Kelli James

She's a little teapot

Kelli James, Broadway's first-ever Eponine in the original production of Les Misérables, is here among us. Tired of living out of a suitcase, and after a distinguished career that includes dozens of Broadway starring roles, James has settled in Phoenix, where she’s featured this month as a singing teapot in Beauty and the Beast. She inaugurates this new column with confidences about sharks and drag queens, drunkenness and Hal Prince.

I knew I wanted to be in show business when I watched The Carol Burnett Show for the first time. I wanted to be just like her.

The worst thing about being a thespian is the competition among fellow actors.

My worst audition ever was in 1980 for Stephen Sondheim for Merrily We Roll Along. I was young, in New York for the first time, alone and scared. Sondheim was quite unimpressed, despite Hal Prince's insistence that I had talent!

The happiest day in my life was surprising my dad with Green Bay Packers tickets for his 65th birthday -- giving him a dream come true.

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would be Oprah Winfrey.

It's not entirely true, but I sometimes tell people that I was raised by drag queens.

The fictional character I am most like is Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

I am utterly terrified of deep dark water and sharks.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is actually a brilliant misfit.

I laugh uncontrollably at the absurd.

The one thing I absolutely refuse to do on stage is say "no" to a new idea. A great actor will try anything once!

Something I have never admitted to anyone before is that I hate to be wrong.

Currently I am reading The Best Awful by Carrie Fisher.

The first time I got drunk I told at least 10 people I was in love with them.

Appearing in a musical as a singing tea set is fun, however it's nothing like performing as a good bar set.

Like my mother used to say, "Don't get too big for your britches!"


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