Laura Benanti’s hilarious impressions of Melania Trump on late-night television have taken a back seat these days as she cares for her newborn daughter, Ella Rose Benanti-Brown, with husband Patrick Brown. The Supergirl star gave birth to her first child on Valentine’s Day. It was a joyous moment for the couple who married in November 2015 and suffered a miscarriage the same year.
“[Motherhood]’s definitely challenging,” Benanti says over the phone to ET on her way to her daughter’s doctor appointment in New York City. “It’s funny, my friend Cheyenne Jackson and his husband have twins. We laugh because we used to text each other about jobs and [show] business and now we just text about baby poop. Like, ‘Are they pooping? How much are they pooping? When do they pooping?’ There’s a lot of poop talk.”
The actress, who won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Louise in Gypsy and was last seen on Broadway in She Loves Me, will soon return from maternity leave to perform with her mother, Linda, in a two-show concert called Linda and Laura Benanti: The Story Goes On at 54 Below on May 5-6. This will be Linda’s first time back on the professional stage in 35 years after a successful career giving voice lessons, including to Laura. The mother-daughter duo has been practicing with little Ella watching. “Many times I’ve wished that somebody was videotaping this,” Benanti says of rehearsals.
Ahead of Benanti’s return to the stage, she spoke with ET about adjusting to life as a working mother.
Is this your first time going back to work after having Ella Rose?
It is. I’m really nervous. I haven’t done anything for myself since my daughter was born. My hair is grey, I haven’t worked out. I’m in full mom mode. The idea of getting dressed up and performing in front of people is exciting because I really miss it, but it also feels a little out-of-body right now. I’m like, No. no I can’t do that, I’m covered in spit-up.
Moving forward, how do you plan to balance work and being a new mom?
We’re going to find out. I think it’s being choosy. In the past I’ve said, “Yeah, that’s great” to stuff that maybe now I wouldn’t. I feel like anything I do is going to have to be worth being away from her. I do have to get back into my life a little bit. Certainly my priority is my daughter and I want to make sure that I’m raising her. I don’t plan on giving up my career any time soon, but I also really want to be there for my child.
What about playing Eliza Doolittle in the recently announced revival of My Fair Lady on Broadway next season at Lincoln Center? You’ve been very vocal about that role in the past.
I would love that, but I have a feeling they’re going to be going a different way. But I would literally give my left pinky to do it.
Since you’ve been taking some time off, have you been practicing your Melania Trump impression at all?
I haven’t been practicing, but I’ve been watching and writing. There’s certainly much to spoof. I’m hoping that [Stephen] Colbert will have me back on [his] show soon. The last time I was there was Election Day, so I would love to go back and redeem myself.
How do you think those two appearances impersonating Melania on The Late Show have impacted your career?
I think people realized I’m funny. I think it’s taken me a while, even though I’ve been working at comedy for some time, having that exposure [with] millions of people watching. I think some people who didn’t know who I was now do. I have a more diverse range than maybe they suspected before.
Would you ever want to meet her in person?