Believe it or not, Carrie Underwood isn't the only star of tonight's "The Sound of Music Live" event on NBC.
In addition to "True Blood" star Stephen Moyer, Christian Borle from "Smash," and all those adorable kids, you'll also see 34-year-old Broadway star Laura Benanti. While much has already been said about Underwood stepping into Julie Andrews's massive shoes, not nearly enough has been said about the special's source material, which is the original musical, and not the movie. And, as such, Laura's role as Elsa, the other woman after Captain von Trapp's heart, is decidedly bigger than people might remember.
"No one can remake that film – nobody is Julie Andrews and nobody should try. The stage play is different. The songs are in a different order," she explained to Yahoo TV. "Max and Elsa … they didn't even have songs in the movie. They were cut, and we didn't really get to know those characters at all. This feels different than the movie but it has the same beautiful, nostalgic, traditional music that everyone is looking forward to hearing. I think people will be excited by the differences but also comforted by the similarities."
So, since we're going to be seeing quite a bit more of Laura, we decided to get to know her a little better by giving her recent album, "In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention (Live at 54 Below)," a listen and challenging her to one of our five-minute Speed Dates. Three, two, one… go!
1. Where did you grow up? Kinnelon, New Jersey.
2. Did your parents have another name for you if you turned out to be the opposite gender? I don't know.
3. What was your favorite doll or action figure? I loved my Pound Puppy. [Its name was] Pound Puppy. I just called it Pound Puppy.
4. Did you have a nickname as a child? Lolly. I think the song "Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly lolly lolly…" My mom used to sing that to me and my name's Laura, so she started calling me Lolly.
5. What table did you sit at in the school cafeteria? Like the cool kids or the nerds? Oh, the nerds. Yeah.
Watch an interview with Laura Benanti on the set of "The Sound of Music Live!":
6. When did you realize you wanted to become an actor? There is not a time that I can remember ever not wanting to be an actor.
7. What was the first movie you ever saw? "Annie." Yeah, that definitely [had an impact].
8. Did you memorize parts of movies when you were a kid? Yeah! The songs. I loved the Disney musicals and movie musicals, so I definitely would memorize the songs.
9. What is your favorite Disney musical? I loved "Snow White." Anytime my mom would hand me an apple, I would pretend to faint to the floor like Snow White did when she was given the apple.
10. What rock star in history would you most like to party with? I really was always into Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. I actually cut my hair in high school to look like him, which I now realize was a terrible idea.
11. What's your biggest pet peeve? When people are rude to waiters or cab drivers or people who they think are less than them.
12. What's your sign? Cancer.
13. Are you a typical example of that sign? 1,000 percent. I am a homebody. I'm very, very sensitive but I cover it up with a shell. I'm very loyal and loving, but I also am moody.
14. What do you never leave home without? My phone.
15. What do you wear around the house? Sweats.
16. Do you watch sports? Only when I have to. You know when you're hanging out with friends who like football or whatever – if it's on in the background, I'll watch it.
17. What was the worst date you've ever been on? I went out on a date with a guy like 15 years ago who turned out to be married.
18. Who should pay on the first date? The guy.
19. When was the last time you looked up an ex on Facebook? Today. It's never good to Facebook stalk. You always end up feeling a little bit sad.
20. What would the last four entries in your search history be? I can look! Christian Borle, Stephen Moyer, Rashida Jones comic book, and Upper West Side cleaners.
21. Do you ever search for yourself online? Of course! It's not good. For all of the millions of nice things that people say about you, it's the one person who's like, "She's not cute. I don't get her," that you're like, boo hoo. Now I'm sad!
22. Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes, actually! My ex-husband and I lived in a house in Madison, New Jersey, and it was one of the oldest houses in North New Jersey, from the 1700s. It definitely had ghosts and I definitely experienced a lot of ghost stuff. The lights turned on and off, the TV turned on and off, and when I would sing in the house, a humming would come through the radiator.
23. Have you ever voted in a reality TV competition? Yes! I voted on "American Idol," but I can't remember who I voted for. [But, no, it wasn't for Carrie Underwood's season.]
24. Who is your dream co-star? Meryl Streep. But also Hugh Jackman. I've done a couple readings with him and I just love that guy. I love working with him.
25. Whose career would you kill for? Emily Blunt's. She's super-cool.
FINAL QUESTION! Would you like to get together and do this again? Sure!
The three-hour "The Sound of Music Live!" telecast airs tonight at 8 PM on NBC. Watch the "Making of" video here: