Broadway leading lady Laura Benanti is singing like a canary about alleged unsafe working conditions on the Great White Way, revealing how she broke her neck on stage almost two decades ago.
From there, she claimed things just got worse — because “I was a good girl. A nice girl. I wanted to be liked.”
The Tony Award winner, 42, took to Instagram on Friday, defiantly sharing her full story for the first time: “Today I woke up angry. Because I’m not a nice girl anymore. I am a grown-ass woman.”
Benanti — who began headlining on Broadway back in the late 1990s when she was still a teenager — says she suffered the serious injury in her early 20s.
“When I was 22 years old I broke my neck. I was in a Broadway show that required two pratfalls (one, from a moving staircase), 8 times a week. I was not an acrobat. I was not even a dancer. I was a 22-year-old girl who didn’t know how to say ‘this doesn’t feel safe to me,’” she stated in the Instagram post. “I was a good girl. A nice girl. I wanted to be liked. So I did it. For months and months.”
Stephen Colbert’s favorite Melania Trump impersonator continued, “I cracked a rib. I sprained a wrist. And then finally I broke my neck. I was sent by the producers to their doctor who told me I had herniated discs and should do physical therapy. I did that three times a week for months. I got worse. I finally had to leave the show.”
The brunette singer-actress and recording artist did not disclose the name of the show, but she was working on a Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” in 2002, when she was 22 years old.
A Playbill report published in October 2002 states: “Laura Benanti is out of ‘Into The Woods,’ but questions of how long she will be gone and what exactly has happened to the popular young star have no official answers. Rumors have circulated, naming a neck or back injury as the thing that knocked [her] off her feet.”
The Post has reached out to Benanti’s reps for further information.
In Friday’s bombshell Instagram post, Benanti continued: “Rumors swirled (perpetuated by many involved with the production) that I was just difficult or lazy or didn’t want to show up to work.”
Despite the drama, she nabbed a Tony Award nomination for her role in “Into The Woods.”
And the following year, the persistent performer returned to the Broadway stage, starring — and stealing scenes in a “Very Unusual Way” — as Claudia Nardi opposite Antonio Banderas in the smash musical “Nine.”
“I began rehearsals for ‘Nine’ (in a neck brace) thinking if I didn’t have to throw myself to the ground 16 times a week I could do the show,” Benanti wrote. “I couldn’t. I lay on the ground completely unable to feel my body. I went to a surgeon who told me to do surgery immediately or I would be paralyzed. I did it. I went back into ‘Nine’ weeks later.”
Benanti says she was still suffering from pain even after the surgery, so she returned to the doctor who told her it was a “mental health issue.”
She continued to perform on Broadway despite living with “intense pain every single day for 7 years.” Eventually, the star claimed she sought out another surgeon who told her that the first surgery actually “made her worse” as it had “cracked her vertebrae.”
Benanti was then forced to undergo another operation, which led to hair loss from anesthesia. She spent several months recuperating at her parents’ house.
Amid constant pain and trauma, Benanti continued to star in high-profile Broadway shows, saying she “wanted to be loved.”
She went on to win a Tony in 2008 for her role in “Gypsy.” She has since been nominated for two further Tony Awards.
Benanti ended her Instagram confessional by stating: “I have rarely spoken about this so directly. Devoid of the humor required to make people comfortable. I wake up every day with pain. And today I woke up angry. Because I’m not a nice girl anymore. I am a grown-ass woman.”
The star — who became a mom in 2017 — last appeared on Broadway as a replacement Eliza Doolittle in the 2018-2019 run of “My Fair Lady,” and currently juggles recurring roles on a trio to TV series: TV Land’s “Younger,” HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” and Showtime’s “Ziwe.”
Read her full statement via the original post below:
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