Laura Benanti Opens a New Book: TV

PlayBlog   Laura Benanti Opens a New Book: TV
Broadway's Tony-winning Miss Gypsy Rose Lee, Laura Benanti, spent all day April 27 in Sitcom Land (Los Angeles), toiling before the CBS camera on a comedy pilot which, if accepted by the network, could change her coasts and her mediums.

"Open Books" presents Benanti as a book editor at a boutique New York publishing house whose office life is as comically complicated as her love life. Scott Foley and Kevin Rahm (half of the gay couple on "Desperate Housewives") play the men in her life; Alisha Tyler is her best pal, a waitress/actress, and Patti LuPone (her Mamma Rose in Gypsy) pops in periodically as her mother to remind her that she is not as good as her sister.

"It's a fun fun funny show," declared one set visitor, "and Laura is great. She is in virtually every scene. It's her show." Also appearing in the pilot were Michael McKean, Heather Donahue ("hilarious as her assistant"), Michael Benjamin Washington from the original Mamma Mia! cast and Lisa Felicity.

The pilot was written and executive-produced by Gail Lerner of "Ugly Betty" fame. After a week's rehearsal, the show was shot in one day by director James Burrows, son of Guys and Dolls' Abe and a sitcom king in his own right ("The Mary Tyler Moore," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Cheers," "Rhoda" and "Will and Grace").

Although very New York-centric, the series would be lensed in L.A. — a la "Friends."

— Harry Haun

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