Jenn Colella

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Jenn Colella (2022)

Jenn Colella (born Jennifer Lin Colella; September 22, 1974) is an American actress and singer.


  • I'm honored that creators trust me to collaborate on their babies. It touches me deeply. Plus I get to start from a blank slate and play. Of all the characters I’ve ever played, Anne is the closest to who I am in the world. It makes me feel very vulnerable but I love it. I’m wide open to this experience.
  • What it’s helped me remember is that it’s all a crapshoot — theater. All of the variables that have to be in place for it to be a success, it’s like an alchemy that has to happen. It’s rare that it does, and it’s a reminder to be grateful for each and every moment. So now, every rehearsal, every time I walk into my stage door, I say thank you three times. Because I know that it’s just for now. It’s fleeting.
  • I talk a lot about kindness and gratitude and how those two things can bring us into the present moment and how present moment awareness is key to being not only a good artist but a good person. And we don't just get hired because we have this tremendous talent, we get hired because we're the whole package. People can sense that throughout the day we are in the practice of taking care of others and certainly for a new work you know you're going to be in the room developing with this team, this family, for years and years and years so the energy that you bring into the room has to be something that you practice throughout the day.
  • To play a living person is one thing, but then to have that person present so often, and I can see her, it's trickier than anything I've ever done…Her hands were over her face, and she was sobbing openly, she said. I'm not a robot -- I could feel something inside of me start to break. And yet, I have a job -- she remained stoic through those five days, and I'm in those five days.
  • There's a lyric in our opening number where we sing, "I'm an islander." And they heard this and leapt to their feet and started clapping and crying. And the cast just started bawling. We didn't know what to do. It was so beautiful. They really - they gave us the OK to come to Broadway. They really kind of blessed the show.
  • It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. I did 1,180 performances, and I’ve fallen in love with the company. It was a career-defining moment that helped me become a more well-rounded artist. But I really enjoy travel, and I enjoy creating my own shows.
  • I actually went to visit her in her home in Florida, in her vacation home. I got to spend some time with her away from Come From Away, away from the theater, away from interviews, and it was very, very dear. We had long deep talks about our feelings, about our families, about how we move through the world. It really helped me come back into the role this time.

Stand-up comedy as training for performing on stage

  • It was challenging. If you fail in standup you can’t blame anyone but yourself. But it definitely increased my confidence and now there’s really nothing that scares, frightens me in terms of performance.
  • Doing stand-up, for me, created a deep sense of courageousness. There’s no one else to blame if your screw up. The moments you’re failing are quite devastating. But you realize you can win the audience back with the next joke if you hold on and keep working.
  • Stand-up created a platform to weave a story together and trust my own ideas… it gave me a deep sense of bravery as a performer. To be on stage and have a joke fail miserably, and realizing that the world continues to spin. I can get them back in the next breath.

Quotes about Colella

  • And you know. Jenn Colella. that we all think you are hella fine. You know I'm not alone in this belief.
  • A captivating adult actor, Colella is utterly believable in the role of a four-year-old celebrity singer. Rather than bounding about with child-like abandon or producing high-pitched "little girl" speech, she talks very quietly, yet firmly, pauses a lot, stands still and tenses her fingers—this is a kid trying to be taken seriously...Colella is side-splittingly funny, never cloying, and incredibly lovable—even when Kiki turns into a monstrously spoiled brat.
  • You will fall in love with Kiki, a little four-year-old...played marvelously by an adult, Jenna Colella, steals every scene she romps through in Kiki Baby...Ms. Colella is wonderful, a sensation. She is dressed like a little child, and acts like one, with a deep frown or effervescent glee on her face. She is so good at the impersonation that you really think she’s young, although she is about 5’7”.
  • Colella has carried several short-lived Broadway shows on her back. It's fitting, then, that she earned her first Tony nomination for "Come From Away," in which she plays Beverley Bass, the real-life pilot who on Sept. 11, 2001, carried dozens to refuge.
  • It isn't just that Jenn Colella's show deserves praise, it isn't just that Jenn Colella belongs on a list of the best, it's that she belongs on a list all her own. I don't believe I have ever seen an artist work a room the way that this singing actress does, and that's what had me gobsmacked.
  • Her off-the-cuff commentary was so incredibly relaxed and natural (and sometimes intimately personal) that one would think that Jenn Colella was performing to a room full of friends at her very own birthday party, as opposed to a room full of paying guests in a supper club.
  • The sight of Colella's onstage relationship with the band was something slightly resembling a dodo video of a houseful of puppies at play ... and speaking of puppies, the personal highlight for this dog-obsessed hooman was watching Ms. Colella's eyes tear up while singing about the importance of dogs in our lives.
  • It's not just that Jenn Colella puts on a great show, that she is talented, that she is a hard worker, it's the commitment to bringing all the parts of herself to her storytelling, the willingness to lay bare her soul and humanity...It is, apparently, not part of Jenn Colella's genetic makeup to hide herself from the people, and that is where her success as a concert performer resoundingly resonates.
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