Broadway Belter Chelle Denton Performs at Segerstrom Concert Hall

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Denton is among six featured vocalists performing hit tunes from such Broadway shows as “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” and “The Lion King” on June 3 and 4 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A self-described “soprano belter,” she has appeared in “The Sound of Music” at the La Mirada Theatre, “Something Rotten” with Musical Theatre West in Long Beach, and “Parade” with Anaheim-based 3-D Theatricals.

How did you get started as a performer?

I’ve been singing since I was little-little. My dad is a vocalist. He performed barbershop singing in college. And his dad was a choral teacher. So I do come from a musical background, and I’ve had incredible support from my family. I’ve been doing musicals and shows since I was probably 9 or 10. In high school, I decided it was what I wanted to study in college, so I started to go to auditions for college musical theater programs.

Why did you gravitate to musical theater?

I’ve always loved singing for people, but the extra passion and joy came from being onstage and being able to portray a character. I am so passionate about storytelling. What I love is the story behind the song and the show. Whatever song I’m doing, I like to find the story and get the audience to join you in that story, whether it’s musical theater or a concert format. I know that pop artists try do the same thing. Also, my tone of voice tends to move in more of a theatrical direction, so I stayed in that zone as I was becoming a performer.

Is the highlight to get onstage and perform?

I think so. Sometimes it’s also being in a cast of really good performers who are on the same wavelength as you and are just as passionate about storytelling. I think that tends to be a highlight. And working with great directors and music directors. You meet a lot of great people. A lot of my close friends have come from productions I’ve done in the past. It’s exciting to know that you’re in a job where you’re constantly meeting new people.

At Cal State Fullerton, were there specific productions that were extremely fulfilling for you?

I was able to do “Legally Blonde” when I was a junior. I played Paulette, and that was a dream role for me. She’s a comedic role with a big, belt-y voice. That was so fun. The agents who are representing me now contacted me after that role. I got to end my time at Cal State Fullerton doing “Kiss Me Kate,” and I loved that because I got to play opposite my best friend in college, and I played the role of Kate. It was extremely challenging because there was Shakespearean language involved, which was hard but pushed me and my performance abilities.

Where would you like to go with your career?

Like many in the musical theater world, I’d love to be on Broadway. I’ve had the opportunity to audition for a couple of Broadway shows, and that in itself has always been a dream. Now it’s the goal of getting into one of those shows. Specifically, I’d like to originate a role. I would love for my career to carry me into the TV and film world, which has been happening bit by bit. My most recent work has been national commercials with Pepsi and Ross. Outside of that, I’ve done short films with up-and-coming directors, which has been really cool.


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