Jacquelyn Piro Donovan
North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly MA
Cast: Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (Dolly), Gary Beach (Horace Vandergelder), Analisa Leaming (Irene Malloy), Matt Loehr (Cornelius), Eric Mann (Barnaby), Mara Newbery (Ermengarde), Sarah Peak (Minnie Fay) and Cary Tedder (Ambrose). Ensemble includes Kristine Bennett, Scott Brateng, Jack Doyle, Rachel Fairbanks, Thomas Gibbons, Leeds Hill, Eric Huffman, Matthew Warner Kiernan, Stephanie Moskal, Dennis O'Bannion, Ellen Peterson, JP Qualters, Kevin Santos, Casey Shea and Tara Sweeney.
Piro Donovan is an actress and singer known for her work in Broadway musicals and on the concert stage. She is perhaps best known for the distinction of being the only actress to portray both the young innocent Cosette and the tragic heroine Fantine in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables. (Source: Wikipedia)
Jacquelyn has played both Dolly and Irene Molloy in regional and stock productions of Dolly!
Jacquelyn Piro Donovan starred as Dolly in North Carolina Theatre’s Hello,Dolly! in 2012. She learned this part in four days after Cybil Shepard fell down a flight of stairs.
She also ended up stepping in for Lorna Luft at North Shore Music Theater.
Terry Byrne in The Boston Globehad this to say about that production: Hello, Dolly!, the musical inspired by Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker, has been a valentine to Broadway divas ever since it opened in 1964 with Carol Channing in the title role. But when Lorna Luft, North Shore Music Theatre’s original diva of choice for this production, was sidelined in May by a back injury, it afforded the opportunity for a slightly different approach. It turns out that Luft’s replacement, the capable and confident Broadway veteran Jacquelyn Piro Donovan — unlike many a Dolly — does not hog the spotlight.”
Sally Applegate of Wiked Local North of Boston had this to say, “If you don’t fall in love with this Dolly at first sight, she will grow on you during the evening until you’re ready to cheer her victory over male chauvinist tightwad Horace Vandergelder.
A little bit about Jacquelyn…During her senior year, she received her Equity Card standing by for Carolee Carmello in the Boston Company of Nite Club Confidential starring Scott Bakula.
Shortly after graduation, she auditioned for the National Tour of Les Miserables through an “open call” and was cast as Cosette. She went on to originate that role in the Third National and San Francisco Companies and in 1990 reprised the role for her Broadway debut. In 1996 and 2002, she returned to Broadway as Cosette’s mother Fantine.
Photo courtesy: Curtis Scott Brown
Starting in 1992, and for the next decade, she starred in the National Touring Companies of Sunset Boulevard (as Betty Schaefer opposite Petula Clark), Big (originating Susan Lawrence), The Secret Garden (as Lily), Miss Saigon (as Ellen, a role she later played on Broadway in 2000), and in 2008, she played Mama Who for the seasonal Broadway Production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas playing her home town of Boston.
During her year with Miss Saigon, Donovan was granted a leave of absence to
perform as Nellie in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s Sweet Adeline at the nationally celebrated City Center Encores! concert series on Broadway.
She created the world premiere roles of Madame Calcet in the Zipper Theatre’s production of Kathie Lee Gifford’s Under The Bridge, Sariah in 37 Art’s production of The Ark, Alison in the Emmy Award winning writer David Javerbaum’s original production of Suburb, a New Musical Comedy at The York Theatre, Jackie in New World Stage’s New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Have a Nice Life, winning the 2006 Outstanding Ensemble NYMF Excellence Award, and most recently, the title role in The York Theatre’s production of I Remember Mama, as part of their Musicals in Mufti Series 2010.
In 2004, Donovan won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Lizzie Curry in 110 in the Shadeat the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C., where she also originated the role of Elmira in the world premiere of the musical Nevermore. She won a Connecticut Critics Circle Award in 2005 for her portrayal of Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Goodspeed Opera House.
In May 2011, it was announced that Donovan would take over the title role in Hello, Dolly!, produced by North Carolina Theatre, late in rehearsals. Cybill Shepherd had withdrawn from the production after sustaining injuries in a mishap on stairs at her apartment complex.
Almost exactly one year later, on May 11, 2012, history repeated itself when it was announced she would replace an injured Lorna Luft as Dolly in the North Shore Musical Theater’s production of the same show.