Kelli O’Hara, with an Emmy nomination and a third season already in the works, is getting the last laugh with her “The Accidental Wolf” series.
Has O’Hara, a Tony-winning Broadway musical star with hit revivals of “South Pacific” and “The King and I,” been told, “Stay onstage, you’ll never make a mark in television”?
“I hear that all the time,” O’Hara, 44, said. “We did a panel for ‘Wolf’ the other night and there were four questions — out of just seven — that were, ‘Well, when will we see this character start to sing?’
“I understand that — and I love that they identify me with legitimate theater because it is my love. However, we all want to do different things, shake it up. I’ve been doing little bits of television here and there.
“Of course, it takes a different skill but I think of it as just being an actor. I love — love, love! — having diversity in my career. Because why else should we do this?
Kelli O’Hara, left, and the cast of “Kiss Me, Kate” perform at the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 9, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
“You can’t eat the same breakfast every day of your life (unless you want to go crazy).”
“Accidental Wolf” was written specifically for O’Hara by writer-director Arian Moayad. “He’s done a lot of television, he’s one of the stars of ‘Succession.’
“This was very independently done. We began as a web series. That’s how it became eligible (in 2017) for the Emmys.
“Its success got the attention of Topic who bought it for a full season. We’ve shot the second season and are planning on a third. So it’s just grown in stages.”
O’Hara stars as Katie, a rich, bored housewife who hears someone being murdered over the phone with a plea by the stranger’s pregnant wife for help. Thus begins an enveloping web of paranoia, perhaps conspiracy.
Is Katie’s life completely changed by answering an accidental misplaced phone call?
“Yes,” O’Hara answered, “we believe that is the truth. Now here’s the thing, this show is going to ask you to decide for yourself. There’s a mystery to it, an ambiguity — and that’s on purpose.
“The ultimate question is: How far would you go to help a stranger? Whether this call is a 419 — which is one of those ‘Nigerian Prince, send me a million dollars’ — or is this a real person needing real help, we find Katie, a mother with a child, who hears a mother in trouble.
“She’s also battling against a privileged, zero-purpose sort of life. These things come together at once to make her move.”
Without Katie singing even a lullaby to her daughter.
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