The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 16, 2013

MSU grad to continue Broadway run in 'Once'

The Free Press
The Mankato Free Press

---- — The story continues for Claire Wellin, the 2008 musical theatre graduate from the Minnesota State University Department of Theatre & Dance, who appeared on Broadway in April and May in the Tony Award-winning musical “Once.” She has been told that she will revive the role of “Reza” during a tour that begins this fall.

In an e-mail message to friends on Sunday, she wrote: "I'm beyond thrilled to report that I will be rebuilding my role as Reza in the touring company of ‘Once!' We launch in Providence in October, followed by a three-week run in Chicago, after which we'll visit gorgeous places in Minneapolis, Toronto, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, and beyond. I hope to be seeing many of you in my travels!"

A Bismarck, N.D., native, Wellin appeared in many lead roles while at MSU. Among those were “Ophelia” in Hamlet, “Beauty” in Beauty and the Beast and “Dainty June” in Gypsy, earning Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nominations for all three. She was also “Elma Duckworth” in Bus Stop, “Jamima” in Cats, “Wendy Darling” in Peter Pan and “St. Joan” in The Lark, among others.

“Needless to say, it’s my dream job and I am thrilled and thankful,” she wrote to friends. In addition to singing, the character of “Reza” must be able to play the violin, which Wellin does.

Wellin arrived in New York City from Chicago -- where she has since been working and performing -- on March 5 to begin preparing for the role.

"From the minute she arrived in our department, we knew she had a special talent,” Department Chair Paul J. Hustoles said previously. “Not the least of this was her amazing range — able to play the delight of 'Peter Pan's' Wendy to the drama of 'Hamlet's' Ophelia with equal aplomb. All of her performances tended to be electrifying. And, boy, can she play that violin. We knew it would be a skill that would come in handy one day. Little did we know that it would take her to Broadway. We couldn't be more proud."

According to the web site www.oncemusical.com: “ ‘Once’ tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights … but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance.”

“Once” won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical.