Kelli O’Hara performing at Garden Theatre Encore gala

The Tony Award-winning Broadway star is part of the lineup at this year’s fundraising event.

Stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara will appear at the Garden Theatre’s Encore 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF NATHAN JOHNSON
Stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara will appear at the Garden Theatre’s Encore 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF NATHAN JOHNSON
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Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara will share songs and stories at the Garden Theatre’s fundraising gala, Encore 2021. The annual event, postponed in 2020 because of the pandemic, is back with a spectacle of Broadway music, a silent auction and the chance to meet the special guest.

The Encore evening has been reimagined to ensure the health and safety of guests, artists, staff and volunteers. Following the main program, all Encore sponsors and guests at the Bronze and Platinum levels are invited to remain for a Q&A session with O’Hara.

"After 18 months, we couldn't be more excited to finally be bringing Kelli O'Hara to Winter Garden to thank our incredible community for their support and raise much-needed funds for our arts education programs,” said Elisa Spencer-Kaplan, the theater’s managing director. “We're honored to have this talented Tony Award winner on the Garden stage.”

Encore 2021 is a fundraiser for the theater’s education programming. All funds raised will go toward creating educational theater experiences for hundreds of young people in Central Florida.

In accordance with Garden Theatre safety protocols and the requirements of O’Hara and her team, guests will be required to wear a mask at all times while inside the building.

O’Hara, a stage and screen star, has established herself as one of Broadway’s greatest leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Leonowns in “The King and I” garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Grammy, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Olivier Award nominations.

Her numerous Broadway credits include “Kiss Me Kate,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “South Pacific” and “The Light in the Piazza.”

She also received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Katie Bonner in the hit web series “The Accidental Wolf.” She performs with the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera and was awarded the prestigious Drama League Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award in 2019.



Tickets for all 199 seats are sold, but the community has the chance to bid on items in the silent auction. The auction includes three designed artwork pieces featuring photos and music from “The King and I” and “Kiss Me, Kate,” signed by O’Hara; signed sheet music; collector's packages of signed memorabilia from “South Pacific,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “The King and I,” and more; Central Florida experiences like a “Weekend in Winter Garden” package, Universal Studios tickets, and a Walt Disney World VIP package.

To see all the silent auction items, visit Bidding will close at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Winning bidders attending Encore can pick up their packages at the end of the evening. Winners not in attendance can pick up their packages beginning Tuesday, Sept. 28. 



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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