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Caitlin Kinnunen (born November 8, 1991) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for playing Emma Nolan in the musical The Prom, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award in 2019.

Caitlin Kinnunen
Born (1991-11-08) November 8, 1991 (age 28)
OccupationActress & Singer
Years active2008–present

Early life and educationEdit

Kinnunen grew up in Camano Island, Washington. Her parents are Betsy Stam, an administrator at Everett Community College and Randy Kinnunen, a former law enforcement agent.[1][2]She was homeschooled. Her parents enrolled her and her sister in theatre classes as children so they would not be afraid of public speaking.

She moved to New York in 2008 to pursue her theatre career. [3]


Kinnunen made her Broadway debut at age 16, as a replacement for the role of Thea in Spring Awakening. In 2010, Kinnunen was the understudy for the role of Natalie in the national tour of Next to Normal.[4]

Following these theater performances, Kinnunen took on a number of television and film roles. She was the lead character in the film Sweet Little Lies in 2011 and a minor character in It's Kind of a Funny Story, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and The Intern.[5]

She was next seen in the 2013 pre-Broadway performances of The Bridges of Madison County as Carolyn, and she continued the role when the production moved to Broadway the following year.[6] The show closed on May 18, 2014, after 137 performances.[7]

In 2014, Kinnunen attended a reading for The Prom, reading for the role of Alyssa.[8] She ultimately was cast as the lead character, Emma Nolan, and went on to perform the role in Atlanta in 2016, before the show moved to Broadway in 2018. For this performance, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.[9] Kinnunen and co-star McCalla's kiss during their performance at the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made national news as the first LGBT kiss in the parade's history.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2019, in an interview for Nylon, Kinnunen announced after years of identifying as a straight ally, that she was dating a woman.[11] She has since come out as bisexual/queer. [12]

She has type 1 diabetes.[13]



Year Network Title Role Notes
2017 TV Land Younger Heidi Episode: "Post Truth"
2017 Netflix American Vandal Anonymous Student Episode: "Nailed"
2015 Cinemax The Knick Suzy Episode: "Whiplash"
2009 NBC Law & Order: SVU Amy Wagner Episode: "Turmoil"


Year Title Role Notes
2015 The Intern Techie #2
2011 Sweet Little Lies Bess Lead role
2010 It's Kind of a Funny Story Science Geek
2011 We Need to Talk About Kevin Student
2012 Legacy Claire Short film

Stage creditsEdit

Year(s) Production Role Location Category
2008 Spring Awakening Thea (replacement) Eugene O'Neill Theater Broadway
2010 Next to Normal Natalie (understudy) National Tour Regional
2013 The Bridges of Madison County Carolyn Williamstown Theatre Festival Out of town tryout
2014 Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre Broadway
2016 The Prom Emma Nolan Alliance Theatre Regional
2018-19 Longacre Theatre Broadway

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2019 Audience Awards[14] Favorite Onstage Pair (with Isabelle McCalla) The Prom Nominated
Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical Nominated
Tony Awards[15] Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Nominated


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  2. ^
  3. ^ Fiege, Gale (2019-06-06). "Local theater helped propel Camano Island native to stardom". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  4. ^ "Caitlin Kinnunen". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  5. ^ "Caitlin Kinnunen". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  6. ^ "The Bridges of Madison County". Williamstown Theatre Festival. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam (May 1, 2014). "New Musical The Bridges of Madison County, Starring Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale, to Close on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  8. ^ Kovan, Brianna (2018-11-16). "The Prom's Caitlin Kinnunen Is a Broadway Heroine With a Difference". ELLE. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  9. ^ "Full List of the 2019 Tony Award Nominees". The New York Times. 2019-04-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  10. ^ "'The Prom' celebrates 'first LGBTQ kiss' in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade history". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  11. ^ "After Her Viral Thanksgiving Parade Kiss, Broadway Star Comes Out IRL". 2019-04-15. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  12. ^ "8 People Reveal How They Feel Beautiful After Coming Out & It's So Touching".
  13. ^ "The Bridges of Madison County's Caitlin Kinnunen on the Haircut That Inspired Her Career & Her Life-Saving Costume". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  14. ^ "Fan-Picked 2019 Audience Choice Award Nominations Announced; Be More Chill Leads With 12". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  15. ^ "Full List of the 2019 Tony Award Nominees". The New York Times. 2019-04-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-06.