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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Alum Earns Role in Broadway Play

Claire Wellin is performing in Tony Award-winning musical "Once."

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance News Release, 3-6-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Claire Wellin (pictured at left), a 2008 BFA Musical Theatre graduate from the Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance, will be performing on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical “Once.” She will play the role of “Reza” while Elizabeth Davis takes a break.

A Bismarck, N.D., native, Wellin appeared in many lead roles while at Minnesota State Mankato. 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 been working and performing, on March 5 to begin preparing for the role. Tentative performance dates are Tuesday, March 26, through Sunday, April 23, with her appearing in all eight shows each week. It’s possible that her time in the role will be extended. The online posting for the March 3 auditions also said they were seeking talented actors/musicians for future casts.

"From the minute she arrived in our department, we knew she had a special talent,” said Department Chair Paul J. Hustoles. “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 “‘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. Davis was nominated for Best Featured Actress as “Reza.”

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