DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Tony-Nominated Cinderella Star Laura Osnes

By Andrew Gans
16 Aug 2013

Osnes in Cinderella.
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Question: Do you have a favorite moment for her? Is there something you look forward to each night?
Osnes: I do really love the costume transformations. It’s on-stage magic, and hearing the audience respond every night to seeing that is really special. I haven’t done a show where that’s happened before, and I get to do three transformations, and each one is more exciting and impressive than the next! So that’s kind of my favorite part.

Question: They are great fun to watch and try to figure out how the costumes work. Has there ever been a night where it didn’t quite work?
Osnes: Thank the Lord, we haven’t had any huge disasters! [Laughs.] The design behind the costumes is basically flawless. It’s old-school stage magic. The first time I ever did the transformation in the costume shop with the fake fabric – it worked. So it took a little finessing to make it look really natural, but the design behind it is all snaps and Velcro. It works! [Laughs.]

Question: I imagine there are a lot of kids coming to the show. Have there been any particular reactions from little kids that stick out in your mind?
Osnes: You know, I can only really see the front row. But there have definitely been a couple days where girls in the front row have gotten up and started dancing during the ball. [Laughs.] There’s always a big reaction during the glass slipper [sequence] because they’re brought forward by the raccoon-turned-human and laid on the ground and I step into them. All the little girls in the front row are like, "The glass slipper is in there. Mommy, are they really glass? They’re so pretty...” And then seeing all the girls at the stage door – they all come in their little Cinderella dresses and tiaras. It’s really very cute.

Question: How do they react to you, when you’re out of costume at that point?
Osnes: It kind of goes half and half. Half of them don’t really get it if they’re too young. All the moms are like, "She played Cinderella … What do you want to say?” They’re all really shy. They smile and don’t say anything and then the mom is speaking on behalf of the child: “We loved it – she’s so shy.” And then the other half will want to give me hugs. So it’s either like they get shy and they just stare or they want to be my best friend. [Laughs.]

Question: Tell me a bit about working with this cast – with Santino Fontana and Victoria Clark.
Osnes: I love Santino. We get along so well; we have so much fun together offstage and onstage. We’ve become really, really good friends. He’s so smart, and I just admire him so much for the grounded person and the grounded actor that he is. And, Vicky is an angel on earth. She’s been a mother to everybody from the very beginning. She really is like a real-life Fairy Godmother. She takes care of everybody, and she’s so wise and warm, and I get to sing a duet with her every night. She gets to sing this gorgeous ballad to me where I get to cry into her lap. Every day I pinch myself. I saw her in Light in the Piazza seven years ago, and it’s just amazing to get to be playing opposite her in this. And, of course, Harriet Harris is a brilliant actress. She’s so into the nuance of her performance. It’s something a little new every day, and she’s just so smart and wonderful. The stepsisters are fantastic. Everyone’s really nice and really fun, and we get to tell such a fun story that we get to have a lot of fun onstage. And not that we’re goofing off, everybody’s so professional, but because of the nature of the story that we’re telling, we get to play. It feels like play everyday - it’s not really work.