Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Music Theatre - Performance
Year of graduation: 2000
Chilina Kennedy has dazzled audiences with stage performances throughout North America. Most recently, she is starring on Broadway as singer/songwriter powerhouse Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (with fellow grad Scott Campbell).
Growing up as an only child in a military family, Chilina used her ability to perform as an emotional outlet. Her passion and genuine connection with her work have allowed her to thrive in a variety of roles. But her determination has been equally important to her success. “You have to keep things in check, realize that it’s something bigger than yourself and continue to pursue your goals in the face of disappointment and rejection.”
Among the valuable lessons Chilina learned at Sheridan: there will be more no’s than yes’s. “If you’re good at what you do, you will eventually run into a yes,” says Chilina. “That lesson has served me well over the years.”
Her talents and a strong sense of tenacity have helped Chilina achieve her dream of starring in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. A role that helped her move to Broadway.
Before arriving at the theatre Mecca, she spent three seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival playing Rose of Sharon in The Grapes of Wrath, Maria in West Side Story and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Chilina starred as lead in Evita and also played Lois Lane in Kiss Me Kate. Following her star turn in Evita, The Toronto Star’s Richard Ouzounian lauded Chilina as “the new reigning star of Stratford’s musicals.” Des McAnuff, director of Jesus Christ Superstar and former artistic director at Stratford called Chilina the most gifted musical theatre actress I have come across in many, many years.”
Chilina previously spent three seasons at the Shaw Festival, where she had roles in The President, Wonderful Town and Summer and Smoke. One of her most memorable achievements is her work in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings (Mirvish Productions.) She also played Sophie in Mamma Mia! (U.S. first national tour,) and the famous title role in Anne of Green Gables at the Charlottetown Festival. Chilina was a fixture at Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton) and has recorded music with Burt Bacharach. In 2015, she released her first solo album.
She considers her Sheridan experience a formative time where she refined the performance tools that would ultimately take her to Broadway. “I was as prepared as I possibly could have been,” says Chilina. “Auditions are scary. They are still scary now. But I am living a dream come true.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance