Broadway comes to Mt. Vernon


Joan Lee

Beginning of Broadway

Friday, December 7th, MVHS graduate Michelle McConnell returned to Mt. Vernon to talk to the choir. McConnell spoke about different careers in music, and even shared parts her own personal journey and experiences with the students.

The presentation was more than McConnell’s story. She invited a few soloists to join her on stage, and spent some time helping them through their chosen vocal selections.

“Working with Michelle was an amazing experience,” said Mallory McKeeman, 11. “She was really sweet and helpful, and I’m so grateful that I got to sing for her and get some advice from someone who knows what it’s like to sing professionally.”

McConnell graduated from Butler and originally started her career in music education, but she grew apart from it after her sudden compulsion to travel the world. McConnell began to pursue the path of performing arts and landed herself a spot in several national tours. She worked on cruise ships for quite some time as well, but she dared to dream even bigger. Broadway was her next aspiration, and she ended up moving to New York City.

Despite her accomplishments as an actress, McConnell’s most notable achievement is her record-breaking run as Carlotta Guidicelli in Broadway’s longest running show “The Phantom of the Opera.”’ McConnell has played the role longer than any other actress, but she didn’t start out as Carlotta.

It took McConnell fourteen years to land a spot on the Majestic Theatre stage. And just before she considered to stop auditioning for the show, she finally landed a spot.

“I ended up landing a spot in the chorus, and I was the happiest girl on the left ever. I had finally reached my dream,” said McConnell

She spoke about nothing coming easy, and with hard work and dedication, that a girl from a one-stoplight town can make it.

The school has gone through many changes since her last time at Mt. Vernon. The school’s student body has doubled, and many renovations have been made.

“It’s very rewarding, and it’s a very different theatre from when I was here,” said McConnell. “But, I watched my youngest brothers perform here. It’s a beautiful full circle, right? I don’t think my high school self would have ever imagined this would have happened.”