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Is It Still OK to Be a Princess? Broadway’s Laura Osnes Weighs In



Bandstand is coming to the big screen – tonight! Presented by Fathom Events, “Bandstand: The Broadway Musical on Screen” will run the Tony-winning Broadway musical at over 700 movie theaters across the country. Broadway Spin caught up with star Laura Osnes to hear about being on the silver screen, the ups and downs of “showmances” (yes, that’s a thing), and where she thinks the concept of a princess fits into #thefutureisfemale movement.

Laura Osnes “with the band.” Photo: Instagram, @lauraosnes.

Laura Osnes “with the band.” Photo: Instagram, @lauraosnes.

Osnes, whose Broadway credits include Grease, South Pacific, Anything Goes, Bonnie and Clyde, Cinderella, and Bandstand (to name but a few), still had nerves about seeing herself in a movie. “I am incredibly anxious today to see myself like that! I am not used to having no control over how you’re perceived,” she told Broadway Spin. “I have no idea what takes they took and how it was edited together and I hope they made us look and sound wonderful.”

You Know What Else Is Wonderful? Showmances.

Nervous or not, however, Osnes knows she can count on her husband, Nathan Johnson, to cheer her on. They met working on a show, which, according to Osnes is pretty standard. Asked her thoughts on dating colleagues, Osnes explained, “I’ve gotten very close to all my male costars, but I met my husband before I even moved to New York, when we were understudies in a production of Aladdin. We had a total showmance. I think it is common to find someone in the theater world that you can relate to because that’s our community, that’s who we’re around all the time.” But that doesn’t mean this system works for everyone!

Laura Osnes and Nathan Johnson at the 2018 Tony Awards. Photo: Instagram, @lauraosnes.

To Recap: Showmances Are Wonderful, Except for When They’re Not

“I know a lot of performers who are like, ‘I’m done dating actors.’ But it’s hard to meet people outside of the business,” the 32-year-old star revealed. “I’ve been married for 11 years, so I never really had to go through that. I married my person before I even really started my career here. I think there’s some advantage to marrying someone in the business just so that they understand the schedule, the lifestyle, they can appreciate the demands that are on us, and they enjoy coming to see us and support us in our shows.”

“It can also get competitive if there are two artists, and I feel like finding someone maybe just outside the business is good,” Osnes added. “I feel so grateful that my husband is a photographer, and he shoots Broadway people and our circles are very much the same, but we’re not in competition. He’s not acting anymore and he’s able to support me and I’m able to support him.”

Can You Be a Feminist Princess?

In addition to being Broadway royalty and a wife, Osnes is the creator of the Broadway Princess Party, which is exactly what it sounds like and features stage actors singing beloved “princess” songs from movies or stage musicals (with a heavy slant toward Disney). But in the current Future Is Female climate, some have argued that Disney’s beautiful heroines set a bad example for young girls and don’t function as realistic role models. Osnes doesn’t buy it.

Laura Osnes prepping for The Princess Party. Photo: Instagram, @lauraosnes.

“I think that’s a false notion to say that they’re not realistic role models,” she said. “A lot of the more recent Disney princesses aren’t just out for love. All of their ‘I want’ songs are more about making dreams come true – even Ariel’s ‘Part of Your World’ or when Belle sang, “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere” – that was true. It’s not about marrying a prince and living happily ever after. It’s more about fulfilling a woman’s dream. And all of these characters dream big and aren’t afraid to go after their dreams. I feel like that is more the lesson that we can all latch on to. And then with things like Frozen, where it’s actually a sisterly love that’s actually the thing that melts the heart, I think Disney is getting very smart about it.”

Still, Osnes herself is a true romantic at heart. “I got married at 21. I’m in love with my husband and I also promote falling in love and finding your soulmate and living happily ever after. I think that’s a wonderful thing too,” she explained. “But I think a lot of these princesses are courageous and strong, and they don’t just settle for the circumstances that are around them. Instead they are willing to charge forward and dream big, and I think that’s the message that everyone should be taking away from them.”

Nathan Johnson and Laura Osnes being the cutest. Photo: Instagram, @lauraosnes.

We hear your, sister. Gonna go dig up our tiaras now.

“Bandstand: Broadway Musical on Screen,” presented by Fathom Events, plays June 25 and June 28.