Mankato State grad lands starring role in Broadway's 'Once'


A graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato is about to make her Broadway stage debut.

The Mankato Free Press reports that Claire Wellin, a 2008 graduate in musical theater, has landed a starring role in the Tony Award-winning musical "Once."

It marks the first time a graduate from MSU's Department and Theatre and Dance has landed an on-stage role in a Broadway play, the Free Press says.

Wellin will play Reza in "Once," replacing Elizabeth A. Davis in the role while she takes a break.

"Once" was the winner of eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical, and Davis was nominated for Best Featured Actress.

In a release from Mankato State, Wellin called the casting a "dream job" and said she was "thrilled and thankful."

Wellin, a Bismarck, N.D., native, is a violinist as well as a singer and songwriter. She's tentatively scheduled to do eight shows a week from March 26 through April 23, and it's possible her time in the role will be extended, the Free Press reports.

In addition to her stage work, Wellin has done some television work, starring in such TV movies as "Reconstruction," which aired on NBC in 2011.

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