Kelli O'Hara

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This article is about the actress and singer. For the soccer player, see Kelley O'Hara.
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 40)
Elk City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 2001–present

Kelli Christine O'Hara (born April 16, 1976)[1] is an American actress and singer. She has appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway in many musicals since making her Broadway debut as a replacement in Jekyll & Hyde in 2000. A six-time Tony Award nominee, her first nomination was for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the 2005 production of The Light in the Piazza. Her subsequent nominations were for The Pajama Game (2006), South Pacific (2008), Nice Work If You Can Get It (2012) and The Bridges of Madison County (2014),[2] before winning the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for the 2015 revival of The King and I.

Personal life[edit]

O'Hara grew up in Oklahoma in an Irish American family.[3] She graduated from Deer Creek High School and also attended Oklahoma City University, graduating with a bachelor's 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.[4] The couple had a daughter, Charlotte, on September 16, 2013.[5]

Career[edit]

O'Hara played the role of Young Hattie in the 2001 Broadway revival of Follies, and then played the role of Young Phyllis.[6] She next appeared in the 2002 Broadway production of Sweet Smell of Success as Susan.[7] In 2003 she played Albertine in the Off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons production of the musical My Life With Albertine,[8] and, in 2004, Lucy Westenra in the Broadway production of the musical Dracula.[9]

She starred as Clara in the 2005 Broadway production of The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre.[10] She had appeared a workshop of the musical at the Theatre Lab at Sundance, and in tryouts in Seattle and Chicago, as the character of Franca.[11] She received a 2005 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.[12] O'Hara has been nominated for, or won, a Tony Award for every subsequent role she has played on Broadway.[13] In her next Broadway musical, she played Babe in the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game, for which she was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. For this performance, New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley wrote that O'Hara "rockets past the promising ingénue status she attained with Light in the Piazza".[14]

In 2007, O'Hara played the role of Dot/Marie in the L.A. Reprise! concert staging of Sunday in the Park with George[15] and Eliza Doolittle in the New York Philharmonic's semi-staged production of My Fair Lady at Avery Fisher Hall.[16] She was the voice of producer Beth Totenbag on PBS's 2008 animated series Click and Clack's As the Wrench Turns.[citation needed] From 2008 to 2010, O'Hara starred as Nellie Forbush in the Broadway revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater,[17] for which she was nominated for her third Tony Award.[18] O'Hara took maternity leave in March 2009 and returned to the musical in October 2009.[19][20] O'Hara played the role of Ella Peterson in the 2010 New York City Center Encores! semi-staged concert presentation of Bells Are Ringing.[21]

In 2010 she played the role of Ellen in the film Sex and the City 2, and in 2011 she appeared in "Mercy", the first episode of the second season of the CBS show Blue Bloods.[22][23] Also in 2011, she participated in 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 as Georg. The production was directed by Scott Ellis, the musical director was Paul Gemignani, and the cast included Jane Krakowski as Miss Ritter, Cheyenne Jackson as Steven Kodaly, Michael McGrath as Sipos, Rory O'Malley as Arpad, and Victor Garber as Mr. Maraczek.[24] She had performed one of the most famous songs from the show, "Will He Like Me?", the previous evening at Kennedy Center in honor of Barbara Cook, who was being honored at the annual Kennedy Center Honors.[25]

She starred on Broadway as Billie Bendix in Nice Work if You Can Get It from April 2012 to March 2013 and received her fourth Tony Award nomination.[26] In 2012, at the New Year's Eve concert, "Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch", at Lincoln Center, she sang "At the Ballet", from A Chorus Line, along with Audra McDonald and Megan Hilty.[27] In 2013, she played the main character of Julie in the staged concert of Carousel, presented by the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.[28] From January to May 2014, she starred as Francesca Johnson in the Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County, for which she received her fifth Tony Award nomination.[29] Elyse Sommer, the CurtainUp.com reviewer, noted O'Hara's "superb vocal chops" and her "exquisite" duets with co-star Steven Pasquale.[30] She played Mrs. Darling in the 2014 NBC telecast Peter Pan Live!.[31] On December 31, 2014, O'Hara made her operatic debut at The Metropolitan Opera as Valencienne in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow, alongside soprano Renee Fleming.[32]

