One of Broadway’s great leading ladies, Tony award-winner Kelli O’Hara has had a dazzling career on the stage and screen, appearing in some of America’s most revered musicals and plays. She made her Broadway debut in 2000 in a revival of Jekyll & Hyde. Her first of six Tony nominations was for her appearance in The Light in the Piazza, which premiered on Broadway in 2005. She also received wide praise – and the subsequent Tony nods – for her performances in South Pacific, The Pajama Game, The Bridges of Madison County, and Nice Work if You Can Get It. In 2015, O’Hara won her first Tony – Best Leading Actress in a Musical – for her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of The King and I.
Born and raised in western Oklahoma, O’Hara moved to New York City in the 1990s to enroll in the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute after receiving a degree in opera from Oklahoma City University and winning the State Metropolitan Opera Competition.
O’Hara’s maternal great-grandfather arrived in Oklahoma from Ireland at the time of the Land Rush in 1889, during which 50,000 eager settlers vied for a portion of 2 million acres of territory. Her father’s ancestors immigrated to the United States from County Clare in the mid-19th century, making homes in Iowa, Colorado, and Missouri. Though O’Hara’s great-great-grandfather prospered as a farmer, he returned to Ireland soon after. However, his stay was only temporary: for an unknown reason, he was forced out of Ireland and returned to America with his family in tow. His descendants made their way to Oklahoma in 1909 and in 1921, O’Hara’s grandfather purchased a farm in Elk City, where to date six generations of her family have lived and thrived.
In addition to the broadway stage, O’Hara has also appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, including Sex and the City 2 and NBC’s Blue Bloods, as well as performing with numerous orchestras across the country. She released two solo albums and sold out her solo shows at both Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. She lives in New York City with her husband, actor and singer-songwriter Greg Naughton, and their two children, Owen and Charlotte.
Click here to read O’Hara’s April / May 2018 Hall of Fame profile.