Jean Louisa Kelly (2nd Voice of Gwen/Starla) Interview!

Hey Jewel Fans! Today we’re so delighted to share a written interview we were able to have with the one-and-only Jean Louisa Kelly!

For those who don’t know, in the second season of the show, Kerry Butler left the production to take the role of Belle in the Toronto production of the Broadway “Beauty and the Beast” in 1995 before later moving to the Broadway production. Into the pink boots stepped television and film actress and singer Jean Louisa Kelly.

Jean had just come off of a star turn in the film Mr. Holland’s Opus as the character Rowena Morgan, a singer who wants to embark on a career in showbusiness.

Her best scene is certainly her amazing rendition of the Gershwin song “Someone to Watch Over Me.” I loved this even as a child watching this movie, long before I realized she was Gwen too!

Did you recognize the new voice for Gwen in the Second Season? Ronnie didn’t, but Chris did.

And now, on with the interview!

Jewel Riders Archive: Hi Jean, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with the fans. For our first question, we’d love to know how you became interested in acting?

Jean Louisa Kelly: I grew up in a small New England town that had a thriving theatre community. We did school plays, I took voice lessons and dance lessons… my first big break was the lead role in “Annie” at Theatre by the Sea in Rhode Island.

JRA: Very cool. Who do you consider to be mentors or look to for inspirations?

JLK: I always loved Bernadette Peters onstage… and then I had the chance to work with her in the original Broadway cast of “Into the Woods!”

JRA: Bernadette Peters is a theatre treasure! Do you have a favorite role or production you were part of?

JLK: I loved performing in “It Girl” at the York Theatre years ago — it was a gem of a production and directed by BT McNicholl — a great director. My other favorite roles were Tia in Uncle Buck, Rowena in Mr. Holland’s Opus and Luisa in The Fantasticks.

JRA: From theatre and on-camera acting, how did you get started in voice-over work?

JLK: I had an agent who submitted me for a few things. For a while I was the voice of Maybelline.

JRA: Can you tell us how you got involved with Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders? What was the casting process like?

JLK: I was a replacement for Kerry Butler, who had left to go play Belle in Beauty and the Beast in Toronto. I had been cast as Belle on Broadway a few years earlier but ended up not doing it because I was cast in a movie (that never got made —ugh!) and I guess someone thought I must be a good match vocally for her.

JRA: Oh wow, that would have been amazing to hear your as Belle! Because your character had been voiced by Kerry Butler in season one, did that affect the way that you performed as Gwenevere? Were you inspired or told to do things a certain way to create voice consistency?

JLK: I really didn’t think about matching her vocally — I just performed the lines as I thought they should be done or if I was directed a certain way I tried to take direction.

JRA: Can you share some memories of the recording sessions (cast interaction, scheduling, dates, behind the scenes, etc.)? You mentioned that you voiced Princess Gwenevere and Moondance.

JLK: Yes, most of the actors did a couple of voices… I made my voice a little deeper for Moondance.

JRA: Were you involved in the show in any capacity outside of Voice acting? Like any promotional tours or marketing?

JLK: Nope 🙂

JRA: Can you recap where your acting experience then led you? And currently if you have any projects that you would like the fans to know about?

Jean Louisa Kelly: I was so young. After we did that season I ended up getting married and lived in New York for a couple of years doing independent films. Then I got a show and moved out west, which eventually led me to Yes, Dear, which ran on CBS for six years. I have continued to work throughout the years, raising my kids. I have a small part in the new Top Gun movie. I also will be in James Wan’s new film, Malignant.

Jewel Riders Archive: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us and the fans!

If you’d like to see more from Jean, you can find her at jeanlouisakelly.com follow her YouTube channel, where she posts performance videos, or over on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook! If you’d like to purchase some of her CDs, you can find them in her online shop, or find her digital albums on iTunes and Amazon Music.

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