When one of Broadway's hottest stars got booked for a benefit concert at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, we were curious: What is four-time Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara's connection to Vermont?
Turns out it's one of those six-degrees-of-separation stories. Flynn executive director John Killacky explains.
O'Hara is married to actor/singer Greg Naughton.
Naughton, a Middlebury College grad, is in a band called the Sweet Remains.
Also in that band is Rich Price, a brand-new Flynn board member.
Price gave O'Hara's agent's info to Killacky. Et voilà!
Actually, that wasn't even six degrees. But there's a bit of a backstory for how this serendipitous connection came up in the first place.
"I was having lunch with Rich and told him we were talking with Harry Connick Jr. about coming to the Flynn — he's on tour this summer," Killacky says. "And Rich said, 'I sang with Harry at Kelli O'Hara and Greg Naughton's wedding.'"
That wedding, in 2007, was in Brandon, Vt. Actually, up the mountain in Goshen. Connick, who had starred with O'Hara in The Pajama Game, serenaded the couple with an original song written for them, according to an article in the New York Times. The reception was at the nearby Blueberry Hill Inn, replete with a bear sighting.
As these things go sometimes, the Connick concert failed to materialize for the Flynn. But Price suggested Killacky get in touch with O'Hara for the upcoming benefit, and fortuitously she was available.
The gala on August 9 is actually a joint effort of and mutual benefit for the Flynn Center and Lyric Theatre Company — this is the latter's 40th anniversary year and its board is launching a capital campaign for a new warehouse. Lyric's fall production, November 14-17, is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Not surprisingly, Lyric executive director Syndi Zook was "thrilled," Killacky says, to learn a Broadway star would be performing for the benefit. After all, Lyric is Burlington's premier producer of musical theater, and the largest community-theater group in New England. And no doubt plenty of fans will be tempted to sing along when O'Hara belts out familiar tunes from Carousel, Show Boat, West Side Story and other classic shows.
The Flynn and Lyric both run summer music-theater programs, and their respective "Kids" will open the concert for O'Hara.
Tickets go on sale to Flynn and Lyric members today, June 18, and to the general public on Monday, June 24, at flynntix.org
Photo of Kelli O'Hara courtesy of the Flynn Center.