Laura Benanti stars as Carol-Lynne, a love interest of playboy Nick Dalton and the Bunny Mother in charge of supervising all the Bunnies, in NBC's provocative drama "The Playboy Club."
Benanti has brought her unique abilities to comedies, dramas and musicals since she took Broadway by storm at the age of 18.
She recently starred in the Broadway production of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" for Lincoln Center, in a role that earned her a Tony nomination. She previously starred in Sarah Ruhl's "In the Next Room" (or "The Vibrator Play"), also at Lincoln Center, which garnered critical acclaim for her heartbreaking and brave performance. Earlier that season, Benanti also demonstrated her breezy comic flair in the Public Theater's production of Christopher Durang's "Why Torture Is Wrong and the People Who Love Them."
Benanti earned the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her revelatory portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in "Gypsy," opposite Patti Lupone and directed by Arthur Laurents.
Her other Broadway roles include her Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated performance of Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" and her sultry Tony-nominated turn in "Swing!" Benanti also starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his muse in the celebrated revival of "Nine." She began her multi-faceted career as Maria in "The Sound of Music," opposite Richard Chamberlain.
Other distinguished theatre performances include Perdita in "A Winter's Tale" at the Williamstown Theater Festival opposite Kate Burton, Anne in "A Little Night Music" at the LA Opera opposite Victor Garber, and Eileen in City Center Encores' "Wonderful Town" opposite Donna Murphy.
Benanti can be heard on a multitude of recordings and debuted her solo show at the Kennedy Center in the spring of 2010.
Among her television roles are her heralded portrayal of "Billie" in the controversial comedy "Starved," a recurring role on "Eli Stone," and her appearance as Michael Imperioli's wife on "Life on Mars."
Benanti made her leap to the silver screen in 2005 in the film "Take the Lead" opposite her "Nine" co-star Antonio Banderas, as his love interest. She can also be seen in the independent films "Falling for Grace" and "Meskada"; the latter debuted at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
Benanti currently resides in New York City and enjoys songwriting.
Carol-Lynne was on her way to becoming a Broadway star when she suddenly gave it all up to spite her demanding stage mother. She moved to Chicago and was working as a waitress at the Gaslight Club when Hugh Hefner discovered her. Carol-Lynne became the first Playboy Bunny and the only one with the privilege of performing on stage. Her beauty and talent caught the eye of many prominent men in Chicago - including Nick Dalton, a successful young lawyer and one of the most coveted bachelors in the city. But Carol-Lynne wants more than to be just someone's wife. Aware that a Bunny's career is a limited one, Carol-Lynne smartly makes her move into management and becomes the Bunny Mother. Now she must train and supervise all of the Bunnies, a challenging task that she tackles with her usual cunning and grace. Carol-Lynne is determined to have it all - a successful career and a loving partnership with Nick... until the new Bunny, Maureen, arrives and threatens to destroy everything Carol-Lynne has so carefully built.