Laura Osnes, the Burnsville-born, Eagan-reared Broadway star, is still smarting from the firestorm of controversy over her COVID-19 vaccination status.

She lost gigs because of her stance — including a London production of "Bonnie and Clyde" and the national "Disney Princesses Tour." Now, she said, she's lost the stage career that she dreamed of since she was a child.

"It was extremely painful, but I took a very painful experience and made art from it — I started writing songs," Osnes, 37, said in a phone interview from Nashville, where she and her husband, Nathan Johnson, live and make music together. "When I was told that I couldn't be a part of that world anymore — that I wasn't allowed to create there and that my voice didn't matter — I started finding my voice in other ways."

The Tony nominee for "Cinderella" and "Bonnie & Clyde" filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Post, which first reported that she left the lineup of a charity concert because she was not vaccinated. That suit was settled "to mutual satisfaction" two weeks ago, she said. Osnes said the story made her a pariah in Broadway circles.

"It wasn't even really the vaccine, it was because people couldn't associate with me at the time because they were acting out of total fear," Osnes said. "I know actors who weren't vaccinated but were lying about it. They didn't want to get canceled themselves."

Osnes said she has no desire to make a political statement.

"I just sing and dance, guys," she said. "It's not my responsibility to tell anyone what to do or how to think."

We talked to Osnes ahead of two homecoming concerts Friday and Saturday with the Minnesota Valley Women's Chorale in Burnsville. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You've said that you've been misunderstood. How?
A: I was asked during a summer of 2021 to be a part of a one-night concert gala at a small theater on Long Island, and before rehearsals had even started at the venue, the director reached out because they had changed their policy and were suddenly mandating the vaccine. I hadn't been vaccinated and I was getting paid a couple hundred dollars to do this concert, so I was willing to give up the job. And the director was totally understanding. No drama.

Then a week later there was an article in the [New York] Post saying that I was fired for refusing to be vaccinated. There were several untruths in article, like I refused to test as well and I was never given that option. I would gladly have been tested.

Q: What happened next?
A: The article came out mid-August, and I had to go to Vancouver and make a Hallmark movie. My world was crumbling, and I thought, "I can't go alone" so Lila, our Chihuahua, came with me to Canada. I had to quarantine there for two weeks and then shoot the movie for three weeks.

Q: In an Instagram post, you mentioned that you consulted a doctor and that your position was based around ideas of family planning.
A: There was one sentence in a page-long response, and people just took that and ran that I was spreading misinformation. I'm not a doctor. I'm not trying to tell anybody what to think. I'm making the decision for me, and it should be a private decision.

Q: But you're a celebrity, a Broadway star, and you have a megaphone.
A: I don't feel that way, but I get it. I don't use my platform to be any sort of advocate for anything. Even my Instagram, I've always just shared photos of family and my life and some fun work things that I do. It's not a soapbox.

Q: Can you think of a character from the stage or someone in history who mirrors your recent experience?
A: Gosh, we live in this like crazy cancel culture where people find value in tearing someone else down. I'm this tiny little Broadway person. I don't know why people thought that this deserved so much public hatred. I sued for defamation because my entire reputation was ruined.

I guess I haven't really thought about it like who this is like in history. OK, Jesus. People either wanted to kill him or they dropped everything and followed him. I'm like, he was a perfect human being who never did anything wrong and still had to suffer a gigantic fate.

Q: Do you think you'll go back to Broadway?
A: That Broadway world was wonderful while it lasted. I'm so grateful that I got to live my dream and I got to do what I like. But I feel like that was all I ever saw, and I'm in this season of my vision just being expanded, my creativity being expanded. I'm going to be called to do something with far greater impact than even my years on Broadway could offer.

Q: You may not be going to Broadway anytime soon, but you are coming to the Twin Cities. What will you be singing?
A: A cool mixture of jazz standards and Broadway tunes. The Genesis Jazz Orchestra is playing as well plus the Women's Chorale. I'm looking at a setlist of nine songs. And my father is joining the choir with some gentlemen for one of the two final numbers. We're celebrating music, and this is the first time I've performed home since the Super Bowl.

Laura Osnes with the Minnesota Valley Women's Chorale
When: 7:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat.
Where: Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
13801 Fairview Drive, Burnsville.
Tickets: $20. mvwcsin