Olivier Award nominee Caroline O'Connor stars as teacher Miss Shields in A Christmas Story, The Musical, which returns to New York Dec. 11-29 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. She fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Recent credits include Gypsy (Rose), Follies (Phyllis), Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett), Assassins (Sarah Jane Moore) and Chicago (Velma). She has appeared in London's West End in Mack and Mabel (Mabel) (Olivier nomination), On The Town (Hildy), Street Scene, Matador, The Rink, Cabaret, Me and My Girl, Show Boat (RSC), Damn Yankees, Baby, Into the Woods and A Chorus Line.
Full given name:
Caroline Ann O’Connor
Where you were born/where you were raised:
I was born in Oldham, Lancashire in the UK,
but I was raised from the age of four in Australia. Firstly Adelaide, then Sydney.
What your parents did/do for a living:
Both my mother and father worked for Qantas Airlines for many years. Dad was in cargo and my mum was in the staff canteen. This allowed us to travel extensively.
One sister Terry, ten years older, and two brothers, Vincent and Kenneth, eight and nine years older. I was an accident.
Current Audition Song:
No particular song currently, but when I was young I always sang "Looking Through the Eyes of Love" from the movie "Ice Castles." Surprisingly, it got me a lot of work! I have some great monologues from a one-woman play that was written for me called "Bombshells."
I can sing in French. I can make a chicken out of a towel. That’s about it.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
Anything to do with computers. If I am not onstage, I have absolutely no sense of direction.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out?
My dancing teachers Joy and Dawn Ransley were truly wonderful. We are still close. They taught me all the genres: classical ballet, tap, jazz and Irish dancing. They prepared me well for any opportunity that might come along.
First Broadway/West End show you ever saw:
Damn Yankees in New York and Oklahoma! in London. When Oklahoma! moved to Australia, I was in that production. My first musical!
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
The original cast of Dreamgirls and Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
Not possible to answer.
Some favorite modern musicals:
A Chorus Line, Chicago
Some favorite classic musicals:
West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Follies, Mack & Mabel
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, Sammy Davis Jr… (why do you make me choose?)
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead:
Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Nat King Cole……(why, why?)
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Liza Minnelli at the London Palladium. She was incredible.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Erik Satie’s "Gymnopedie No 1" and "Romeo and Juliet" by Prokofiev
MAC or PC?
Most played song on your iPod:
"All or Nothing at All" by Kurt Elling. I adore his voice.
Google. Playbill. carolineoconnor.com (hint hint)
Last book you read:
"Nutrition for Dummies." "Fifty Sheds of Grey" (Yes I said "Sheds")
All The Way
Bullets Over Broadway
Of Mice and Men
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Realistic Joneses
The Velocity of Autumn
Tony n' Tina's Wedding