Triumphant Return for Atlanta Actress
By Aileen Dodd Contributing Writer | 7/26/2013, 12:54 p.m.
Next week, a successful actress and singer will return to the city she calls “home” to co-star in a touring musical at The Woodruff Arts Center.
For Sandra Benton, a co-star in the hit off-Broadway show, “Menopause The Musical,” the trip from Los Angeles to Atlanta will be like a family reunion. She will take time between performances to catch up with old friends, talk to mentors who helped her get into show biz, and eat at some of her favorite sushi haunts.
“I’m excited to get back to one of my old stomping grounds,” said Benton, 47. “Atlanta is in my heart. I feel that my biggest connection with the artistic world was made while I was in Atlanta.”
Benton, who has been in the entertainment industry for 30 years, was living in Atlanta when she landed a role as an understudy in “Menopause” which runs at The Alliance Theatre July 30 - Aug. 4.
The musical, which takes a comedic look at the ‘change of life’ for women, has been touring nationally and internationally for more than a decade; leaving millions of women - and men - laughing in the aisles. It pokes fun at hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and chocolate binges, giving audiences a greater understanding of the revolutionary changes women face as they age.
Benton has been getting rave reviews for her performance.
“Sandra Benton is a wonderful, sensitive, and soulful actor who has a great understanding of the Professional Woman she plays,” said Seth Greenleaf, director of “Menopause”. “Each performance, Sandra starts off as someone you would not want to mess with, and ends as someone you just want to be around.”
As Benton prepared for her Atlanta homecoming, she took time away from her busy schedule to talk to the Atlanta Voice about her passion for acting and her love of the city that spawned her theatrical career.
Q: How did moving to Atlanta (in 1995) help your stage career?
A: “There is a huge theater community in Atlanta. I directed and I acted at several theaters. I worked at the Horizon, the Aurora, the 7 Stages, Dad’s Garage ... I did work at Agatha’s “A Taste of Mystery”. I was there for four years when “Menopause” came to town in 2005. The show changed my life. I was hired as a double understudy, and they moved me to Las Vegas.”
Q: What two parts did you play as an understudy? Which one was your favorite?
A: “There are only four parts in the show – Professional Woman, Earth Mother, Iowa Housewife and Soap Star. I covered Professional Woman and Earth Mother. Those two characters couldn’t be more diametrically opposite of each other. You love them both for different reasons. Earth Mother is a free spirit. She is giving and nurturing…Professional Woman is very strong, upright and dignified. She controls almost every aspect of her life, but her menopause.”
Q: What is the music like in the show? Are the songs funny too?