Todd McKenney

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This article is about Australian entertainer. For the Judge from Ohio, see Todd McKenney (Ohio politician).
McKenney on 24 March 2013

Todd McKenney (born 31 May 1965) is an Australian entertainer. He is best known for portraying Peter Allen in the musical The Boy from Oz and as a judge on Australian television show Dancing with the Stars.

Early Life[edit]

McKenney grew up in Perth, where his father was a jail warden and his mother a dance teacher. They separated when he was 9.[1]He began his entertainment career on a children's television show as Percy Penguin.[1]

McKenney trained in jazz, tap, acrobatics and ballroom dancing. He represented Australia in ballroom and Latin American dancing, and won many international awards.[2]


McKenney has performed on stage since at least 1984 in productions including 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance, La Cage aux Folles, Singin' in the Rain, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert - the Musical.[3] In 1992, he played the role of ballroom dancer Nathan Starkey in Baz Luhrmann's film Strictly Ballroom, alongside his future Dancing with the Stars co-star Sonia Kruger, as well as Paul Mercurio.[4]

McKenney rose to fame in 1998 when he took the lead role of Peter Allen in the Australian production of The Boy from Oz.[1] He performed the role 766 times between 1998 and 2000, however when the production went to Broadway in 2003, Hugh Jackman landed the role over McKenney.[1]

Outside musical theatre, McKenney is best known as the "nasty judge" on Australia's version of Dancing with the Stars.[3] He has appeared on all thirteen seasons of the show since 2004.[5]

McKenney took on his first non-musical play in 2006, starring as Michael Minetti in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks with Nancye Hayes.[6]

In 2006, McKenney hosted the television game show You May Be Right, which was cancelled after a month on air.[7] He hosted the breakfast program on Sydney radio station Mix 106.5 with Dancing with the Stars co-host Sonia Kruger, as well as Andy Grace, from January 2008 until September 2009.

On 19 May, 2010 and on 27 December, 2010, McKenney guest co-hosted The Morning Show alongside Kylie Gillies, while regular male presenter Larry Emdur was on holidays.

In 2011 McKenney portrayed Lord Evelyn Oakley in a limited showing of Anything Goes in Melbourne, alongside Amanda Harrison.[8] In 2012, he played the role of Rooster in the hit musical Annie alongside Anthony Warlow, Nancye Hayes and Alan Jones.[9]

McKenney plays Teen Angel in the 2013-2014 Australian National Touring Company production of the hit musical Grease, starring alongside Bert Newton, John Paul Young, Rob Mills, and Gretel Scarlett. Although he is on stage for less than four minutes,[3] critics have said he "steals the show."[10][11]

Personal Life[edit]

McKenney is openly gay.[12] He has a daughter (who was conceived via IVF), Charlotte Wood, who lives in Melbourne with her mother, Anne Wood.[2]

In 2008, McKenney was found unconscious in a Sydney park and arrested for alleged possession of GBH. The charges were later dropped.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gill, Raymond (May 19, 2012). "Lunch with Todd McKenney". The Age. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Broun, Shirley (October 16, 2013). "Todd McKenney - the new Teen Angel". On With The Show. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Blake, Elissa (October 13, 2013). "At home with Todd McKenney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ Butler, Joshua (March 24, 2014). "Albion Park dancer gets to team up with Baz". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  5. ^ Symonds, Kirsty (August 24, 2012). "Dancing with the Stars judge Todd McKenney returns to Perth for 'Annie'". Perth Now. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ Hallett, Bruce (February 13, 2006). "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ Knox, David (March 20, 2009). "Panel Beaters". Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ Herbert, Kate (July 22, 2011). "Review:Anything Goes". Herald Sun. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ Roach, Vicky (June 27, 2011). "Todd McKenney, Alan Jones, Anthony Warlow star in new production of Annie the musical". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ Bailey, John (December 6, 2013). "Todd McKenney steals limelight as teen angel". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ Godfrey, Bruce (August 13, 2014). "Theatre Review: Grease". Glam Adelaide. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ O'Neill, Marnie; Moran, Jonathon; Reines, Ros (27 April 2008). "Todd McKenney collapses in park after party". The Sunday Mail (Qld). Retrieved 2008-09-04. 

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