"Should we all do the Bunny Stance?" asked "The Playboy Club's" Jenna Dewan Tatum, who plays rule-breaking Janie on the NBC drama, at a September 10 event held at Chicago's Drake Hotel. The luncheon united four actresses from the show with six real-life former bunnies who worked in Hugh Hefner's glamorous clubs in the '60s. "Don't forget your Bunny Smile!" added Gloria Hendry, who worked for seven years at the New York Playboy Club and went on to appear in the James Bond thriller "Live and Let Die."
Other than their official training with Pat Lacey, a veteran of the Los Angeles Bunny Club, it was the first time the actresses — Laura Benanti, Naturi Naughton, Leah Renee and Dewan Tatum — had the chance to trade stories with some real bunnies.
"Your wardrobe is perfect," said Sharon Rizzo, who began as a bunny in Chicago when she was 18 and worked for Playboy in various capacities for 20 years. The group had watched "The Playboy Club" pilot, and all agreed that the show is getting the details right.
"I didn't use ice baths, but a lot of girls did," said Scott, referring to a scene in which the women dip their tired feet in freezing buckets at the end of a 10-hour shift. "And those trays! Oh, your arm would hurt," added Hendry.
Benanti, who plays Bunny Mother Carol-Lynne, called the personal connection "incredibly informative. Seeing the beautiful, intelligent, successful and elegant people that these women are — we owe them a lot." She'll remember that, she said, during night shoot when she's freezing in her costume.
A den mother both on and off the show, Benanti — who appears on the cover of the October commemorative issue of Playboy magazine — says the actresses have taken on their roles off screen, too. "It happens a lot," she said. "I definitely feel protective of the girls, and I'm the one to rally us for social events and wrangle us when we need to make a change on set. I love them, and I try to take care of them as much as I can."
"The Playboy Club" premieres tonight, 10/9c on NBC.
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