ET: How did you decide to name your baby Ella Rose?
Laura Benanti: Ella Fitzgerald is one of my grandma’s
favorite singers, and I just always loved the name. My mom actually had a dream
that I told her that the baby’s middle name was Rose. Ella is in honor of my
grandma and Rose is in honor of my brother-in-law and my mom’s dream.
How has the transition to motherhood been?
Ella is amazing and I love her so much, but it’s hard. When
you follow people on Instagram or social media, all you see are pictures of
their adorable babies and animal ear hats. What you don’t see is a lot of the
exhaustion and figuring stuff out. It’s a huge adjustment to suddenly be caring
for this precious little person. My husband and I are absolutely in love with
her and also exhausted. We don’t know what we’re doing. Why did they let us go
home with a baby?
Have you been sleeping at all?
Only recently. She’s had a lot of belly problems, so for a
while weren’t sleeping at all. We would sleep for maybe two hours in a 24-hour
period, but lately she has been doing better.
Does your beautiful soprano voice put her to sleep?
I do sing to her and she does sort of look at me like an
adorable littlecherub. I sing a lot from She
Loves Me, because I was pregnant with her during the show and I feel
like maybe she recognizes those songs. I sing lullabies, “Baby Mine” from Dumbo,
a lot of songs from Mary Poppins -- stuff my mom used to sing
What’s a typical day like with Ella?
A lot of feeding, a lot of changing of diapers, a lot of
bouncing her up and down on the yoga ball, a lot of consoling her and a lot of
waving a rattle in front of her… I take her for walks, but I don’t ever leave
the house for me unless I’m going to a doctor’s appointment. I’m not exercising
and lunching with friends [because] it’s been pretty consuming. Right now, I’m
taking her to a baby osteopath. It’s essentially like a chiropractor for
Tell me about your new show with your mom, Linda, at 54 Below.
It’s a lot of songs that we sang when I was a little girl.
I’m excited because my mom was an amazing actress and singer; then she stopped.
She hasn’t performed in 35 years, so this is her first time performing in that
length of time. I’m really excited for people to see how talented she
is. I’m singing songs from my childhood: one Disney medley, a song called
“The Grass is Always Greener,” which is sort of about my life versus what her
life has been. I’m going to sing songs from She Loves Me, and
we’re singing “Children Will Listen” together. She was really inspired by Julie
Andrews, Judy Garland and Joan Sutherland, so she’s doing a medley of all three
of those performers. I’m singing a Joni Mitchell song and a Tori Amos song.
Have you been rehearsing at home while you’re watching the baby?
I have been, which has been a challenge, but it’s also kind
of amazing to be singing with my mom and holding my daughter [at the same
time]. We have choreography for one number and I’m literally holding the baby
while we try to do choreography, [which is] hilarious and ridiculous.
Do you think we’ll ever see a show of three generations
of Benanti singers on the stage?
We’ll see. Hopefully, [Ella will] be an astronaut or a
Is there anybody involved with the show or is it just the two of you
Todd Almond is my music director and we consult him on the
music and the arrangements. We don’t have a director. We’re just sort of