The actress will replace Tony nominee Lauren Ambrose in October
The show must go on, and with Lauren Ambrose set to topline M. Night Shyamalan’s new Apple drama series, Lincoln Center’s My Fair Lady production directed by Bartlett Sher has found its new leading lady.
Laura Benanti, a Tony winner for Gypsy, who most recently starred in the 2016 Broadway revival of She Loves Me, will take over the role of Eliza Doolittle beginning Oct. 23, EW has confirmed. She’ll stay on in a limited engagement through to Feb. 17, 2019.
“Eliza Doolittle has been my dream role for as long as I can remember, so I couldn’t be more excited to join this brilliant company,” Benanti said in a statement. “Working with Bart and getting to be part of this show is a dream come true.”
Opening earlier this year at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on New York’s Upper West Side, Sher’s take on My Fair Lady earned very strong reviews, scoring Tony nominations in most major categories including Best Revival of a Musical. Ambrose was also widely praised despite coming on as a somewhat controversial choice, given her lack of background in musical theater. She received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Actress in a Musical, and won the equivalent award from the Outer Critics Circle.
“Ambrose is a bold and electrifying actress, and her Eliza is more human than any Eliza we’ve seen before — a woman scarred by life but intent on finding joy,” Jess Cagle wrote in his EW review. “She’s frightened and erratic, but her soul is indestructible. Like the production itself, her performance is a thing of beauty.”
Benanti will perform opposite original cast members Harry Hadden-Paton and Norbert Leo Butz, who as of now are staying on indefinitely.