Kelli Kay is a perfect example of a young actress who got started playing musical theater roles in school and who has now progressed on to community theater. She is currently starring as Sally Bowles in the Camarillo Skyway Playhouse production of “Cabaret.” We spoke to Kelli after opening night.
VCOS: I see that you got your start at Oak Park High School with Allan Hunt.
Kelli: Yes! I did all their shows, from my freshman to my senior year. Mr. Hunt was such a supportive teacher. And so was Heidi Cissell, who was the musical director. Heidi was a huge influence too, she is such a sweet woman. And they’re both still there! I did “Les Mis” with them, and I also did “Hello, Dolly!” “Music Man,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” I graduated in ’08 so I was there from ’04 to ’08.
VCOS: And then you went to the Boston Conservatory?
Kelli: Yes, I did.
VCOS: We have a local graduate who’s heading off to there right now, Michael Seltzer.
Kelli: I know Michael Seltzer. I was away at Boston over the summer when he did “Cabaret” with YAE but I heard about it.
VCOS: So are you back here to stay now?
Kelli: Yes – by day, I’m working in an accounting firm doing marketing, to pay off the student loans and the bills. But by night, I’ll be performing, hopefully. I studied for six months at the Anthony Meindl Actor Workshop in Hollywood. That was a great experience. It was just once a week, but it kept my chops up. I’m hoping to perform more around the area.
VCOS: So, tell me about Sally. Most characters in Broadway shows grow during the course of a show. Does Sally grow at all?
Kelli: She’s an interesting one. She goes full circle. Sally ends where she begins and ends up even deeper than where she began, in a sense. Deep down, she wants a family. She wants to be that type of person who wants a husband and wants kids, but she has this feeling that acts almost like a drug on her. This cabaret life keeps pulling her back and she can’t get away from it. By the end of the show, Cliff makes something snap and she says, “No way, I’m staying here. This is what I’m meant to do and I’m probably going to die doing this cabaret.”
VCOS: Do you think that she was aware what was happening to Germany?
Kelli: I don’t want to judge her and say she’s not smart enough, but I think she is too selfish, in a way, or naive, and I don’t think she has a clue of what is actually going on. I think she’s very aloof and into her career. She wants to be a star and she doesn’t have time to worry about “politics” and what’s going on around her. And this is what makes her character so sad.
VCOS: How would you rate Sally as a performer?
Kelli: Not so good! I would say she thinks she’s a lot better than she is. She thinks she’s already a huge star. Unfortunately, I don’t think she is (laughs). She’ll never get past the Kit Kat Klub.
VCOS: Hopefully, you will, Kelli.
Kelli: Me, too. Thanks!
“Cabaret” plays through August 24 at the Camarillo Skyway Playhouse. For show dates and times, see the VC On Stage Calendar of Events