Where did you grow up? What were your first experiences with acting? Do you have a theatrical family?
"Raised in Gadsden, Alabama, I became enthusiastic about acting after a high school English teacher suggested I try out for Gadsden Civic Theater's production of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. I played Richard Rich, who perjured himself to send Sir Thomas More to his death. I still remember my first line: "But every man has his price.""
What was it like working as an Improv actor and also with Anne Hering at The Adventurers Club? You now work with her at the Orlando Shakes in this production playing siblings; how is that dynamic?
"Anne and I worked at The Adventurers Club together; I worked at the Comedy Warehouse later, but without Anne. Both venues were improvisational, the difference being that The Adventurers Club used established characters who interacted spontaneously with the audience in a social setting, while the Comedy Warehouse was a presentational stage show where scenes and songs were entirely improvised. From the beginning Anne and I had an easy rapport, and I have enjoyed playing opposite her in the legitimate theater ever since our early days together at Disney's Pleasure Island (which is now called Disney Springs). I am very sad the Adventurers Club no longer exists; it was a unique entertainment concept with a fiercely loyal local fan base of hundreds of "regulars."
Could you tell us about your character in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike?
"My character, Vanya, spent fifteen years caring for his parents at home, and now that his parents are dead, finds himself in late middle-age with no direction or purpose in life. He tries to enjoy himself by indulging in simple pleasures."
What is your favorite scene to perform from this play?
"The first scene of Act Two reveals Vanya and his sister, Sonia, coming home from a costume party; this is my favorite, because they are feeling buoyant and cheerful, emotions rare for both characters."
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
"See as much live, PROFESSIONAL theater as you can (or can afford). Actors skilled enough to earn a living on stage are worth emulating, and you should imitate good performances until you can find your own style and confidence."
John P. Keller, currently starring in Henry V at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater chatted with The Pickwyck about the rehearsal and acting process for this new take on Henry V, working in different productions at the Shakes and some personal anecdotes about his passion and his education.
The wonderfully talented Warren Kelley, starring in the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre productions of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Merry Wives of Windsor shares with The Pickwyck his personal and career beginnings, his extensive acting career and what he is most passionate about.