Broadway is awesome. Why? Because the people who make Broadway happen are awesome. Here at BroadwaySpotted.com I like to take time to shine a spotlight on every aspect of it. Sometimes that means an video with an understudy, an interview with a casting director, or in this case a little profile on why I love someone who helps make Broadway what it is. They come off the top of my head at the most random times. If you see someone scribbling in a notebook on the subway, it could just be me. Who do YOU think is awesome?
Every since Merrily We Roll Along hit Encores everyone seems to be on a Celia Keenan-Bolger kick. I am no different. Except that I got on this kick the first time I saw Spelling Bee in 2006 and I haven’t gotten off. I remember sitting on the “bleachers” (that’s what the lotto seats at Circle in the Square were back then) absolutely mesmerized by her commitment to the character of Olive. There was no question in my mind, this actress, whom I knew nothing about previously, WAS Olive. She wasn’t some girl playing her, she embodied her completely.
Well, naturally, when the show got out I immediately went home and searched for more. I had to see what else she’d done. What I found was a video of Celia playing Clara in the 2003 pre-Broadway run of Light in the Piazza in Seattle. I was on cloud nine! I love Light in the Piazza and she had such an interesting take on Clara (as she does with all her characters). I obviously would’ve loved to see that live, but YouTube would have to do for the time being. Instead, I returned to see her in Spelling Bee at least a dozen more times until she left.
I was hooked. How could you not be? When Celia acts she is all consumed by the character. There appears to be none of her left. Each role I have seen her take on is so wildly different! Here is one actress who can successfully portray a pre-teen girl all the way through a woman in her mid-forties. That is quite a range. Very few performers can pull that off. In fact, the only one that is coming to mind for me is LaChanze when she played Celia in The Color Purple and even that wasn’t pre-teen.
The thing is, it doesn’t seem to phase Celia in the slightest! She dives head first into her characters and doesn’t resurface until the play or musical has ended.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…I love Celia Keenan-Bolger.
I will see her in absolutely anything, because I have the utmost faith in her ability to make wise choices as a performer (hello, look at her career!).
In short, she is awesome. Make sure you see her in Peter and the Starcatcher!