Nashville‘s New Girl: How Do I Like Her Now?

Carrie Underwood's Sound of Music Enemy Becomes Connie Britton's Protege

I used to kind of hate Laura Benanti. Well, not her. Just her character in last year’s The Sound of Music Live, the Baroness Elsa Schrader. Because she was getting in the way of Carrie Underwood’s love affair with Captain von Trapp.

But now, Benanti is the new girl on Nashville, and she’s much more likable already.

She plays Sadie Stone, a singer-songwriter who is on the verge of country music stardom. She was only on the last episode for a split second when Jeff met her, and I talked with her right after that scene, so I know what’s in store for Sadie this season.

Or actually what’s not in store for Sadie. There will be no scandal, no messy love triangles, no breakdowns and no hissy fits.

“What I love about this character is that there’s no romantic interest for me,” Benanti said. “It’s only been about the music. Sadie is sweet and well-liked. People think of her as a real artist.”

And even though that first scene with Sadie was with Jeff, most of the scenes she’s shot so far have been with Rayna.

That’s huge for Benanti, who told me Connie Britton is the reason why she started watching Nashville in the first place.

“Listen, I need you to understand I’m obsessed with the show. Mostly because of Connie Britton,” she admitted.

And now that she’s working with Britton on a regular basis, she’s still just as in awe of her.

“She’s magical. She is exactly what you want her to be. You think no one’s ever going to be that cool, and then she is. And she’s so cool, that within five minutes of hanging out with her, you forget how nervous you were and forget that she’s a star. She is warm, welcoming, loving and supportive.”

And it sounds like Benanti felt the same way about Underwood back when they worked on the live TV production of The Sound of Music.

“I think the world of Carrie. She was really lovely, a very, very hard worker and just so brave. I think it’s extremely brave of her to come into a situation like that — where she’d never done anything like that before. I’ve never seen somebody work as hard as she did.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.