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'full of grace,' Broadway star enchants crowd

Broadway star Kelli O'Hara recently received a standing ovation as she stepped out in front of a crowd gathered at an Oklahoma City church.

The crowd gathered Tuesday to see O'Hara seemed to anticipate her musical interlude and wanted to express their gratitude for her mini-concert at the "Esther Women" luncheon at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15.  

"Esther Women" series founder Jane Jayroe, former Miss America and TV news anchor, said she was thrilled when O'Hara didn't hesitate to agree to perform for the popular monthly program. 

"She is an extraordinary woman, but not only an extraordinary woman, an 'Esther,' full of grace and goodness," Jayroe told an estimated crowd of about 800. 

For a brief, magical time, 'Hara, an Elk City native, transported those gathered to another place through the music. 

The Tony Award-winning star and Oklahoma City University graduate brought smiles to audience members' faces with her effervescent medley of songs from her current Broadway show “The King And I,” including “Shall We Dance” and “Getting To Know You.”

She sang several songs including two she wrote, one called "Here Now," based on a phrase her paternal grandfather used to say, and another, "I Love You the World," which she said she wrote for her unborn son Owen (now 6). 

O'Hara's Christmas songs helped usher in the holiday spirit.

She sang a duet of "Silver Bells" with her friend and fellow performer Renee Anderson, then ended her "Esther Women" concert with a beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night." More than a few eyes glistened with tears as she sang the beloved Christmas classic.

Later, during the luncheon portion of the program, a special prayer was offered up for O'Hara as Jayroe said she continues in her roles as wife, mother and Broadway star. 

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor

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Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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