Laura Benanti is an American actress best known to television viewers for her recurring roled as Beth Keller in Eli Stone (2008), as Carol-Lynne Cunningham in The Playboy Club (2011) and as Maria Grazie in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, from 2011-2012.
She currently has a starring role as Lauren, a type-A, by-the-book support group leader, in the television sitcom Go On, from 2012-2013.
Benanti has brought her unique abilities to comedies, dramas and musicals since she took Broadway by storm at the age of 18.
She received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle award for her starring role in the Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center, where she also starred in Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), for which she garnered critical acclaim for her heartbreaking and brave performance.
Earlier that season, Benanti demonstrated her breezy comic flair in the Public Theater's production of Christopher Durang's Why Torture Is Wrong and the People Who Love Them.
Benanti gave the performance of her career and earned the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her revelatory portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy, opposite Patti Lupone and directed by Arthur Laurents.
Her other Broadway roles include her Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated performance of Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods and her sultry Tony-nominated turn in SWING!.
She also starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his muse in the celebrated revival of Nine. Benanti began her multifaceted career as Maria in The Sound of Music opposite Richard Chamberlain.
Other distinguished theatre performances include Perdita in A Winter's Tale at the Williamstown Theater Festival opposite Kate Burton, Anne in A Little Night Music at the Los Angeles Opera opposite Victor Garber, and Eileen in City Center Encores Wonderful Town opposite Donna Murphy.
Benanti can be heard on a multitude of recordings and debuted her solo show at the Kennedy Center in the spring of 2010. She also starred in the short-lived period drama series The Playboy Club.
Other television roles include recurring roles on The Big C, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Life on Mars, as well as her heralded portrayal of Billie on Starved and a recurring role on Eli Stone.
Benanti made her leap to the silver screen in 2005 in the film Take the Lead opposite her Nine co-star Antonio Banderas, as his love interest. She can also be seen in the independent films Falling for Grace and Meskada; the latter debuted at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
Benanti currently resides in New York City and enjoys songwriting.