Returning to the Hobby Center hallways and stage, Logan Keslar is right at home.
He has appeared in the New York productions of A Chorus Line, West Side Story, and Dreamgirls and he's currently on tour with musical revival of La Cage Aux Folles, which makes a two week stop in Houston from April 24 through May 6.
CultureMap caught up with the budding Broadway star at the Hobby Center as he prepared for the Tommy Tune Awards. Watching Stratford High School's Will Rogers Follies rehearse onstage, Keslar was stricken with nostalgia.
"I played him in high school," pointing out the male lead who was busy tossing a lasso, "I remember we had to learn all those roping techniques. . . . Is he going to jump through the lasso? Oh no! I would jump through, not to brag," Keslar joked before spontaneously singing along.
"This event though is really for the kids to be recognized. At their age I was fortunate to be exposed to the business and learned to be professional at all times. I got to see how the entire process worked and also made great connections, so when I went to New York I wasn't lost because I always applied what I learned,"Keslar said.
"It's wonderful to come back home and to perform in front of my relatives who weren't able to make it up to New York. This is their chance to see me. This is my home theater."
La Cage Aux Folles is a critically acclaimed, three-time Tony award-winning musical which stars Golden Globe nominee George Hamilton and Broadway veteran Christopher Sieber. Keslar landed a coveted spot in the ensemble.
"I got five callbacks out of over 3000 people. This role always felt right. I was able to perform twice on the Tony's, on Good Morning America and to dance in a bikini on Regis and Kelly" Keslar said. "I'm very fortunate though to have this moment from all the hard work that I've done. It's not only that, I have faith and a strong moral support from my family, my mentors from The Humphreys School and HSPVA. It's nice to be back so they can also be part of my success."
When asked if there were any local hotspots he was homesick for, Keslar admitted, "I have to go to Niko Niko's and check out the thrift shops on Westheimer. I also want to drive by my high school and of course visit the Galleria!"
Keslar and other Houston theater alums gathered at TUTS for the 10th Tommy Tune Awards. It's a night when the best high school musical productions from all over Houston are honored.
Best musical nominees for The Pajama Game, Friendswood High School seniors Anna Drake and Jon Olansen were filled with excitement for the night. "It's really cool to perform on this stage" Olansen told CultureMap. "We have this legacy at our school, our producer has been with us since 1969 so it's a huge deal and we're glad to be part of this experience," Drake added.
It's a big night for the students and the presence of a former student like Keslar is a testament to how The Humphreys School creates both strong ties and nurtures strong talent. For the tenth anniversary, Tommy Tune himself will make a special guest appearance as a presenter.
They told me "You're our star" when I first found out ten years ago that they were naming the award after me," Tune told CultureMap. "I'll always choose theater over film or television. It's a calling and what I was meant to do so I'm very grateful."