Broadway hoofer Logan Keslar gets to play Bobby, his favorite role in A Chorus Line, when the stage classic opens the 2019/20 season of Theatre Under The Stars.
“What I love about Bobby is that he’s very witty, very sarcastic, very dry,” says Keslar, who previously played the role for TUTS at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Of the 17 dancers competing for just eight spots in a Broadway musical, Bobby is the gay guy who jokes, “I was the kind of kid that was always getting slammed into lockers and stuff like that. Not only by the students—by the teachers, too.”
Bobby tells how he hated sports, but Keslar grew up playing football and basketball in Liberty, Texas, until his freshman year when he tried out for cheerleader. It was something no boy had done before (or since) at Liberty High School, but Keslar says, “All my friends were girls from dance class, and they became cheerleaders in middle school. I thought, ‘I dance better than them, I jump better than them, why the hell not?’ I’ve always had that attitude. Tell me I can’t do something and that’s exactly what I will do.”
When Keslar made the squad, he says, “Kids would yell things at me; they would call me ‘fag,’ but my brother looked out for me. He was the biggest senior on the football team, and it became very clear” there would be no more taunting. Keslar’s brother now has five children, and his sister has four, so Keslar is the cool “guncle,” or gay uncle.
“I’m the guy in the pool who’s throwing the kids,” he says.
Keslar spent his sophomore, junior, and senior years at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Montrose. “My mom was a saint to drive me back and forth from Liberty. It was tough, and I was always involved in extracurricular musicals and dance recitals, but I knew that I wanted to be on Broadway. I knew that I wanted to work as a performer, and I was not going to get the training I needed in Liberty.”
When Keslar was in the first grade, he was plucked from his dance class to audition for The Wizard of Oz at the Geraldine D. Humphreys Cultural Center in Liberty. “The Wizard of Oz was my obsession, so I sang the Munchkin City mayor’s song and got cast as a Boy Munchkin. That was my first foray into theater.”
His next obsession became A Chorus Line. “It was always my favorite show,” he says. “I listened to the cast recording until I knew every word. I had all the books, so I knew what the costumes were before this and why they changed these colors, and how this character got changed.”
At age 18, Keslar was cast as Mark Anthony, the youngest performer on the line, when TUTS produced A Chorus Line at the Arena Theatre in Sharpstown. Everybody else was brought in from New York, which is where Keslar landed next, eventually dancing on Broadway as a Cagelle in the 2010 Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles.
In the Big Apple, he met Jeff Cleveland, a marketing whiz who was visiting from Los Angeles, when they got caught in “a crazy snowstorm.” Their first date 13 years ago was on St. Patrick’s Day, but they chose Valentine’s Day in 2017 to get married, about the same time the couple relocated to Houston. “We live in the Highland Village/River Oaks area,” says Keslar. “I tell everybody it’s where the palm trees are and they keep the Christmas lights on year-round.”
Cleveland, who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, works from home but travels a lot, while Keslar performed in three shows in TUTS’ 50th-anniversary season, including Oklahoma!, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.
Most recently, Keslar was the associate choreographer for a star-studded production of Into the Woods at the Hollywood Bowl. “Getting to work with Sutton Foster, Patina Miller, Cheyenne Jackson, and so many others was one of the most special things I’ve ever done,” he says.
What: TUTS presents A Chorus Line
When: September 10–22
Where: Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St.