Theatre: A Family Affair

By Brian Duskey

December 17, 2012

"There is a Kellogg on stage at all times. We get the whole show." Those words by Xan Kellog exemplify the Kellogg family's involvement with Missouri Western's upcoming production of "Annie." Danny Kellogg holds down several roles, along with his son, Joseph, and his two daughters Xan and Annaka, the latter playing the title role. This is not the first time the Kellogg family has worked together in a show. They have done many shows together through community theater. Xan recalls doing several shows with her family while she was in elementary school and high school, but this is the first occasion that she has been on stage with her family while at Western and only her second show at Western, overall, after transferring from the University of Missouri. Her current role is as Lily St. Regis and presents a unique challenge for her. "It's definitely been a different role for me to play because it's the ditzy, air-headed blonde -- very sensual, which is weird for me," Xan said. It wasn't a personality that came natural to her so it brought some unique challenges for her while on stage. "I've definitely taken a lot from parties -- watching drunk girls being, you know, crazy. I get my inspiration from them," she added. Of course, the main focus of the show is going to be thrown toward Annaka, who is playing one of the most recognized roles for young girls in theater, behind probably Juliet. Thirteen-year-old Annaka is presented with the opportunity, but also challenge, of portraying the young red-haired Annie. However, most of her obstacles are being dealt with off stage. "Some challenges are just the late nights and trying to get my homework done, get my lines memorized and go to rehearsal and somehow fit everything in and making it interlock," Kellogg said. It's almost poetic to a sense that this entire family is coming together on stage and the youngest of kin is the one leading the show -- and it is also her first time ever with a lead in a show. One of the benefits one working with each other is  the understanding and working environment that comes within a family. With all of the stresses that come with doing a musical, they are able to understand it because they have all been there and been through it. They are also capable of helping each other in spots that may be new to them or struggles that can be bothersome. But we all know how families can get. "It's a huge blessing, but it's also sometimes kind of hard because sometimes you just want to kill them. Because they are your family," Xan said. The contrast between their real lives and their theater  lives provides a whole new aspect to the experience as well. There is a moment within the show when Annie walks in and asks if any of the people on the streets were her parents, to which her dad's character coincidentally says "She ain't my kid." There's also a point when Xan's character acts as Annie's mother. The experience was fun and new for the two. "It was kind of funny at first, then I thought it was kind of fun," Annaka said. "At first I thought 'That's odd,' but then it was fun pretending that she's my mom." Xan seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. "I get to totally ham it up and mess with her. It's great," she added. The Kelloggs are clearly a very jubilant family and strive in working together. "It's been a long time since we've all been in a show together … so it's been real fun to spend the time with my family," Annaka said. They find the experience as a way to not only be with family, but to grow with them as well. Xan seemed to sum the process up the best, as she said "We all love theater. So it's great to share something you love with the people that you love." *To see a video slideshow, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC9sdNqSYhQ&feature=player_embedded