Acting didn’t come naturally to Jodi Kellogg. Born with club feet that required a series of surgeries, she developed a fighting spirit that helped make her become a mainstay of Twin Cities theater.
She was a fierce Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Her Maria Callas at Park Square stripped the veneer off one of opera’s iconic divas. She was revelatory as smoky-voiced siren Mae West in “Dirty Blonde.” Perhaps her most harrowing performance was as drug- and liquor-addicted Agnes in Tracy Letts’ “Bug,” a down-and-out Okie whom Kellogg gave a cracked vulnerability.
But about 10 years ago, Kellogg, 55, decided to “retire” from the stage. It has given her a second act that she relishes.
Acting set the template for her post-stage life, Kellogg said: “When you’re an actor, you’re constantly reinventing yourself, you’re curious about everything in the world, and you know that if one thing does not work, you don’t give up. You simply try another.”
Born in Milwaukee to a father who was an executive at the CBS TV affiliate and a mother who was in management at AT&T, Kellogg majored in theater and ancient and classical studies. “How is that for unmarketable?” she said with a laugh.
As most actors do, she always held jobs between gigs — including working in trusts at a bank. Her current job at KPMG, which she has held for two years, involves working with lawyers to evaluate contracts and clients “in an effort to mitigate financial and reputational risks,” she said.
“It’s a lot more interesting than it sounds. For a lot of my friends, the moment I start to talk about it, they fall asleep.”
She works on the 39th floor of a downtown Minneapolis building. And she bought a high-rise condo nearby.
“My commute is one block,” she said. “And I get to watch peregrine falcons sail by.”
Her work has allowed her to become a benefactor to the theater, and to support other causes. She also has a freedom she never knew before, even as she keeps a foot in the theater with readings “and things that don’t demand a lot of time.”
She does miss the variety of people she met in theater.
“Don’t get me wrong — I work with some brilliant people and I love my job,” she said. “But in theater, you have all these people who know so much about everything, you can’t help but admire their genius.” □