Artist Spotlight: Lacey Jo Benter

Anna Hainze

The multi-talented, monstrously musically-inclined mezzo Lacey Jo Benter is more than fit to be featured in this week’s Artist Spotlight. Though she is best known at Lawrence for her unstoppable voice, which has garnered important roles in LU productions of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “The Magic Flute,” “Gianni Schicchi” and others, Benter’s musical beginnings were more focused on instrumental music, with percussion and guitar as the main focus. “I came to Lawrence certain that I wanted to be on stage, and thankfully that desire has stayed strong. The more I learn about opera and acting and all that jazz, the more I want to be up there on the big stage doing it someday,” said Benter, who hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

But while we enjoy Benter’s singing abilities in a more traditional setting, she has also been known to bust out a guitar and play some of her own compositions at times. “I think my songwriting career started when I was about 15 or 16,” Benter said. “I dabbled in it trying to make things work, writing songs to close friends. I remember once writing a song as a project for my 10th-grade English class inspired by Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night.’ Got an A.” No big deal. Luckily, however, Lacey has moved on from English class-project songs to more developed material — she played a Soundboard last year to a full house and plans to have a follow-up performance soon.

But whether she is singing one of her own creations or an operatic aria, Lacey Jo Benter is a musical force to be reckoned with. Everyone is highly encouraged to go see her in the Friday/Sunday cast of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” playing the role of Meg Page. You won’t regret it.