Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Photo Credit: Paul Smith

10 Facts about 2018 Pioneer Day Guest Laura Michelle Kelly

This year’s Pioneer Day concert is going to be a blast! Laura Michelle Kelly, along with Matthew Morrison and Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III, grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II, will join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for two nights of pure magic. The concerts will also serve as a reunion, as Kelly and Morrison previously starred together in Broadway’s Finding Neverland.

The Pioneer Day concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, at 8:00 p.m. in the Conference Center and will be conducted by music director Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, associate music director.

Check out these 10 fun facts about Laura Michelle Kelly:

1. She Grew Up on a Farm in England

Kelly grew up on a dairy farm in the Isle of Wight off the coast of England. She had a CD player, her source of music growing up, but her passion for musicals came from her grandmother’s CD collection. “My grandmother had this 100-CD set of all the musicals ever made. I was obsessed. I would go to her house and listen to them on her carpet. Just me.”

2. The Musical Cats Had a Big Impact on Her Early in Life

In an interview with SBE, Kelly talked about the impression the musical Cats had on her young mind. “Cats was the first show I ever saw. I remember just being enthralled and involved with the story so much I wanted to get up on stage amongst the huge pieces of garbage that made up the set.” In a separate interview she added, “It took my breath away. My grandma took me. I had the songs engraved on my brain the rest of that week and danced around to the songs in my head.” What an amazing grandmother!

3. She Performed a Song from Mary Poppins for President Barrack Obama

In 2010, Kelly and the cast from Mary Poppins performed “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” for an ABC special, “America Celebrates July 4th at Ford’s Theatre.” President Obama and his wife, Michelle, can be spotted at the end of the video (2:40 mark).

4. She Made Her Broadway Debut in Fiddler on the Roof

After getting positive reviews for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in a London production of My Fair Lady, Kelly was flown to New York to audition for the role of Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. Within two days of auditioning, she was offered the job, and the rest is history. In an interview with Playbill, Kelly recalled, “When they offered me Fiddler on the Roof, I didn't even have to think about it. I was like, ‘Yes, please!’”

5. Her Brother Inspired Her to Perform for a Living

The first show she attended on London’s West End was Oliver!, where her brother was cast in the title role. “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.”

6. She Wore a 45-Pound Dress in a Production of The King and I

Although she was never a huge fan of touring, in 2016, Kelly joined the national tour of The King and I because of her love for the show. She must have really, really loved it, because the role required her to wear a 45-pound dress. “It takes four people to put it on, three people now. The costumes we’re all wearing are exquisite, this being one of them. And yes, it’s 45 pounds, but it looks beautiful and it moves so well. It’s so pretty to watch,” admitted Kelly.

7. Julie Andrews Made Her More Nervous Than the Queen

Kelly has been a huge fan of Julie Andrews since childhood and humorously explained, “Doing the show in front of Julie Andrews was the most nerve-wracking experience! I grew up watching her in The Sound of Music movie every day as a child. When I met her, I was definitely more nervous than when I first met the Queen. I normally don’t get nervous. It takes a lot to scare me.”

8. She Is Also a Recording Artist

In 2006, Kelly released an album titled The Storm Inside, which included six original songs and six covers. She released the single “There Was a Time,” which was Record of the Week on BBC Radio 2.

9. She’s Had Success in Musicals on Both Sides of the Atlantic

Kelly has enjoyed a very successful career starring in musicals in London’s West End and New York’s Broadway. Here are some of the roles she has performed:

Broadway Credits
Fiddler on the Roof
The 24th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition
Mary Poppins
Finding Neverland

West End Credits
Beauty and the Beast
Whistle Down the Wind
Speed the Plow
Les Misérables
Peter Pan
Mamma Mia!
My Fair Lady
Lord of the Rings: The Musical

10. Her Dream Duet Partner Is….

During her run in Finding Neverland, Kelly was asked in an interview about her dream duet partner, responding, “I would really like to sing with Josh Groban one day… I just love his voice so much! I don't really have a dream partner—I think it’s a dream to sing with anyone who is kind and talented! Like for instance, Matthew Morrison. How lucky am I that I get to work with him every day right now!?” It will be great to see them on stage once again at the 2018 Pioneer Day concert.