How Chilina Kennedy channels Carole King in Beautiful the musical

Chilina Kennedy talks about playing Carole King in Beautiful on Broadway and bringing the musical to Toronto.
Chilina Kennedy with Tom Power in the q studio. (Melody Lau)

For anyone trying to make a career in musical theatre, getting a role — any role — on Broadway is really the ultimate achievement.

Chilina Kennedy made it there in 2012, when the hit of the Stratford Festival, Jesus Christ Superstar, transferred to the New York stage. Kennedy won raves and, eventually, awards for her portrayal of Mary Magdelene, but the show didn't do as well as expected. Although it was nominated for two Tonys, reviews were mixed and it closed after 116 performances. 

But Chilina, who grew up in New Brunswick and Kingston, Ont., was not done with the Great White Way. Fast forward five years, and she's back in New York, auditioning to take over the role of Carole King in Beautiful, the Tony-winning musical based on the legendary singer-songwriter's life.

Kennedy will reprise the role when the show has its Canadian debut at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto beginning June 27. She joins Tom Power in studio to talk about how she prepared to "become" Carole King and what it was like to meet the woman behind all those incredible songs. 

— Produced by Dawna Dingwall

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