Kiss Me, Kate's Kelli O'Hara on Her Seventh Tony Nomination, Playing a 'Ballsy' Woman & 39


Tony winner Kelli O'Hara recently earned her seventh Tony nomination for her star turn in Kiss Me, Kate, which is also up for Best Revival of a Musical. "I do have a little corner wall of the Tony nomination certificates, but now it's all uneven," O'Hara joked with Paul Wontorek in a recent interview on Broadway.com's #LiveAtFive. "I didn't know about the Tony Awards growing up," the native Oklahoman said. "The biggest surprise in my life is that the Tonys have become such a big part of my career because I promise to God I would be right here, still doing any show they would let me do, without any award to inspire me. I came here to have that dream, and the dream was not the Tony Award. The dream was the work and the dream continues to be the work. I'm grateful as all get-out, but I will still be here any day you'll let me be."

Along with O'Hara and the show's Best Revival nomination, Kiss Me, Kate was acknowledged for its choreographer Warren Carlyle and orchestrator Larry Hochman. "Hard work is my biggest aphrodisiac." O'Hara said. "Someone who's working a 120% every night, I'm like, 'You are my teammate.' I watch all of 'Too Darn Hot' every night just so I can be filled up with what it means to love theater and to work hard. It is the best group of people, and what they're doing is just extraordinary. I love this cast."

Kiss Me, Kate follows O'Hara's Tony-winning performance in The King and I, marking the first time she has done two Broadway revivals in a row. "It was a hard decision because I thought, 'Should I do another revival?'" O'Hara said. "For me to get to play a ballsy woman and sing really high notes, which I don't ever get to do, that kind of stuff is just so much fun. We don't always get to do everything we want to get to do, we have to fit in certain boxes. This makes me feel like I'm getting to stretch in many different directions."

The revival is set to close its limited run on June 30, and O'Hara already has a jam-packed summer planned. "I have four weeks in Tokyo finishing up my King and I trilogy with Ken Watanabe and perhaps Ruthie [Ann Miles]," she said. "Tokyo was always in the plans. [I'm] coming back afterwards to have a little break, and then I've got a big classical program with the Philharmonic, which I'm already working on."

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