Caroline O'Connor (actress)
2 September 1962 |
Oldham, Lancashire, England
O'Connor was born in Oldham, Lancashire, England, to Irish parents and subsequently brought up and trained in Sydney, Australia. She trained at the Royal Ballet School in London and worked for one year at the Australian Opera Ballet. She became an Australian citizen in 2007. She would not have had to relinquish her British citizenship and is eligible for Irish citizenship based on her parents nationality.
O'Connor's film work includes the featured role of Nini Legs in the Air in Baz Luhrmann's film Moulin Rouge!, and as Ethel Merman in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely. She also featured on the De-Lovely soundtrack, singing Anything Goes. In 2003, she made her Broadway debut as Velma Kelly in Chicago. Her West End theatre performances include Mabel in Mack & Mabel for which she received an Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. She was a member of the original 1986 revival cast of Me and My Girl at the Adelphi Theatre. Other British theatre credits include A Chorus Line, Hot Stuff, Chicago, Damn Yankees, West Side Story and as Ellie May in Showboat for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North. She understudied and went on to perform the role of Angel in the London production of The Rink by Kander and Ebb and appeared in the UK premier of the musical Baby.
In 1998, O'Connor returned to Australia as Velma Kelly in Chicago for which she won a Green Room Award and the Mo Award for Female Musical Theatre Performer of the Year. Other Australian productions include the one woman play Bombshells written especially for Caroline O'Connor by playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, Oklahoma! and concert productions of Funny Girl and Mack & Mabel. She has since filmed Bombshells for ABC Television. Her portrayal of Édith Piaf in Pam Gems's play Piaf gained her three Australian theatre awards.
Bombshells toured to sell-out performances at the Edinburgh Festival (where she won the coveted Fringe First Award), London's West End at the Arts Theatre (for which she received her second Laurence Olivier Award nomination), and at the World Stage Festival in Toronto, Canada. O'Connor starred as Judy Garland in the 2005 world premiere of Peter Quilter's play End of the Rainbow at the Sydney Opera House. Following its Sydney and Melbourne seasons, Caroline recorded the CD A Tribute to Judy Garland, and reprised her Helpmann Award winning role in Sydney at the Theatre Royal in 2006. She starred in the premiere production of the musical The Hatpin, which opened in Sydney on 27 February 2008 to critical acclaim. In June 2008, she played the title role —a role specifically written for O'Connor— in the premiere of David Williamson's 2008 play Scarlett O'Hara at the Crimson Parrot at the Melbourne Theatre Company.
In 2012, O'Connor originated the role of Miss Shields in the limited run of A Christmas Story: The Musical. Although the show ran for only 51 performances in late 2012, as a nominee for the 2013 best musical Tony Award, the number "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out", featuring O'Connor was broadcast live on CBS during the 67th Tony Awards show on 9 June 2013.
She has recorded four solo CDs (What I Did For Love, A Tribute To Piaf, From Stage to Screen, A Tribute to Garland), and has featured on numerous cast recordings and compilations. In March 2009, O'Connor reprised her role as Velma Kelly in the 2009 Australian production of Chicago where she starred alongside Craig McLachlan and Gina Riley. In May 2010, she appeared as Mrs Cooper in the TV series, Lowdown. From 22 April to 21 May 2011, O'Connor starred as Mrs Lovett in the Théâtre du Châtelet production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in Paris.
- Webb, Carolyn (7 February 2004). "Caroline O'Connor comes back for more". The Age.
- Caroline O'Connor Returns as Star of ENO's On the Town (BroadwayWorld)
- Allegro Music
- Caroline O'Connor on Talking Heads, ABC1 (22 November 2010)
- Higson, Rosalie (4 June 2008). "Into the rhythm of love". The Australian. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "A Christmas Story, The Musical". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out". 67th Tony Awards. CBS Television. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "David Charles Abell: 'The Châtelet production of Sweeney Todd is allowing me to fulfill a long-held dream'", Interview with conductor David Charles Abell, todosmusicales.com (22 April 2011)