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Tari Kelly, whose Broadway credits include: Groundhog Day (Mrs. Cleveland/Naturopath/Piano Teacher), Something Rotten (Ensemble/Bea cover), Anything Goes (Ensemble/Reno Sweeney cover), Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical (Mama Who), The Boy From Oz (Trio/ Liza Minnelli cover), and Show Boat (Swing/Ellie cover), is now touring America as Countess Lily in Anastasia the Broadway musical.
Lily and Vlad:
As I mentioned in my review this week, Tari and her “comedy partner” Edward Staudenmayer are “a match made in comedic heaven”. And would you believe it but she did not even have to read with Ed (Staudenmayer) or any other cast members when she auditioned in New York? Nor had she ever had the pleasure of working with Ed on stage elsewhere. They had briefly met many years ago in Chicago when he was doing a national tour and she was doing a regional production.
Thankfully they had that rare connection where the camaraderie comes natural and they instantly hit it off. By the time they hit the road with the cast, Ed and Tari were starting to form a beautiful comedy relationship. The connection is so strong that Tari can look at Ed out of the corner of her eye and know where he is going to go and even hear him breathe.
They are each other’s “comedy partner” as they laughingly refer to it.
Working with Darko Tresnjak:
Lily is a brand new character for the musical Anastasia and Tari can’t speak highly enough about her Director Darko Tresnjak who lets Tari create her own interpretation of Lily. He loved what she brought to the role in her audition and encouraged Tari to continue with that rendering.
Physical comedy and dance come naturally to Tari and she loves that she can get down low with the male dancers and show off her dance skills during “Land of Yesterday”. Darko has given Tari the rare freedom to be who she is.
Ed and Tari have also been given the chance to create their own bits as long as they hit their required places. Darko said, “however you get there is up to you.” So when you see the show live you’ll see some adorable moments between “The Countess and the Common Man” such as when Countess Lily drops her fan and bends down just so and all their adorable signals they give each other were choreographed by the duo themselves.
Act One Yoga:
Aside from one brief moment on stage at the beginning, Tari Kelly is off stage for Act One. So how does she fill her time? Yoga! Tari finds it helps keep her moving and is a good warm-up for her vigorous second act performance.
And of course, who can resist scaring their fellow cast members off stage during some downtime? Don’t be surprised if you’re ever backstage at Anastasia if Tari Kelly is hiding and pops out to scare you.
Favorite Part of the Role:
Each actor always brings their own spin to the role which makes live theatre so wonderful. Tari’s favorite part of the role is that Countess Lily is a woman of a certain age who has a man who pays her attention and makes her pulse race.
National Tours: Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Show Boat (Ellie), Beauty and the Beast (Silly Girl).
Selected Regional: End of The Rainbow (Judy Garland – Henry Award), Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney – Carbonell Award), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie – Jeff Award Nomination), Damn Yankees (Lola), Triumph of Love(Leonide) and The Drowsy Chaperone (Janet Van De Graaf).
OBC recordings: Groundhog Day, Anything Goes, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, and The Boy From Oz.
T.V. Appearances: “Tony Awards”, “The Late Show with David Letterman”, “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, “The View”, “Good Morning America”, and “The Today Show”.
Follow Tari and The Pantages:
A big thank you to Tari Kelly and The Pantages Theatre for arranging this interview.