Millie O’Connell

📷 : Pumpkin Art Photography

With the UK premiere of Be More Chill opening in London in February this year, Millie O’Connell was cast as Chloe Valentine, and was due to continue in her role at The Other Palace before theatres had to close for the foreseeable future. In 2019, Millie played Velcro in Soho Cinders at Charing Cross Theatre after finishing her run as Anne Boleyn in SIX the Musical in the West End and on the UK Tour. During her time as Anne Boleyn, Millie performed on a number of TV shows including Britain’s Got Talent, as well as at The Olivier Awards where, along with the rest of the cast, she was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical. We recently caught up with Millie who told us about starting her run as Chloe Valentine in Be More Chill, playing Velcro in Soho Cinders and her time as Anne Boleyn in SIX the Musical.

Earlier this year, you started your role as Chloe Valentine in Be More Chill at The Other Palace, what is the character like to play?

Fantastic! I think every high school has a Chloe Valentine! I’m grateful to play another brilliant comedy role, she has a mean girl twist on her which I really enjoy! I really love her journey throughout the show, and her friendship growth with her best friend Brooke.

You appeared on BBC Radio London to talk about the show, how was the experience?

BBC Radio London was a brilliant experience. Being able to talk about the show to everyone and let them know they are in for a real treat! It was very special as it was the first time we could speak about it on air!! So much fun.

What was the atmosphere like at the press night of the musical’s UK premiere?

The atmosphere on press night was INCREDIBLE – the audience created the most magical atmosphere, we could feel it on stage and it was pure joy onstage, backstage and off stage!

How had the run been going and what was it like being part of the cast?

The run was going so well, not only the audience creating an amazing atmosphere, but at stage door too! Meeting everyone for photos and programme signing – hearing how much they wanted Be More Chill to come to London – was so special to us as a cast. I was lucky, I got to work with some of my best friends, and made the most amazing new friends whilst working on the job.

Can you tell us about playing Velcro in Soho Cinders and performing at Charing Cross Theatre?

I loved playing Velcro, she has the biggest heart. Her songs are beautiful and her love for Robbie (her best friend) is unbreakable. I really loved those qualities of her as it reminds me of myself with my close friends.

What drew you to the script and character, and what did you know about the show before booking the role?

I got the audition sides through and read about four lines… and I KNEW I had to do it!! Her comic timing and sincerity throughout the musical really held me as a reader and I was excited to be in the audition room doing it!

You played Anne Boleyn in SIX the Musical over a couple of years, can you say more about your time in the show and being nominated for an Olivier Award?

I absolutely loved this show! Doing The One Show, This Morning and Britain’s Got Talent are amazing memories and I’m so glad I got to share it with my girls. The Olivier Awards was an incredible day! We had a matinee in the afternoon, quickly got ready, hopped in a cab and went straight to the Awards!

📷 : Pumpkin Art Photography

What was the music like to perform and how was it seeing the audience reaction to the show?

The audience is electric! Especially at the SIX Singalongs! It’s the most amazing energy in the room! And the music… well you can’t help but DANCE!

How did you find the experience performing at the Singalong and on The One Show?

The Singalong is just such a good vibe, hearing everyone singing over our in-ears was madness! I loved doing The One Show, you forget that we do a live performance every night when you’re there as it just feels so different with cameras and inside a studio!

How was it touring with Thoroughly Modern Millie as Ensemble and Understudy Millie?

I loved the show so much. Such a brilliant cast and company! I love Millie Dillmount – I really hope it comes back to town one day! What a fun show.

Having made your West End debut in 42nd Street as Ensemble and Understudy Annie, how did you find your run in the show?

What a magnificent and magical show!! I was with some of my closest friends that I trained with at college and the whole magical vibe was unreal. The theatre itself is a show, so to have performed at Drury Lane is a tick off the dream list for sure.

You’d previously been in the cast of 42nd Street at Theatre Du Chatelet, what was this like?

A beautiful show by the incredible Stephen Mear. I always wanted to be in one of his shows when I was in college – and this was the job I graduated with! I will be forever grateful for him – a fantastic show!

Is musical theatre something you always wanted to be part of and do you remember what some of the first theatre shows you watched were?

I have always wanted to do this since I can remember! My earliest memories are being at the ballet bar with my teacher Gillian! The first show I watched was Hairspray on tour!

What was it like training at Laine Theatre Arts and what encouraged you to train there?

I had great training at Laine – I always wanted to train there! I did summer schools for a few years before doing the Three-Year Diploma course, so I knew it was the one for me.

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