By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
This weeks installment of Emertainment Monthly’s Broadway Backstory sheds some light on the incredibly talented Laura Michelle Kelly. Her angelic voice and star quality has made her an up and coming Broadway star. She has ascended to royalty on the West End and now she is making her mark on Broadway this season in Finding Neverland.
Laura Michelle Kelly grew up on a farm in the Isle of Wight with her family. She always knew she wanted to be an actress and made every possible stride to become a musical theatre star. At 17, she made her West End debut in Beauty and the Beast. From there her career was only headed upward. She starred in several West End productions including Mamma Mia!, My Fair Lady, Les Miserables and Whistle Down The Wind. Kelly made her Broadway debut in 2004 in Fiddler on the Roof. All of these credits helped exponentially build her resume and helped train her for her big break in 2004.
Mary Poppins debuted in 2004 at the Bristol Hippodrome in London before making the big move to the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre. Kelly made her mark in the titular role and this would be the role that fans would remember her best for. Her angelic soprano voice brought the character to life and it was hard to separate Kelly from Mary Poppins. She lived and breathed this character night after night. She became the magical nanny that stole audiences hearts. Kelly’s work on the famous number “Jolly Holiday” made audiences grin ear to ear as she perfectly encapsulated the magic, mystery and motherly qualities of Mary Poppins. The only word to describe her turn in Mary Poppins is magical. Kelly took home the 2005 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical, an award that was very well-deserved. She would part the show in late 2005 after more than 400 performances, however Kelly couldn’t part with Mary Poppins that easily.
In 2009, Kelly would put on the bowl hat, grab the magical carpet bag and rock the parrot umbrella once again but this time in the Broadway version of Mary Poppins. She graced the Broadway stage once again to give audiences something they would be talking about for years. It’s hard to separate Kelly from Mary Poppins but with that only being the beginning of her career, fans have been anxiously awaiting another role that would showcase her incredible talent.
Laura Michelle Kelly has also done other work outside of major roles on the West End and Broadway. She released a debut album entitled The Storm Inside in 2006 that featured her debut single “There Was a Time.” In 2007 she starred opposite Johnny Depp in the film adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. She also appeared in the Kennedy Center’s production of Camelot in Concert alongside Brian Stokes Mitchell and Tony Sheldon.
A magical world where children rule and let their imaginations soar seems to be the perfect place for Kelly. In July 2014, Laura Michelle Kelly originated the role of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the world premiere of the new musical, Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. She starred opposite Broadway-veteran and Tony Award nominee, Jeremy Jordan as J.M Barrie. Her magical, angelic voice lent itself perfectly to the role of Sylvia, a single mother who wants to show her boys the importance of dreaming and having fun. Her chemistry with Jordan was exceptional as they created something only seen in fairy tales.
Kelly’s hard work in originating the role of Sylvia paid off when Finding Neverland migrated to Broadway in 2015. She is currently reprising her role at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in NYC alongside Matthew Morrison (Glee) as J.M Barrie and Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) as Charles Frohmam/Captain James Hook. Her work with this new musical continues to be breathtaking and earth-defying. Kelly is also giving fans a peek behind the scene in her Broadway.com vlog “Never Grow Up.”
Laura Michelle Kelly continues to astound audiences with her amazing vocals and her sweet demeanor. She is taking Broadway by storm this season and Emertainment Monthly is excited to be on her journey to full-blown Broadway stardom.