Kelli O'Hara

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Kelli O'Hara
Kelli O'Hara Memorial Day concert.jpg
O'Hara performing at the National Memorial Day Concert in May 2010
Born (1976-04-16) April 16, 1976 (age 39)
Elk City, Oklahoma
Spouse(s) Greg Naughton
Children 2

Kelli O'Hara (born April 16, 1976) is an American stage actress, singer and songwriter. O'Hara has appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway in many musicals and has been nominated for six Tony Awards.

Personal life[edit]

O'Hara grew up in Oklahoma in an Irish American family.[1] She graduated from Deer Creek High School and also attended Oklahoma City University, graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Music in vocal performance/opera. O'Hara studied voice with Florence Birdwell, who also taught Kristin Chenoweth four years earlier. O'Hara and Chenoweth are both alumnae of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

O'Hara is married to Greg Naughton, son of actor James Naughton, brother of actress/singer Keira Naughton, and nephew of actor David Naughton. Their first child, Owen James, was born on June 27, 2009.[2] The couple had a daughter, Charlotte, on September 16, 2013.[3]

Career[edit]

O'Hara has been nominated for six Tony Awards, including five for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in The Pajama Game,[4] South Pacific,[5] Nice Work If You Can Get It,[6] The Bridges of Madison County, and most recently The King and I. Her first nomination was for her featured role in The Light in the Piazza in 2005.[7]

O'Hara played the role of Young Hattie in the 2001 Broadway revival of Follies, and then played the role of Young Phyllis.[8] She next appeared in the Broadway production of Sweet Smell of Success as Susan in 2002.[9] In 2003 she played the role of Albertine in the Off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons production of the musical My Life With Albertine.[10] She played the role of Lucy Westenra in the Broadway production of the musical Dracula in 2004.[11]

She starred in the Broadway production of The Light in the Piazza at the Lincoln Center Vivian Beaumont Theatre in 2005 as Clara.[12] She had done a workshop of the musical at the Theatre Lab at Sundance, as well as during tryouts in Seattle and Chicago, as the character of Franca.[13] She received a 2005 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.[14] In her next Broadway musical, she played "Babe" in the Broadway revival of The Pajama Game in 2006. The New York Times reviewer, Ben Brantley, wrote that O'Hara "rockets past the promising ingénue status she attained with 'Light in the Piazza'".[15]

O'Hara played the role of Dot/Marie in the L.A. Reprise! concert staging of Sunday in the Park with George in January through February 2007.[16]

She can be heard as the voice of producer Beth Totenbag on PBS's 2008 animated series Click and Clack's As the Wrench Turns.

She starred in the Broadway revival of South Pacific in 2008 through 2010 as Nellie Forbush at the Lincoln Center Vivian Beaumont Theater,[17] and was nominated for the 2008 Tony Award, Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical.[18] O'Hara took maternity leave on March 8, 2009 and returned to the musical on October 13, 2009.[19][20]

O'Hara played the role of Ella Peterson in the New York City Center Encores! semi-staged concert presentation of Bells Are Ringing in November 2010.[21]

On December 5, 2011, she was part of a benefit concert of She Loves Me, presented by the Roundabout Theater Company, in honor of its 10-year anniversary. She played the main character of Amalia, co-starring with Josh Radnor, who played the character of Georg. The production was directed by Scott Ellis. The musical director was Paul Gemignani. The cast also included Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski as Miss Ritter, Cheyenne Jackson as Steven Kodaly, Tony nominee Michael McGrath as Sipos, Tony nominee Rory O'Malley as Arpad, and four-time Tony nominee Victor Garber as Mr. Maraczek.[22] Curiously, she had performed "Will He Like Me?", one of the most famous songs from the show, one day before, on December 4, 2011, at Kennedy Center, in honor of Barbara Cook, who was being honored that year.

She starred on Broadway in Nice Work if You Can Get It as Billie Bendix from April 2012 to March 2013 and received her fourth Tony Award nomination. She was replaced by Jessie Mueller.

From February 28, 2013 to March 2, 2013, she played the main character of Julie in the staged concert version of Carousel, presented by the New York Philharmonic, at Avery Fisher Hall. Nathan Gunn played Billy, Stephanie Blythe played Nettie, Jessie Mueller played Carrie, Jason Danieley played Enoch, Shuler Hensley played Jigger, John Cullum played the Starkeeper, and Kate Burton played Mrs. Mullin. Tiler Peck danced the role of Louise to choreography by Warren Carlyle. The production was directed by John Rando.

