Broadway's Leading Ladies: Laura Michelle Kelly

Kelly Ostazeski

Career highlights:

 Laura Michelle Kelly was born on March 4, 1981 and was raised on a farm on the Isle of Wight, England. She took voice lessons as a child and participated in local productions before making her West End debut at the age of 16 in Beauty and the Beast as the understudy for Belle. Her other West End credits include Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind as Swallow, Mamma Mia! as Sophie, Les Misérables as Eponine, and My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle.

 In 2004 she made her Broadway debut as Hodel in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof with Alfred Molina. She is featured on the cast recording. She left the production because she was cast as the title role in the West End premiere of Mary Poppins. Her performance earned her the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

 She next appeared in A Twist of Fate in Singapore, and returned to the West End to play the role of Galadriel in the musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. At this time, she was also cast as the Beggar Woman in Tim Burton’s film version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – yes, the film version starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. She also played a dual role in a television film Miss Marple: Nemesis. Laura then starred with Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Spacey in Speed-the-Plow at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

 In 2009 she returned to Broadway and to the role of Mary Poppins, starring alongside Christian Borle as Bert, and her original London Bert, Gavin Lee until 2011.  She took a brief hiatus from the Broadway production to film a movie in Australia called Goddess.

 At the Muny, she played the roles of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Anna Leonowens in The King and I. Laura performed in the Kennedy Center Gala performances of My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle and Camelot as Guinevere.

 In 2014 she returned to Broadway in the musical Finding Neverland as the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and stayed with the production until its closing in 2016.

 She was cast as Anna Leonowens in the national tour of the Lincoln Center production of The King and I. After leaving the tour in early 2018, she starred alongside her former Bert, Christian Borle in the Encores! production of Me and My Girl. In the summer of 2018 she also performed in the new musical The Royal Family of Broadway at the Berkshires. On February 24, 2019, she will return to London and perform a solo concert at Cadogan Hall.

 Fun facts:

•         Laura has four brothers

•         She released her debut album in 2006, called The Storm Inside, and later, an alternate version with bonus tracks called What’s It All For? Laura wrote three of the songs on the album herself: “There Was a Time”, “Butterflies” (about her late mother), and “The Storm Inside

•         Laura and Gavin Lee performed “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” in the television special America Celebrates July 4th in 2010 in front of President Obama.

•         Laura has a dog named Couver

•         She has performed in two solo concerts at 54Below, once in 2016 and once in 2017.

 Social media:

Twitter: @lauramkelly
Instagram: @lauramichellekelly

 Songs to listen to:

“All That Matters” – Finding Neverland: Original Broadway Cast Recording
“Lothlórien” – The Lord of the Rings Musical: Original London Cast Recording

“Wonder” – The Lord of the Rings Musical: Original London Cast Recording

“Feed the Birds” – Mary Poppins: Original London Cast Recording

“The Storm Inside” – Laura’s debut album The Storm Inside