Updated March 11
Just a few weeks after news from the Stratford Festival that Chilina Kennedy is pregnant and stepping down from her commitments there, comes news from Drayton Entertainment that she’ll be playing the lead in “South Pacific” this summer.
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Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment says, “Chilina is one of those rare and genuine triple threats in Canadian theatre.”
Kennedy is delighted to be working with Drayton Entertainment, especially the wardrobe department, who she hopes “can hide my bump for the run of the show.”
Kennedy added that she isn’t the first person to play the role of Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific” while pregnant. Kelli O’hara played the role on Broadway for five and a half months of her pregnancy.
“Everything is fantastic with my baby,” added Kennedy, “I’m really looking forward to continuing my work on concerts as well as “South Pacific.”
Man of La Mancha and Crazy For You
Back at the Stratford Festival, Kennedy was scheduled to have played Polly Baker in “Crazy for You” and Aldonza in “Man of La Mancha”, but in February she announced that for the safety of her baby she had to step down. The physical demands of the two shows, and Stratford’s busy schedule were a concern.
“I’m due before the Stratford season would be over, the timing for “South Pacific” was perfect”, said Kennedy.
The Drayton schedule is less physically demanding than Stratford’s. It begins with a three-week engagement at the Drayton Festival Theatre, May 14 to May 31, and is followed by a run at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, June 5 to June 21.
Drayton has not yet announced any other cast members for the production. “South Pacific.” The musical masterpiece, has been heralded for its progressive message on race and prejudice – themes that remain relevant 65 years after its Broadway premiere.
I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Kennedy in June of 2013. In the interview she discusses the nurturing and supportive environment she grew up in. The full podcast interview is available HERE.
Josh Young and Chilina Kennedy Together for 1 night
Kennedy continues to work on other projects, recently posting on her Facebook account “Dream come true day today. Rehearsing with Colm Wilkinson for the concert next week. Eeep.”
On Sunday May 11th, Kenndey will be joined onstage by former Broadway and Stratford collaborator Josh Young in Music Of The Night a tribute to Colm Wilkinson.
Concert performances in Stratford
Kennedy is also performing in concert at Stratford’s Studio Theatre, Sunday, July 20 @ 11:30 a.m.; Saturday, July 26 @ 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, August 2 @ 11:00 a.m. Details are available HERE.