She appeared on Broadway in the role of Francesca Johnson in the new musical The Bridges of Madison County from January 2014 through May 2014, for which she received her fifth Tony Award nomination.[23] She received positive reviews. Elyse Sommer, the curtainup.com reviewer, noted O'Hara's "superb vocal chops" and her "exquisite" duets with co-star Steven Pasquale.[24]

She played Mrs. Darling in the NBC telecast of Peter Pan Live!.[25]

On December 31, 2014, O'Hara made her grand operatic debut at The Metropolitan Opera in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow as Valencienne alongside opera's most loved Soprano Renee Fleming.[26]

Following her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, O'Hara returned to Lincoln Center Theatre for the 3rd time to star as Anna Leonowens in the Broadway revival of The King and I starring opposite Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe as The King. The production began previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 12, 2015 and opened on April 15, 2015. [27]

Ever since being nominated for The Light in the Piazza, O'Hara has been nominated for a Tony Award for every subsequent role she has played on Broadway.[28]

Stage roles[edit]

O'Hara at a NYS ARTS Fall Gala in 2008
Broadway
Off-Broadway and regional theatre
National tours
  • Jekyll & Hyde (1999-2000) as Ensemble / Emma (u/s), and later as Emma (replacement)
Operatic Repertoire

Discography[edit]

Cast recordings

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2005 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical The Light in the Piazza Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2006 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical The Pajama Game Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
2008 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical South Pacific Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
2012 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Nice Work If You Can Get It Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
2014 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical The Bridges of Madison County Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
2015 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical[30] The King and I Pending
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kelly, Mary Pat."Broadway's Irish Colleen"Irish America magazine, Oct/Nov 2008 issue
  2. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Tony Nominee O'Hara and Naughton Welcome a Son," playbill.com, June 29, 2009
  3. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Kelli O'Hara and Greg Naughton Welcome Baby Girl" playbill.com, September 16, 2013
  4. ^ Playbill News: "Just the Facts: List of 2006 Tony Award Winners and Nominees" playbill.com, June 11, 2006
  5. ^ 2007-2008 "Tony Nominations Announced; 'In the Heights' Earns 13 Noms", Playbill, May 13, 2008
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Hetrick, Adam. 2012 "Tony Awards Nominations Announced; Once Earns 11 Nominations"
  7. ^ [1] broadway.com
  8. ^ " 'Follies' 2001 Broadway Revival" sondheimguide.com, accessed May 22, 2014
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Simonson, Robert. "'Sweet Smell of Success' Ends Broadway Run June 15" playbill.com, June 15, 2002
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth. " 'My Life With Albertine', the Musical That Would Make Proust Sing, Opens March 13" playbill.com, March 13, 2003
  11. ^ Stevens, Beth.Kelli O'Hara" broadway.com, September 28, 2004
  12. ^ Simonson, Robert."Guettel-Lucas Musical The Light in the Piazza Opens on Broadway April 18" playbill.com, April 18, 2005
  13. ^ Gans, Andrew. "DIVA TALK: A Chat with Piazza's Kelli O'Hara Plus News of Menzel, Haran and Lansbury" playbill.com, August 26, 2005
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth."'Doubt' Is Best Play, 'Spamalot' Best Musical; Butz, Irwin, Clark, Jones, Nichols Win 2005 Tonys" playbill.com, June 5, 2005
  15. ^ "Theater Review. 'The Pajama Game' " The New York Times, February 24, 2006
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Hello, George! 'Sunday in the Park' — with Felciano and O'Hara — Begins Reprise! Run Jan. 30" playbill.com, January 30, 2007
  17. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Kelli O'Hara Returns to South Pacific for Musical's Final Weeks Aug. 10" playbill.com, August 10, 2010
  18. ^ Ku, Andrew."Just the Facts: List of 2008 Tony Award Winners and Nominees" playbill.com, June 16, 2008
  19. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Expectant O'Hara to Depart South Pacific March 8 paybill.com, February 2, 2009
  20. ^ Glikas, Bruce. "Welcome Back, Kelli! Broadway Sweetheart O'Hara Returns to 'South Pacific' " broadway.com, October 15, 2009
  21. ^ Kenrick, John. " 'Bells Are Ringing' Review, November 2010" musicals101.com, accessed May 23, 2014
  22. ^ Jones, Kenneth. " 'She Loves Me', a '90s Hit for Roundabout, Gets Benefit Concert Dec. 5; Kelli O'Hara and Josh Radnor Star" playbill.com, December 5, 2011
  23. ^ Bowgen, Philippe. "In Moving Final-Performance Speech, Kelli O'Hara Assures Bridges Is 'By No Means Going Into The Ground'" playbill.com, May 19, 2014
  24. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. 'The Bridges Of Madison County'" curtainup.com, accessed May 23, 2014
  25. ^ Snetiker, Marc Broadway star Kelli O'Hara joins 'Peter Pan Live' as Mrs. Darling ew.com, September 9, 2014
  26. ^ The Met Opera http://www.metopera.org/opera/the-merry-widow-lehar-tickets
  27. ^ "Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More Set for Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I". BackstagePasswithLiaChang.com. November 17, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Kelli O'Hara Broadway" playbillvault.com, accessed May 7, 2015
  29. ^ Hetrick, Adam."'Far From Heaven', With Kelli O'Hara, Tests Its Wings in Williamstown Starting July 19" playbill.com, July 19, 2012
  30. ^ "AN AMERICAN IN PARIS AND FUN HOME Lead 2015 Tony Award Nominations with 12 each; Ken Watanabe, Ruthie Ann Miles, Kelli O’Hara, Chita Rivera, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth, Bill Nighy, Helen Mirren, Elisabeth Moss, Carey Mulligan, Ruth Wilson, K. Todd Freeman, Patricia Clarkson Among the Nominees". BackstagePasswithLiaChang.com. April 28, 2015. 

External links[edit]