She next returned to Lincoln Center Theatre to star as Anna in the Broadway revival of The King and I opposite Ken Watanabe as The King. The production began previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in March 2015 and opened in April 2015. This role won O'Hara her first Tony Award. O'Hara's final performance as Anna was on April 17, 2016.[33] O'Hara made her solo debut concert at Carnegie Hall in October 2016[34] and guest-starred as the recurring character Dody on the fourth season of Masters of Sex.[35]

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
Soundtracks

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 The King and I Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. "Playbill.com's Cue & A: Kelli O'Hara", Playbill, June 10, 2008, accessed July 13, 2016
  2. ^ "Kelli O'Hara wins best actress Tony on her sixth attempt". ABC News. 7 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Kelly, Mary Pat."Broadway's Irish Colleen"Irish America magazine, Oct/Nov 2008 issue
  4. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Tony Nominee O'Hara and Naughton Welcome a Son," playbill.com, June 29, 2009
  5. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Kelli O'Hara and Greg Naughton Welcome Baby Girl" playbill.com, September 16, 2013
  6. ^ "Follies 2001 Broadway Revival", sondheimguide.com, accessed May 22, 2014
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Simonson, Robert. "Sweet Smell of Success Ends Broadway Run June 15", playbill.com, June 15, 2002
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "My Life With Albertine, the Musical That Would Make Proust Sing, Opens March 13", playbill.com, March 13, 2003
  9. ^ Stevens, Beth.Kelli O'Hara", broadway.com, September 28, 2004
  10. ^ Simonson, Robert."Guettel-Lucas Musical The Light in the Piazza Opens on Broadway April 18", playbill.com, April 18, 2005
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Diva Talk: A Chat with Piazza's Kelli O'Hara Plus News of Menzel, Haran and Lansbury", playbill.com, August 26, 2005
  12. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Doubt Is Best Play, Spamalot Best Musical; Butz, Irwin, Clark, Jones, Nichols Win 2005 Tonys", playbill.com, June 5, 2005
  13. ^ "Kelli O'Hara Broadway", playbillvault.com, accessed May 7, 2015
  14. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. The Pajama Game", The New York Times, February 24, 2006
  15. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Hello, George! Sunday in the Park – with Felciano and O'Hara – Begins Reprise! Run Jan. 30", playbill.com, January 30, 2007
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Philharmonic's My Fair Lady Dances Into Avery Fisher Hall March 7", Playbill, March 7, 2007, retrieved December 31, 2016
  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", playbill.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. ^ "Blue Bloods: 'Mercy'", cbspressexpress.com, retrieved December 31, 2016
  23. ^ Blake, Leslie. "Review. Sex and the City 2", theatermania.com, May 26, 2010, retrieved December 31, 2016
  24. ^ 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
  25. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Updated: Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Rebecca Luker, Kelli O'Hara, Sutton Foster Paid Tribute to Barbara Cook at Kennedy Center Honors", playbill.com, December 5, 2011
  26. ^ "Kelli O'Hara Broadway Credits and Awards", Playbill, retrieved December 31, 2016
  27. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch Concert, with Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara, Raúl Esparza, Josh Groban, Will Be Televised", Playbill.com, November 5, 2012
  28. ^ Suskin, Steven. "A Memorable Carousel, Starring Kelli O'Hara and Nathan Gunn", Playbill, March 1, 2013, retrieved December 31, 2016
  29. ^ 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
  30. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. The Bridges of Madison County", curtainup.com, accessed May 23, 2014
  31. ^ Snetiker, Marc. Broadway star Kelli O'Hara joins Peter Pan Live as Mrs. Darling, ew.com, September 9, 2014
  32. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Kelli O'Hara, Renée Fleming and Nathan Gunn Star in The Merry Widow; Susan Stroman Directs", Playbill, December 31, 2014, retrieved December 31, 2016
  33. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Exclusive: Marin Mazzie Will Succeed Kelli O'Hara in Broadway's King and I", playbill.com, February 16, 2016
  34. ^ Dziemianowcz, Joe. "Broadway star Kelli O'Hara shares Carnegie Hall solo debut with Barbara Cook, Kristin Chenoweth and, briefly, Hillary Clinton", New York Daily News, October 31, 2016
  35. ^ Sharma, Nemisha. "Masters Of Sex Season 4 Spoilers: Showtime Show Adds Kelli O'Hara As Bill Masters' Ex-Lover", Design & Trend, August 5, 2016
  36. ^ Hetrick, Adam."'Far From Heaven', With Kelli O'Hara, Tests Its Wings in Williamstown Starting July 19" playbill.com, July 19, 2012

External links[edit]