“So I’m basically blind-drunk,” Kelly says with a laugh of his role in the Roundabout Theatre Company touring production of the show famous for its zany comedy and unforgettable Cole Porter music. This month, Anything Goes arrives at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for a run in Kelly’s home turf. Kelly says he looks forward to bringing the show to hometown audiences and making a campus visit while he’s in town.
“It will be a big homecoming in a lot of ways,” says Kelly, who grew up in Garden Grove, earned his degree from Chapman and got his theatrical start at the Birdcage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Kelly has played leading roles on Broadway in Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun and Damn Yankees. Television appearances include Law & Order, Darrow, The Dollmaker, Lady Blue, One Life to Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Anything Goes is a playful tale of hijinks, romance and blackmail that unfolds aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. The show won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Music Revival. Kelly says the show’s wit, splashy dance numbers and music, which includes some of the greatest pieces from the American songbook – “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You” among them – are just what audiences need at the moment.
“The show was written in 1934. I think the country needed escapist type of material during the Depression. It gave them something to take their minds off their worries for a couple of hours. And now we’re in that similar situation today with the recession just coming to an end, but there’s still a lot of tension. People come to this and there are just a lot of huge laughs,” he says. “People really let it out.”
The show runs Tuesday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 29. For ticket information, visit the Segerstrom Center for the Arts website.