Jonathan Bennett Wrote a Musical. Then He Got the Call for Spamalot | Playbill

Special Features Jonathan Bennett Wrote a Musical. Then He Got the Call for Spamalot

The Mean Girls and Hallmark Channel film star is making his Broadway debut in the Monty Python musical.

Jonathan Bennett Andy Henderson

Jonathan Bennett dropped out of college when he was 19 years old and moved to New York City. He wanted to be on Broadway so badly that he couldn't wait to get started. Within a year, his leading-man looks got him a role on the soap opera All My Children, so he put Broadway on hold for a while.

"I was like, 'OK, I'll do this soap for two years, then I'll figure out Broadway," Bennett recalls. But his agents were confident they could get him work in film and television and urged a move to the West Coast.

Within a year in Los Angeles, he booked his breakout role, as Aaron Samuels, the dreamboat who knocked Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan) for a loop in the original 2004 Mean Girls movie. "Then everything sort of changed and I became this film and TV person. And the more you do, the further away the Broadway dream gets," he says.

It's been a busy 20 years—Bennett's had numerous television and film roles, hosted two seasons of Cake Wars, appeared as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, and became a bona fide Hallmark movie romantic lead (with a multi-picture contract).

But now he's back in New York, finally fulfilling that Broadway dream. Bennett made his Main Stem debut January 25, replacing Michael Urie as Sir Robin in the revival of Spamalot, a comedic spoof of the King Arthur legend based on the Monty Python film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. "I've dreamt about this day since I was five years old," Bennett says. "My only dream in my whole life has been to be on Broadway."

Jonathan Bennett in Spamalot Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

In fact, he was so intent on realizing the Broadway dream, that he even wrote it into being. “I literally wrote a musical about a guy that never got to go to Broadway, but it’s always been his dream. And I was pitching it. Two weeks after I pitched it, I got the call from Spamalot,” he says. “How weird is that? I literally manifested it!”

But Bennett didn’t have a big time gap in his career. He’s actually supposed to be filming for the Hallmark Channel right now. “Hallmark is such a family, and the executives are such beautiful, kind souls that see people for people. And they see their movies as part of people lives, not just the people that watch them, but the people that make them,” Bennett says, sincerely. When he told them Broadway came calling, they shifted his schedule.

And those Hallmark fans have been coming to see the show, too—providing needed encouragement for the actor’s debut. On his first night, when his face appeared in the window of a castle turret, there was entrance applause (and a few delighted squeals). Bennett remembers the moment: “When I opened the window to the guard tower and the audience lit up, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m safe.’”

Jonathan Bennett and cast of Spamalot Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

Leading up to that moment was kind of a whirlwind. But Bennett came in prepared. The self-professed “over-achiever” was off book for his first rehearsal. “I knew that if I’m lucky enough to get this opportunity, I wasn’t gonna just be good. I needed to absolutely crush it,” he says. He tried to stay calm and confident, trust in himself and trust in the process. But that process was a doozy! He didn’t get to rehearse with the orchestra until 5 PM January 25, the day he went on. And he’d never heard his voice through the sound system until that rehearsal. He got to run his big number (“You Won’t Succeed on Broadway”) only twice. Twice!

Even more, he’d never even run lines with the three people he shared the most time with on stage: Alex Brightman, James Monroe Iglehart, and Ethan Slater. “The first time the four of us ever acted together was that Tuesday night on stage, live,” says Bennett. But they breezed right through it as if they’d been questing together for years. “I felt so supported.”

Bennett is having fun with the role…rather, the roles. In addition to Sir Robin, he also plays four other ensemble parts (a castle guard here and there). He’s enjoying stretching his comedy chops in the “fast-paced rocket ship” of a show, as he calls it. He’s been told that after this first run, the next show—any show—will be easier. And yes, there will be a next show. He’s sure of it. “I’m going to be on Broadway for the rest of my life. I will do anything I can to make that happen.”

But for now, he’s riding this invisible horse (with tapping coconuts) and he’s having a blast. Recalling his first curtain call, Bennett shares, “So, you’re backstage and the stage manager’s counting for when it’s your time to run out for your bow. And everyone’s around you going, ‘…6, 7, 8, and go.’ And when they got to me, they go, ‘Jonathan, go bow!’ And I ran out, and other than my wedding day, that was hands down, without question, the best moment of my entire life. Not up for debate.”

See Jonathan Bennett's First Curtain Call in Spamalot

Today’s Most Popular News:

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!