Q&A: Kelli O’Hara, Broadway star

Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara, hailed as the undisputed queen of Broadway musicals, will sing classics from “The King and I,” “Carousel” and “South Pacific” while performing at the Barclay Theatre on Sept. 29.

How did you start singing?

When I was in fourth grade, I signed up for a talent show at school, but I had no idea what to do. It was between dancing and singing, and I had little to no experience with either. I ended up singing Dionne Warwick’s ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’ and the rest is history.

How do you connect with the audience?

The truth about performing is that we can never control the connection. Human nature promises that some will connect and some just won’t. So all I can do is be honest and tell the truth. Manipulation is the only certain failure, ultimately.

Among your many accomplishments, what are you proudest of?

Being a mother and honestly loving my children. Winning a Tony (as Best Actress in a Musical for her 2015 performance in ‘The King and I’) was nice, too.

Any advice for young singers and performers out there?

You do you. To quote Oscar Wilde, ‘Everyone else is already taken.’

What can we expect to hear at the Barclay performance?

Personal stories and songs that have accompanied my journey to now, through Broadway, marriage and motherhood, not to mention great accompaniment by pianist Dan Lipton.


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