“I completely lost my mind. I don’t know if that was obvious … When they did say my name, I think it just blew me away,” said actress Kelli O’Hara about finally winning her first Tony Award for “The King and I,” which also won Best Musical Revival. She was so overwhelmed that she did a dance when accepting the award: “That’s called ‘Shuffle Off to Buffalo,’ very poorly done in Jimmy Choo shoes, but when you’re that excited, you lose your mind a bit.”
This is her first Tonys victory after five unsuccessful nominations: for her featured role in “The Light in the Piazza” (2005) and lead roles in “The Pajama Game (2006), “South Pacific” (2008), “Nice Work If You Can Get It” (2012) and “Bridges of Madison County” (2014).
About the role that finally broke her losing streak, O’Hara said, “Anna is a very strong woman, a great backbone, a lot of heart, and a lot of chutzpah as Seth Rudetsky told me I had to say — balls is what I called it. I played a lot of ingenues in my youth, and Anna is a teacher, she’s a mother, a very strong, independent trailblazer, and I want to be like her.”
Below, watch O’Hara’s complete press Q&A: