Born in County Meath, Ireland, in 1984, Killian Donnelly is an Irish actor and singer. Over the last decade, Donnelly has become a West End leading man, best known for starring in Memphis, Kinky Boots and The Phantom of the Opera.
Growing up, Donnelly expressed keen interest in performing. If he wasn’t singing on stage with local groups, he’d be practicing on the piano and guitar. He became a regular in Irish productions, starring in The Wireman, Singin’ in the Rain and West Side Story. While on stage in Ireland, he was scouted by a theatre agency, with Donnelly moving to London shortly after.
Donnelly made his West End debut in 2008, joining the Les Miserables company as a swing. The year after, he was cast as second cover Javert and Enjolras, later becoming a principal Enjolras in the London company. In 2010, he starred in the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert at the O2 Arena, playing Courfeyrac.
After his stint in Les Miserables, Donnelly joined The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre, taking over the role of Raoul. He continued the trend of taking over roles, joining the Billy Elliot company as Tony in 2012.
His first West End original role came in 2013, starring as Deco in The Commitments at the Palace Theatre. The following year, Donnelly originated the role of Huey in the West End transfer of Memphis, opposite Beverley Knight as Felicia. Earning his first Olivier Award nomination, audiences saw him at the Shaftesbury Theatre from 9 Oct. 2014 - 4 Jul. 2015.
Shortly after leaving Memphis, he joined another West End musical, playing Charlie Price in Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. Donnelly played the role for 12 months, receiving his second Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. After leaving the London production, he reprised his Kinky Boots performance on Broadway, which marked his Stateside debut.
In 2017, Donnelly returned to Les Miserables as Jean Valjean, reprising the role in the UK tour. Following tradition, he was then cast as The Phantom in the UK tour of The Phantom of the Opera, though the tour was cancelled after 13 performances due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Post-pandemic, Donnelly returned to the West End to star in the London production of The Phantom of the Opera in the title role.