This Spring’s High School Musicals Can Still Be Heard, Thanks to Laura Benanti

Actress Laura Benanti arrives for the 2016 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Reception in Manhattan, New York
Actress Laura Benanti at the 2016 Tony Awards in Manhattan, when she was nominated for her performance in “She Loves Me.”
Reuters/ Andrew Kelly

Laura Benanti has been a major voice on Broadway for more than 20 years, having won a Tony for “Gypsy” in 2008” and garnering Tony nominations for four other performances — in “Swing” in 2000, “Into the Woods” in 2002, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 2010, and “She Loves Me” in 2016.

During the coronavirus shutdown, she is doing her part to encourage young singers who may wish to follow in her footsteps.

In a March 13 tweet, Benanti noted that these are “dark times for all,” but added that she’s “trying to find some bright spots.”

Benanti continued, “If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!! Sending all my love and black market toilet paper.”

And so video performances of musical theater classics are flooding Twitter, tagged with @LauraBenanti as well as the hashtag #SunshineSongs.

@christinalicata posted herself and a male co-star singing the heartbreaking love song from “Phantom of the Opera,” “All I Ask of You.”

@isbeele, deprived of bringing her performance as Tevye in an all-female “Fiddler on the Roof” to her local audience, got her chance to sing the iconic “If I Were A Rich Man” in response to Benanti’s challenge.

@eileen_kaden, maybe a bit of a Mama Rose (“Gypsy,” come on people), posted a clip of her daughter in the role of Miss Honey in “Matilda.”

A very young looking @lifeiwantu got his chance to sing “Giants in the Sky” from “In the Woods,” though he was humble in presenting himself to a worldwide audience, writing, “I’m awkward I know.”

@jasen_cummings was clearly disappointed that the a cappella jazz festival he and some classmates were supposed to attend got cancelled, but he did have a clip of them performing in front of their school’s Freshman Choir.

“We have been working so hard and although we are all heartbroken, we are proud of how far we’ve come,” Jasen wrote.

And @khadija_sankoh posted a clip of her fellow cast members from Union High School singing “Waiting For Life” from “Once on the Island.”

That last one caught the attention of New York cabaret performer Ben Rimalower, who describes himself as a “Patti LuPone savant” — he has performed a solo show entitled “Patti Issues,” after all.

“So great!,” Rimalower wrote about the “Waiting For Life” clip. “I want more!!!”

Who doesn’t want more of this kind of joy on Twitter?