PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Broadway's Mary Poppins, Laura Michelle Kelly

Cue and A   PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Broadway's Mary Poppins, Laura Michelle Kelly
Olivier Award winner Laura Michelle Kelly, currently playing the title role in Broadway's Mary Poppins, fills out's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Laura Michelle Kelly
Laura Michelle Kelly

Kelly's West End theatre credits include Beauty and the Beast, Swallow in Whistle Down The Wind, Eponine in Les Misérables, Sophie in Mamma Mia! and Eliza in My Fair Lady.

She performed alongside Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow at London's Old Vic. Kelly originated the role of Mary Poppins in London, a performance for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

Kelly has appeared on Broadway as Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof and graced the silver screen as the Beggar Woman in Tim Burton's film adaptation of Sweeney Todd.

Full given name: Laura Michelle Kelly
Hometown: Isle of Wight, U.K.
Special Skills: I can pee in six seconds and eat my food in record-breaking time... um not both at the same time though.
First West End show ever saw:

The first show I saw live was Cats and it had a profound effect on me. My grandma took me to see a touring production in my hometown of Southampton when I was about 8 years old. I just wanted to get up there with all that oversized rubbish and dance around! I watched the Les Misérables 10th anniversary concert on VHS over and over. I think I was 15.


[My first live "West End" show was] Oliver! at the Palladium. My brother was cast in the title role! My family and I would watch him perform all the time, seated up in the top balcony. He worked for Cameron Mackintosh before I did!

If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be? I'm going to visit the musical archives at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center to see what I've missed. Then I'll know when to set my time machine!
Current show you have been recommending to friends: In the Heights. My friends from the U.K. have all seen it, so it will be one of the first shows I'll try to see when I have a free night.
Favorite show tune: I can't possibly say there is only one all-time favorite but I really like "I Dreamed a Dream." It would be totally awesome to sing it live and not just in my shower.
Some favorite musicals: West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, My Fair Lady
All-time favorite albums (any genre): There are two albums I have not stopped listening to as of late. "Albertine" by Brooke Fraser, and "A Beautiful Exchange" by the Hillsong Live music collective.
Most underrated shows/composers: Every composer is underrated! They are all genius!
Performer you would drop everything to go see:

Brooke Fraser is probably the best female artist around! Her live performances are so awesome because of her absolute coolness. I also wish I could do all the fun stuff that Imogene Heap does when she plays live. I've only seen her on "Letterman" so I guess I would drop everything to see her (well not everything, obviously!)

Oh, and Mumford & Sons. Their lyrics have blasted away my homesick blues many, many times!

The one performance — attended — that you will never forget: During my run in Speed-the-Plow, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Goldblum and I sang together for one of those "Old Vic" theatre galas. It was most definitely a truly once in a lifetime event! I will never forget sitting at the feet of Annie Lennox as she played "Downtown" on the piano that night.
MAC or PC? MAC. I'm an Apple girl all the way! I spend a lot of my time hanging out in their Upper West Side store and I like to think all the staff knows me. Occasionally, I bring them muffins.
Most played song on your iPod: "Something in the Water" by Brooke Fraser. If you want to remain sad, don't listen to it!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: "Discovery" by Electric Light Orchestra. It was my Dad’s LP and I would spend all day listening to it. I never got bored of the song, "The Diary of Horace Wimp." One day, I will track down a vinyl copy in an old LP shop.
Most-visited websites: (Good "follow" advice: Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey are funny dudes!)
Last book you read: "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.
Must-see TV show: At the moment ABC's "Rookie Blue" is what I look forward to on a Thursday night!
Last good movie you saw: "Salt." I totally want to fight like a girl when I watch Angelina kick butt.
Some films you consider classics: "The Goonies" or any James Bond or Indiana Jones movie. But my favorite movie of all time is "Only You" starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: I like Twitter to a fault. So many cool suggestions and inspiring words. I only feel guilty when I am on there for hours and haven't done my "homework" for the day!
Three favorite cities: London, New York and Sydney (namely Bondi Beach in the winter)
First solo in a show: My first line ever sung professionally was "I need six eggs," followed by the magnificent line "what lovely grapes!" when I performed in the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast. I had such a great time being an enchanted dustpan brush! (Thank you, Disney).
Favorite Disney character not from Mary Poppins: Snow White. She had an exceptionally high voice!
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: I quite liked being a Ghost of Christmas Past.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: The first time I saw my brother in Oliver! inspired me to audition for stage work in London. I never really knew I wanted to make a career out of performing professionally; I would just perform for fun. Now I'm totally blown away by the opportunities I’ve had and the fact that after all this time, I still love it so much.
Favorite pre-show meal: Sushi at Haru on West 43rd street... mmm, it's bliss! I might be there right now.
Pre-performance rituals: The imaginary (but nevertheless magical) "coat of joy" goes on every day. And, I put on the imaginary "hat of happiness" to help get through a two-show day!
How you unwind after a performance: I watch movies and /or hang out with friends. On occasion, I go to Five Napkin Burger... I love their light bulbs. I have a thing about interior lighting. I won't go into it here but let’s say lighting sections in department stores are so much fun.
Worst onstage mishap: I stopped a 60-piece orchestra in front of five thousand people because I forgot an entire verse of "If My Friends Could See Me Now." The event was "The Night of 1,000 Voices." I was the one out of the "thousand" who screwed up!
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Oh, that would be far too revealing... I will let you know when I get it!
Leading man role you wish you could play: The Jason Bourne character (except I would be a bit of a clumsier version!)
Theatre star of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Maria Callas
What career you would like to have if not a performer: A director would be fun. I love helping others communicate and reflect the truth of a moment.
Three things you can't live without:

My iPhone which has everything on it (including my music).
A guitar.
My favorite book. My family. I know they aren't "things" but I can't live without them.

"I'll never understand why…" ...humans are so complicated.
Words of advice or wisdom for aspiring performers?

Never listen/ care about / accept what people say if it is not ultimately building you up in love or edifying you.

It's good to seek counsel and advice from teachers; so choose them wisely.

If there is ever negativity or unkind words, let it roll off you like water off a duck's back.

Always be encouraging to others.

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