun doing a show with your friends. We also compliment each other very well. We get giddy and emotional hearing each other sing these beloved songs. I grew up listening to Susan Egan, and now I get to perform alongside her!
Can you give us a hint of what audiences will hear?
Songs that strike a chord with people from every generation. You will hear songs performed by original Disney princesses. Susan will do “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from Hercules (she voiced Megara). Of course, I will sing songs from Cinderella, but what’s fun is we each get to play 5-6 different princesses. We will also have a few surprise guests like Adam J. Levy, Deedee Magno Hall and Nick Pitera.
Also, Fathom Events is releasing Bandstand in cinemas for a special two-night event on June 25th and June 28th. Have you had an advance screening yet?
We’re having a cast screening on June 20th. I’m nervous and excited!
For more information please follow @Bwayprincesspty on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or click here for tickets.
Photos courtesy of Nathan Johnson.