Arts & Culture

‘It was meant to be’: KC actress returns home to star on Starlight stage, get married

Angel Reda was 7 when she appeared in “The King and I” at Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park. And she never looked back.
Angel Reda was 7 when she appeared in “The King and I” at Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park. And she never looked back. Submitted

Angel Reda was 7 years old and attending Holy Spirit Catholic School in Overland Park when her life as a Broadway star began.

She didn’t actually perform on Broadway, but she did appear in “The King and I” at Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park. From that point, she never looked back.

“Once I did my first show when I was 7, it was clear that this was just the life laid out for me,” Reda said. “The life found me.”

She has been a regular in Broadway productions for the past 15 years.

Now Reda will return to her hometown for two of the biggest events of her life in a confluence of good fortune that could be the plot of its own Broadway musical.

Friday through Sunday, she will play Roxie Hart with the Broadway touring company of “Chicago” at Starlight Theatre. Then, on Sept. 21, she will get married — at Holy Spirit, of course.

The wedding was planned long before she knew she would appear at Starlight.

“It was just fate, I guess,” she said. “It was meant to be.”

Just as it apparently was fate that she would marry William O’Donnell, a native of Oklahoma who grew up in Boston. He now lives in New York City, where he is an account director for Mackevision, a visual effects company based in Germany.

Reda had spent time in Los Angeles when she couldn’t perform on Broadway because of a back injury, and when she returned to New York, love blossomed between her and O’Donnell.

“It’s really quite a story, because we were friends for 10 years before we had our first kiss,” she said.

The only blip in the fairytale romance is that they will have to postpone their honeymoon for several months because Reda must return to New York to rehearse for and then appear in the highly anticipated new musical, “The Cher Show.”

Reda, who recently was part of the original Broadway cast of “War Paint” alongside Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, made her professional debut when she was 9, appearing in “Brigadoon” at Starlight.

With training at Miller Marley School of Dance & Voice and later in the music and drama departments at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, she performed in five more Starlight plays before heading off to the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

Then it was the bright lights of Broadway.

The cast of “Chicago.” Paul Kolnik

She has been appearing in “Chicago” on Broadway while joining the touring company for its stop at Starlight. In fact, she will have to return to New York for shows Monday and Tuesday before coming back for her wedding.

“Chicago” has been the most important musical of her career. Her first job in New York was with the national tour of “Chicago,” and she has gone on to play every female part in the show, including a stint as Go-To-Hell Kitty at Starlight in 2004.

“So, it’s kind of going full circle for me to come back as the star of the show,” Reda said.

“I’m very, very excited to be able to come home and do the show for all the people who maybe haven’t been able to get to New York to see me. It’s a huge deal for me. It’s very exciting.”


8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Sept. 14-16. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. $14-$120.